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American is

… whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race now called Americans have arisen. What, then, is the American, this new man? He is neither an European nor the descendant of an European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and man ners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds…. The Americans were once scattered all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest systems of populations which has ever appeared.

No longer a European, the American represents a new race made from the stock of various European nations. No mention is made of Africans or Indians, perhaps be cause this new American race does indeed receive new prejudices from the new mode of life it has embraced. Crèvecoeur candidly describes the process by which the American race originated as a white race; or rather, the way in which the descendants of Europeans constructed a myth of themselves as a white race with special claim on the answer to the question “What is an American?” An American was a white man. Just as importantly, America was that place where the downtrodden classes of Europe could throw off the oppression of aristocrats and attain not only fraternal equality among themselves, but superiority over those who were not of the new white race. When the Constitution of the United States was written, it thus specifically enshrined slavery into law and denied citizenship to enslaved Africans. When the Naturalization Act of 1789 was made law, it stipulated that only “whites” were eligible for natural ization as citizens (a clause persistently contested by people of Chinese and Japanese ancestry for the next 150 years).

From: “Who Invented White People”

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