Dickens' American Notes summary:
Throughout the narrative, finding much to admire in Americans he met and in their way of life, he also notes what he sees as their faults, sometimes jocularly. Then, in a conclusion, he gives his considered analysis of what he views as major flaws in US society.
First and most serious is slavery. Apart from its corruption of both whites and blacks in slave states, the free states are complicit in the system. In particular, he is horrified by the physical violence vented on both male and female slaves.
Next, he places violence. The ideals of liberty and equality seem to include the freedom to shoot or knife any other American.
Third, he cites what he calls universal distrust, the extreme individualism that leads people to suspect others and to seek advantage over them. With a few exceptions, the scandal-seeking press contributes by undermining private life and destroying confidence in public life.
Allied to this is the overriding commercialism, with the urge to pull off a smart deal and the idolisation of successful businessmen. In this capitalist jungle, he finds most people far too serious and puritanical, lacking humour and a wider perspective.
Finally, in too many places he finds standards of personal cleanliness and public health still very primitive and is particularly disgusted by the almost universal habit of spitting.