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The Cover
February 15, 2006

The Cotton Exchange

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(7):728. doi:10.1001/jama.295.7.728

During the middle decades of the 19th century, America seemed to have a particular fascination for European writers. They came, they saw, and they returned home to write about their experiences. The 26-year-old Alexis de Tocqueville came on government business in 1831 and returned to France to write, over the next nine years, his four-volume work, Democracy in America. A year later, Anthony Trollope's mother Fanny, a writer almost as prolific as her son, visited several American cities, including Cincinnati, New York City, and Philadelphia; upon her return to England she published The Domestic Manners of the Americans. She found American manners not appalling, but, worse, totally and universally lacking, “both in males and females.” Americans “ate too fast and in total silence” was one of her observations. On the other hand, she thought New York City, where she stayed for seven weeks, “superior” to every other city in the Union. A decade later Charles Dickens came over and criticized America severely for its practice of slavery and, not surprisingly for a man who depended upon his pen for his livelihood, America's copyright laws. He made his views about America known in two works, American Notes, published in 1842, and his novel Martin Chuzzlewit, published the following year.