The very funny Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944) diagnosed many of the character traits that make Americans what they are. Although written seventy-eight years ago, many of these observations are still true to this day:
"Americans are a queer people: they can't read.
They have more schools, and better schools, and spend more money on schools and colleges than all of Europe.
But they can't read.
They print more books in one year than the French print in ten.
But they can't read.
They cover their country with 100,000 tons of Sunday newspapers every week.
But they don't read them.
They're too busy. They use them for fires and to make more paper with.
They buy eagerly thousands of new novels at two dollars each. But they only read page one...
But that's all right. The Americans don't give a damn; don't need to; never did need to.
That is their salvation."
Attached is a 1910 article that rambles on for two columns and offers the reader nothing but nasty, vile insulting remarks regarding the character and appearance of American women. The article lays bare the low opinions conceived by an assortment of well-traveled, high-born, hot-headed-Hindus from way-down-East-India-way. AND the abuse of American women and their free press wasn't enough for them; they had to drag American men into their tirade as well:
"The women of your big, vast, young country, I confess, disappoint me...they are less chic, they are tactless, they are ignorant...I understand that some American women make the proposal of marriage. That I do not doubt after watching them make themselves 'agreeable' to a man at dinner. I am not surprised that American men do not make love well. The women save them the trouble."
While in the process of drawing up the charter for the United Nations, several foreign dignitaries took time out to look around at the citizens of San Francisco and share their candid observations with the editors of YANK MAGAZINE as to what an American is.
During the summer of 1938 the Nazis allowed one of their photo journalists out of the Fatherland to wander the highways and byways of the United States. This is what he saw...
"...Christianity in America is divided into two camps. The one is orthodox. It's orthodoxy is apt to degenerate into the senile attachment to the letter of Scripture...There is a lack of mental breadth, of intellectual enlightenment, about the members of this school which is a little disheartening to one who is in agreement with them on the central matters...The other school seems to have sacrificed almost everything which makes Christianity distinct from a temporary philosophy. It's members have the bad habit of preaching eugenics or sociology in place of the Gospel. They appear to be afraid of the great epistles and the nobler passages of the Gospels, and are apt to speak in terms which would suggest that there was nothing distinctive in Christianity which can make it an absolute and universal faith."
"More harsh words for Uncle Sam are found in some Brazilian journals, such as the JOURNAL DO PAIZ, which observes:
"Happenings like the Negro massacre at Chicago in 1919 are still fresh in our minds; nor must we forget that at the time mentioned many in this country advocated a boycott on all American goods to serve as a protest and a warning to the Unites States."
Click here if you would like to read about the American race riots of 1919.
Attached are the rantings of one Frenchman on the matter of American gullibility, solipsism and naive stupidity. While recognizing an innate sense of optimism that seemed natural to Americans, the Gaul also believed that within the American culture the seed of tyranny had been planted and would one day bloom.
"And in this new and vigorous country they are going to make nationalism a great religion, the supreme intellectual and social motive. This means Prussianizing, pure and simple."