Jean de Crévecoeur (1735-1813), French-American writer
Born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crévecoeur on December 31, 1735 in Caen, Normandie, France, in 1755 he emigrated to New France in North America. There, he served in the French and Indian War. Following the British defeat of the French Army in 1759 he moved to New York State where he took up farming and in 1770 married an American girl, Mehitable Tippet.
In 1792 he wrote the important story titled: Letters from an American Farmer. This work provided useful information and understanding of the "New World" that helped to create an American identity in the minds of Europeans by describing an entire country rather than another regional colony. The writing celebrated American ingenuousness and its uncomplicated lifestyle and spelled out the acceptance of religious diversity in a melting pot being created from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He was the first writer to explore the concept of the "American Dream."
In 1779 he returned to France where he stayed for a few years before coming back to New York City as the French Consul. There, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.
In 1790, Jean de Crevecoeur left America permanently, returning to France. On November 12, 1813, he passed away in Sarcelles, Val d'Oise, France of a heart ailment that was discovered when he was arrested as an American spy.