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Puritans and Crèvecoeur's American Dream

            The term "American Dream" first emerged in Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer. In this book, first published in 1782, he referred to opportunities all immigrants had, and how fulfilling life could be in eighteenth century America thanks to the "fair laws" of a new world built on benefitting the common man. Since then, the term has been used to identify an ideal American tradition. However, even before Crèvecoeur originated the idea, the first immigrants to the New World already had a dream of their own. Seventeenth century Puritans' objective and hope were to form a society devoted to God. However, over the years, early Puritans' wish to establish a Christian utopia in a pristine New World morphed into Crèvecoeur's more self-centered view of a new country built on "fair laws" and commercial success. .
             During the 1500s, people who attempted to purify the Church of England from "within" were given the name of Puritans. After a bloody civil war and Cromwell's oppressive reign, Puritans were unsuccessful in maintaining their ultimate goal, and many decided to leave England and come to America to build what they hoped would be a "City on a Hill"; an example of Christian living for the whole world to see. With the Puritans were also Pilgrims, also known as Separatists, whose only wish was to worship as the saw fit. Together these two groups were the first settlers of the Plymouth Colony. As years passed, more Puritans emigrated and settled in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony, where a theocratic rule was declared; in their colony, God was the supreme ruler on this earth and key to salvation for the next (Bowden, 2013). Many hardships had to be conquered to settle a New World; from uncultivated land to angry natives, from diseases, to slow economic processes, these people were besieged by problems.

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