A young French nobleman, Alexis D’Toukfel, spends a year in America in 1831, and writes his observations. His work would become a literary milestone in what a democracy is all about, and how America has been a success at it when other nations have failed. Viewing America as a foreigner in his day, he takes us from our time today to be foreigners with him in the peculiar habits in American social life.
Business ventures explode, opportunities are to be had by anybody. Equality, boasting, and business seems to be a virtue, and everybody seems to be in a mad rush to get to where they’re going. People always on the move, and fearful to let someone get in front of him on the road.
By and large people are well fed, well dressed, and at ease.
Styles, fashion, social and business viewpoints on owning slaves is portrayed. A tale of working yourself up through the ranks from ragged, poor boy, to wealthy hotel owner is heard, and a common story. Initiative and opportunity. As an opposing concept to aristocracy, those humble beginnings are a badge of honor, not something to hide.