American literature, as the voice of our national consciousness, begins with the works of Crevecoeur.
Published in 1782, Letters from an American Farmer painted a vivid portrait of the American scene, from New England seafaring life to Southern plantation culture. More popular abroad than at home, the work provided Europeans with their chief impression of American landscapes, peoples, institutions, values, and problems. In Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America Crevecoeur explored some of the unpleasant truths about the nation's birth pangs. These essays described the hardships of frontier life, the threat of Indian raids, and the bloody unrest between fanatical patriots and back-country loyalists.