Melting Pot. Immigrants.

Essay by amanda25University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

download word file, 4 pages 3.6

"America is God's crucible, the great Melting Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming. Here you stand, good folk, think, I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you stand in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories, and your fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. But you won't be long like that brothers."

The melting pot is the ideal of the nativists in America at the turn of the 20th century. The mass waves of immigration from Europe and the onslaught of the first world war has caused an outcry for the assimilation of those not born of Anglo-Saxon stock, to an American way of life. The realization that the Germans, Poles, and other nations held fast to their own nationalistic identity threatened the ideal of Americanization and democracy. Americanization was to be accomplished through the infrastructures of the public school system and English language and culture.

Some believe that thru these structures a melting pot was achieved. Randolph Bourne however viewed this ideal as an utter failure. Still others argue that America is not a melting pot but melting pots.

Those who supported the idea of the melting pot, viewed the new American as a blend of different nationalities whose " Grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations." Turner's Frontier thesis also supports the ideal of the melting pot. Turner argues however that it was the ever-expanding frontier boundary and the hardship that it brought that dissolved old loyalties and paternal nationalistic fervor into an amalgamation of what has become the American identity. Turner and those before him however only viewed those immigrants who were from Western...