Tocqueville’s Discovery of America, by Leo Damrosch

To European visitors in the first half of the 19th century, Americans were like their newfangled steamboats: noisy, combustible, always on the move—and dirty. "I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans," Frances Trollope reported. Riding aboard one of the garish, belching behemoths on the Mississippi, Trollope observed that when Americans were not spitting, they were eating their food too quickly. And after that they picked their teeth with a pocketknife.

 

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