"There is in the West a real equality on paper; everybody that has a decent coat is a gentleman; every gentleman is as good as any other. and does not conceive that he should put himself out to oblige his equal. He is occupied entirely with himself, and cares nothing for others; he expects no attention from his neighbor and does not suspect that his neighbor can expect any from him. In this rudeness, however, there is not a grain of malice; there is on the contrary an appearance of good humor that disarms you. The man of the West is rude, but not sullen or quarrelsome, He is sensitive, proud of himself, proud of his country, and to excess, but without silliness or affectation. Remove his cover of vanity and egoism and you will find him ready to oblige you and even generous. He is a great calculator, and yet he is not cold; he is capable of enthusiasm. He loves money with a passion, yet he is not avaricious and is often prodigal. He is rough because he has not had time to soften his voice and cultivate the grace of manners. If he appears ill-bred, it is not from choice, for he aspires to be considered a man of breeding, but he has been obliged to occupy himself much more with the cultivation of the earth than of himself."
Steamship travel often was taxing upon visitors from Europe. Travelers existed in a world where the differences between classes were significantly leveled or even eliminated. Despite his rosy assessment of men of the West Chevalier bemoans that his fellow travelers on steamships along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers would not impress anyone "who sets value on amiable and engaging manners." Meals were served en masse, classes mixed in the limited sleeping areas on the ships. The captains were tyrants of their own vessels (a condition that surprised Chevalier when otherwise egalitarian Americans took the tyranny in stride.)