In the twentieth century there was a revival of interest in the text. Critic David Carlson suggests that it was "Not aesthetics, but the politics of nationalism appears to have been the primary force behind Crevecoeur's critical resurrection"—the Letters being among the first works to depict an American " melting pot ".  Letters , particularly Letter III ("What is an American?"), is frequently anthologized , and the work is recognized as being one of the first in the canon of American literature .   
The Scots-Irish were twice displaced. They originated in the Scottish Lowlands, but fled to Ireland to escape poverty. They found little prosperity there, as well. In addition, the Catholic Irish had little desire to share their island with the Presbyterian Scots, so they migrated to America. Much of the best farmland had already been claimed, so many Scots-Irish moved into Appalachia . Here they frequently fought with the Indians and resented being controlled by wealthy planters and politicians — reminding them of what they had left behind.
The venerable American (who wins the girl in the end) is Col. Henry Manly, a Revolutionary War veteran and an officer in the Massachusetts militia during Shays’s Rebellion of 1787-1788 (as was the playwright). When he comes to New York City to appeal to the Continental Congress for pensions for his wounded fellow veterans, he visits his young sister Charlotte and is engulfed in New York wannabe society. A horrified Charlotte insists that she cannot introduce him to society wearing his regimental coat, and a servant dismisses him as an "unpolished animal." But Manly knows what he stands for and why it matters. His monologue against luxury that opens Act III, Scene II, mirrors the alarm raised by many Americans in the 1780s that consumer excess would sap the energy of the young nation and threaten its very survival (see Noah Webster and David Ramsay in this Theme). He ardently defends American patriotism, civic commitment, and simple virtue from the disparaging barbs of (the villain) Billy Dimple. In the end, Dimple is exposed as a deceitful fraud, Charlotte disavows her frivolous aspirations, and Col. Manly affirms to the audience that the "probity, virtue [and] honor" of the "unpolished" American will triumph. The first play written by Royall Tyler, a wealthy Harvard- and Yale-educated Bostonian, The Contrast merits study along with Crèvecoeur’s well-known Letters . We recommend that you read the Act-Scene summaries and study the character chart before beginning the play. Do note the poem prologue, worth a study in itself. (38 pp.)