The Americanization Syndrome: A Quest for Conformity

Robert A. Carlson

St. Martin’s Press

New York



Introduction: Educating for Liberty . . . 1

Americanizers are educators who sought to uphold freedom by indoctrinating people in religion, politics, and economics.  Their quest for orthodoxy also led them to uniformity in areas of high visibility like personal appearance, language, and personal habits.


“Over the course of American History one indoctrination effort after another has gathered momentum, flourished for a time, and then become institutionalized or faded away, only to break out again in a new form some years later.” P. 3


“As early as 1797 U.S. Statesman John Jay, apologizing for his use of the word, spoke of his desire “to see our people more Americanized.” P. 4.


After reconstruction New England school teachers flooded the South. 


“In this work, with the Eastern and Southern European immigrants, as with their earlier activities, Americanizers demanded an unfair exchange.  Through free public schooling they promised each new group of “outsiders” of their children what Americanizers thought was the ultimate fulfillment of a resident of the United States – the opportunity for entry into the nation’s middle class.  In return for this and for the privileges of American citizenship, they required the recipient to give up virtually all his unique qualities of religion, culture, thought, and appearance.” P. 5


“Americanizers believed it was a far greater good to socialize nonconformists to prevailing doctrinal values than to encourage the preservation of meaningful differences.” P. 6.

“Many accepted the Protestant idea of lay involvement in church polity and, if their own religious organization.” P. 6


PROVE ME:  “Americanization education could take little credit for the loyalty immigrants accorded their adopted homeland.”  “Opportunities to farm a homestead to hold a well paying job, or to practice a minority faith were far more affective in achieving loyalty to the nation and gradual accommodation to prevailing norms than any organized program of American education.” P. 6. 


Perhaps the one effect of Americanizers was their teaching others to hate nonconformity and old world customs.  “Melting pot theory became popular with the orators.  Very few native U.S. citizens, however, subscribed to its basic meaning.” 


Jane Addams was the most humanitarian of the Americanizers.  She did not demand immediate surrender, but expected the eventual acceptance by the newcomer of the prevailing American ideology and pattern of life. 


In the 1980s a new group of Americanizers were created when disturbed that Asians and Hispanics were not giving up their languages. 


The lowliest European peasant that immigrated was better of than a Protestant Negro whose ancestors trod on American soil in colonial times. 


“In the 1960s the U.S. government implemented compulsory programs of citizenship and vocational training for young and older adults as part of a new Americanization effort intended in large measure for black people but also for Hispanics and other outsiders who allegedly needed improvement.” P. 11.


“[This study] will show why Americans have felt justified in demanding that outsiders undergo an educational gauntlet before according them acceptance as equals.” P. 11


During panic Americanizers may be far more severe than those using the educational option.  When the public calms down they go back to relying primarily on education.  Before this ends, the outsiders feel considerable pain and a sense of guilt is felt by the dominant group.


“The Americanizers lacked confidence in the very institutions they claimed to be upholding.  The contention of some that Americanization education has been a humanitarian means of creating a harmonious society will be judged in the context of the available alternatives- immigration restriction, banishment, genocide, dependence on the environment alone, and cultural pluralism.  While Americanizers did help overcome demands for harsher measures, including genocide, their efforts for homogeneity from Puritan times to the present will be shown as no more and no less than attempts at cultural  genocide.”  Pg. 12. 


Chapter One - The “City on a Hill” . . . 13

Cotton Mather wrote Magnalia Christi Americana, his history of the colony so that the Puritan experience wouldn’t fade from memory. 

            He has the Puritans arriving in 1630, not 1620. 

            “While desiring to maintain confidence in the individual conscience, the Puritan leadership sought through education to shape that conscience in the interest of the commonwealth.” P. 14.  In this effort, “New England relied mainly on an educational approach to uphold the Puritan way of life.

            “This faith that the interaction of education and the individual conscience would promote allegiance to church and state differentiated the Puritans from most of the early settlers of the middle and southern colonies.  Puritan clerics required an educated laity that could read the Bible and understand the case they made for the Orthodoxy.  Anglicans and the tiny group of Roman Catholics in America, on the other hand, tended to rely extensively on the authority of their hierarchy and priesthood and to feel little need to read the Bible for themselves.” 15.

            Williams was banished to create Rhode Island. 

            In 1637 leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did immigration restriction based on religious views. 

            The Governor allowed an Indian to come talk in 1631 because he dressed as an Englishman and “behaved himself as soberly. .  . as an Englishman.” 

            They tried to make the heathens into Puritans.  They expected them to keep Sabbath. This was justified because it brought civilization to the New World. 

            When exiled Captain John Stone was killed by Pequot a war stared that ended with the receipt of the severed hand of the Pequot chief “who murdered Captain Stone” in 1637.  P. 17  Most tribes remained neutral or sided with the colonists in this confrontation as the Pequots had pissed off a lot of tribes.  John Sausaman, aka Wussausmon, circulated among the Indians to preach Christianity.  P. 18

            Chief Phillip had him arrested as a spy and King Phillip’s guards killed him.  The Puritans found three Indians and executed them for the murder of Wussausmon.  In 1675 Phillip launched his war.  Phillip destroyed some twenty English settlements and killed more than a 1000 of the English.  After his loss many were shipped to the West Indies for slavery. 

            In the thirty years after 1664 the colony’s charter was banished.  A royal governor was appointed and the “Puritan leaders were required to welcome other Protestants into the settlement and accord them political rights.  The power of outside forces finally overcame sixty years of education, banishment, immigration restriction, and genocide in behalf of Puritan homogeneity.” P. 20. 

            The witch hunt was a hysterical reaction to this.  19 people and two dogs killed.  When newcomers did not signal disaster, remorse set in for the earlier actions. 


Chapter Two – Franklin’s “Happy Mediocrity”  . . . 22

            Scots-Irish frontiersmen particularly had trouble with the Quaker founders of Pennsylvania.  Quaker’s non-violence and friendship with the Indians was not appreciated.   The Scots-Irish were Presbyterian and believed god gave us this land and so disregarded Quaker treaties with Indians.  Franklin gave leadership in resolving this dispute.  He got the legislature to agree to funds for “the King’s use” which allowed them to not fund guns while funding guns.

            Franklin also created a militia that would fight instead of the Quakers, who could then keep their morals.  Thus he undermined the Quaker’s pluralist and pacifist values. 

            Franklin also conducted educational and military efforts against the lawlessness and violence of the Scots-Irish Frontiersman.” 23  He stopped their slaughter by likening their actions to those of “idolatrous Papists.” 

            Franklin encouraged the Quakers to not vote their conscience but as representatives of the whole people. Though he had shed “religious dogma” he advocated religion for others as it gave the state an additional measure of control and encouraged the conformity he desired. 

            Carlson contrasts Franklin with Woolman.  He worked for slaves and Indians.  “The religious values of pacifism and respect for other races and religions expressed by John Woolman did continue within America, but for at least two hundred years they existed primarily as troublesome aberrations from the norm.”  25-26.

            Franklin’s beef was, of course, with the moral degradation to the slave owner that slavery brought.  Slavery also brought more blacks, created class and sectional divisions. 

            Franklin also, of course, worried about German’s were “too thick settled” “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of the Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them…?” Pg. 26.  “Apparently unable to conceive of two cultural groups existing cooperatively in the same community and fearful of German disloyalty to the English government, Franklin turned hopefully to schemes for schooling.” 26. 

            He helped establish charity schools.  “By such an education, and daily converse with English children, taught in the same schools with them,” Franklin wrote, “they may contract such early friendships with each other as may in time lead to those intermarriages, and create that sameness of interests, and conformity of manners, which is absolutely necessary to the forming them into one people, and bringing them to love, and peaceably submit to the same laws and government.” P. 27. 

            Germans got wise to this motive and balked and the 12 schools were terminated in 1763. 

            Franklin was not into diversity.  Slavery and religious fanaticism, as well as German culture and Quaker pacifism, were to be expunged because they tended toward diversity.” P. 27.

            Franklin wanted to get rid of extremes and give us a “happy mediocrity.” 

            The Quebec Act of 1774 established Roman Catholicism as the tax-supported religion of Quebec.  It also overcame the refusal of Americans to pay for the Administration of the territory north of the Ohio and west of the Appalachians by ceding them to Quebec. 

            Post revolution, the “happy mediocrity” was crafted to indoctrinate the people for unity through homogeneity. 



Chapter Three – Americanizing the New Nation . . . 31

            Doctrinal uniformity was pushed to diminish European influence.  The Americanizers were largely New Englanders or Presbyterian.  This vision was crafted by “blending the concepts of America’s middle class society and its republican form of government with the myth of its founding as a haven of liberty, Americanizers were able to differentiate the new nation from Europe as a land of freedom, equality, and opportunity.”  P. 32.

            Webster’s spelling book sold more than 20 million copies by 1829.  Among other things, Webster wanted to eliminate sectional strife.  His language project would advance the nation’s unity and its revolutionary economic, social, and political doctrine. 

            McGuffy’s reader also promoted U.S. nationalism by inculcating a moral background.  Many early books contrasted our freedom with the rigid class structures and superstition of Roman Catholicism.  Morse asserted “Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican flow from them, must fall with them.”  P. 33.

            Monarchy, class and Catholicism were identified as our enemies. 

            On the frontier sparse numbers of denominations made them cooperate to build parochial schools.  Inter Protestant organizations soon flourished.  Among them were the American Bible society, the Sunday School Union, and the American Tract Society.  Their “propaganda” furthered national cooperation based on the commonalities of the Protestant denominations. 

            The small Roman Catholic establishment in the U.S. found the American ideology infiltrating their organization.  Because of a lack of priests, they relied on layman more than their European counterparts.  They even shocked the hierarchy by appointing their own parish clergymen.  “Protestant republican concepts, then, seemed capable of consolidating national thought, as desired by the Americanizers, while at the same time accepting a diversity of religious organizations.” 34

            But diversity happened.  “Americanizers might desire “republican machines” serving the general welfare, but theoretically at least, the doctrine they advocated left even the definition of the general welfare itself to the individual’s conscience.”  35.

            “Except for the Federalist hysteria of 1798 to 1800, the legal waiting period for citizenship after 1794 was only five years.” 35. 

            “Whether they relied on education or on the environment alone, Americans generally assumed that the newcomer would imbibe the freedom of a nation that imposed no official state religion and no hereditary aristocracy, throw off the shackles of European church and state and become “true American.” 

            “National commitment to the melting pot idea was a myth, for Americans expected the immigrant to discard his own patterns and adopt those prevailing at the time in the United States.” 36. 

            Between 1815 and 1860 3 million Roman Catholics came from Ireland and Germany. They worried that these folk were anti-Protestant, thus anti-republican and un-American.  They also worried about the poverty of the newcomers endangering our middle class social order. 36.

            Public schools were relied upon to stop both this and the barbarism of the frontier. 

            Immigrants offered considerable resistance.  Lutherans from Germany were shocked at the changes they found in the American Lutheran church.  They organized separate Lutheran churches to maintain the language and ways.  They also, for a time, viewed the public schools as inimical to their interests.  Roman Catholics were opposed for much longer. 

Americans were alarmed as Roman Catholic authorities tried to wrest back Church property that had long been administered by lay trustees. One ten year battle resulted in the Pope’s victory in Philadelphia and that freaked people out. 

Samuel F. B. Morse was among those that urged the modification of U.S. immigration policy to slow the influx of Roman Catholics.  His father the New England pastor Jedediah Morse was even stronger.  He saw a Catholic plot.  Pope Gregory XVI scandalized Americans in 1832 when he described liberty of conscience as an “absurd and erroneous doctrine” and “a most venomous error.” P. 39. 

John Hughes not only founded Catholic schools, he “uttered grandiose statements on the inevitability of Roman Catholicism sweeping America from the feeble arms of a failing Protestantism.  In his sermon on “The Decline of Protestantism and its Causes” in 1850, Hughes boasted, “Everybody should know that we have for our mission to convert the world, including the inhabitants of the United States.”  39. 

The Catholics also ignored the Sabbath law and were poor and so dependent on tax dollars from others and drank a lot of liquor.  Possibly due to natives disapproving attitudes towards them, foreign laborers sometimes laid claim to all the jobs in certain construction projects and drove off American applicants with threats of violence. P. 40. 

Americanizers decided that education was too slow a process.  Anti-Catholic political parties, rioting, the burning and bombing of churches, vigilante action and murder followed.  Maryland called out troops in 1834 and 1839 to quell immigrant rioting.  The Irish rioted in 1844 when NYC said they couldn’t let their pigs out in the streets.  1843 saw a riot in Philadelphia.  Catholics destroyed a Protestant church in 1853.  Dozens of Catholic churches were burned in the mid-1850s.  After 1834 riots between rival Irish and natives and foreigners occurred after every election.  Ten were killed in riots between Protestants and Catholics in St. Louis in 1854 and twenty in Louisville in 1855.  P. 41.

Horace Mann started schools to stop all of this via Americanization.  The Catholic Church refused to accept the King James Bible compromise of reading without interpretation.  Protestants were willing to compromise for the common good and saw this refusal as unpatriotic.  This refusal increased the Protestant’s willingness to take Mann’s prescriptions.  Mann also hoped that economic inequality could be ameliorated via schools also. 


Chapter Four – Redefining the Ideology . . . 45

The overriding motivation to end slavery was ideological, not humanitarian, as blacks would soon discover.  The attempt to Americanize the south led to the Civil War.  The North thought the South would drop slavery as the Irish might drop Catholicism.  In the North, public schools were the way.  But in the South, public schools, being under local control, were no help.  An education got underway, the Southerners heated opposition to this gave a boost to abolitionists. 

And slavery expanded and expanded. 

“Earlier Americanizers had succeeded in creating a concern for the ideological purity of the republic, an interest to which the abolitionists now appealed with ever-increasing success.  By 1840 more than 150,000 people in the U.S. were members of antislavery societies.  These organizations produced hymnals, almanacs, and children’s books that included abolitionist materials.  One speller opened its alphabet lesson with:

A is for Abolitionist

A man who want to free

The wretched slave, and five all

An equal liberty.” 47 - 48.


Conventions, public speakers, periodicals, tracts, and petition campaigns attacked the aristocratic enemies of the middle class republican ideal , whose souls needed redemption. 

Horace Mann left his post with the Massachusetts State Board of Education to become a Whig congressman in 1848 for antislavery. 

While they wished to clean the national soul, few were anti-racist.  They saw America as a white nation with little room for the  black man.  Whether shipping them back or educating them to be like whites was considered something to deal with after the war.  [He gives little credit to those that died to stop slavery.  I guess they were just racists too.]. 

Some thought the pope was using slavery to smash our republic.  George Bancroft described the North-South struggle as a moral drama between the free Protestant republic and the slave confederacy supported by the “worn out aristocracies of Europe” and the “Pope of Rome.” P. 50. 

He must share the South’s surprise that the North tries to impose equality after the war.  Philanthropic monies helped establish the first effective school system in the South. 

They extended the same opportunity they extended to the Catholics, a chance to learn the national ideology, to achieve entry into the middle class, and to become good, conforming citizens. While the freed negro welcomed the chance to become Americanized, white Southerners were less appreciative.

Many that tried to “educate” the Chinese via terror were Irish Americanizers.  He is saying here that terror is just another education program  {{{meaning that all education is terror) and that such terrorism is Americanization though he can’t expect that he thought these folks sought to make the Chinese Anglo or change their values due to terrorism.”}}}  “During their entire settlement in California,” the legislature reported to Congress, “they have never adapted themselves to our habits, modes of dress, or our educational system, … never ceased the worship of their idol gods, or advanced a step beyond the musty traditions of their native hive.” P. 54.

Thus, in 1882, immigration restriction on racial grounds happened three months before it happened for lunatics, idiots, convicts and those likely to become a public charge. 

San Francisco said the 93 Japanese students had to learn with the Chinese.  After much protest, SF relented when Teddy Roosevelt said he’d do immigration restriction. 

Pratt established the Carlisle Indian School for the secretary of the interior to eradicate all Indian culture of more than four thousand children during his 24 years of service.  He shaved their heads, put them in military garb and gave them trades.  Like Booker T. Pratt failed to realize that no matter how Americanized, non-whites were not welcome. 

Strong’s Our Country predicted that Americanization would take over South America and the world.  It sold 176,000 copies by 1916.  We had to be strong if we were to defeat the Catholic viewpoint.  Beveridge in the 1890s said we were superior and to lead the world out of backwardness. 

Imperialism implied making non-Anglos citizens and worried many and thought it would make a mockery of republicanism if we held others. 

Between 1884 and 1900 Americans lynched 1.678 black people.  Blacks escaped to the north, but could only get menial jobs there. 

Americanizers unintentionally created the Civil War.  Then they sought reconciliation based on a harsh Anglo-Saxon racism.  This racism led to the exclusion of Chinese, and Indians being considered equals.  Even if they submitted to cultural genocide, they could not be white. Whites were against slavery but had no intention of sharing the world with blacks.  Ironically then they went abroad to impose equality.  Soon the realization that the immigration was shifting stole our attention.


Chapter Five – Helping the Immigrants Become American: The Humanitarian Americanizers . . . 60

These settlement Americanizers were kinder and at least temporarily willing to preserve portions of the immigrants culture.  But they expected the immigrant to repudiate cultural “peculiarities” eventually and to adopt the American civic religion. 

Jane Addams wrote of those starting settlement houses in 1892, “how seriously many of them are taking to the notion of human brotherhood, how eagerly they long to give tangible expression to the democratic idea..” p. 61

The immigrants were 2/3rds peasant farmers.  Settlement workers were Protestant middle class college graduates.  In giving a thanksgiving dinner to Greeks, one was translated as saying, “He says if that is what your ancestors are like, that his could beat them out.” 

The Americanizers said that the immigrants had a lot to teach them about Jesus and so should not be uplifters.  Still it was hard.  Teaching proper handling of tea sets for example.  Eventually the settlement workers started to adapt their programs to the needs of the immigrants themselves.  They worked hard to help immigrant’s children understand and appreciate the Old Country languages, customs and traditions.  Immigrants, Addams found, did not like traditional lecture or the printed word and so got dramatic and used pictures.  They got Italians serving American breakfasts.  This meant that the Italians no longer needed to tie salt bags around their children’s backs to keep away the evil eye.  Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies were taken care of. 

Ms. Addams held that schools discriminated against immigrants by stressing the intellectual and denigrating labor.  Schools, she and Dewey said, should be a socializing harmonizing factor.  Lillian Wald worked at the Henry Street Settlement house. 

Immigrants, themselves, “wanted the schools to teach them and their children to read and write English and to understand their rights and duties in their adopted country.  To this extent, at least, they wanted to become Americanized.” 67. 

Protestant churches expected immigrants to convert.  American Roman Catholics and Jews who had already assimilated were nervous about their status and so set about assimilating their newly arrived coreligionists.  They wanted the new comers to lose their old languages ASAP too.  They loved learning about George Washington.  These and Italian Americanizers broke the long hold of Anglo-Saxons on the mission. 

Gino Speranza was an Americanizing Italian who said “It is friendliness that is the leaven of assimilation.” 71.

[One thing they do here is try to isolate the kind Americanizers from the bad ones.  This fails to recognize that the measures are not mutually exclusive on this spectrum].



Chapter Six – Reducing the Intake of Impurities: The Immigration Restrictionists . . . 73

Americans considered Spain the archetype of backward Europe.  America was very confident in its Anglo successes. 

Americanizers turned to muckraking to stir the middle class from its apathy towards immigrants.  Lincoln Steffens was one.  He particularly focused on ethnic political fiefdoms.  People were also uncomfortable with the increase in economic stratification in America (74).  They attacked bug business for its exploitation.  Between 1905 and 1914 at least 750,000 came a year.  

As this contact increased Americanizers came to realize that the foreigners values were not his values.  Our principles are abstract.  Commons listed freedom of the press, trial by jury, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, and equality of opportunity as principles motivating native Americans.  “But the immigrant has none of these . . . , “ he charged.  “He votes as instructed by his employer or his political ‘boss,’ because it will help his employer’s business or because his boss will get him a job, or  . . . favor him and others of his nationality.”  (75).

Many wanted restrictions.  Economist Richmond May-Smith was into a scientific approach to the building of the American nation.  “We must set up our standard of what we desire this nation to be,” he wrote in 1890, “and then consider whether the policy we have hitherto pursued in regard to immigration is calculated to maintain that standard or endanger it.” 75

Advocating for racial restrictions were Edward Bemis, Franklin Giddings, Thomas N. Carver, Francis A. Walker, and Thomas Bailey Aldrich. 

The restrictionists also enlisted labor and Easterners (who were being displaced by the new industrialists).  The Eastern old families started the Restriction League in 1894.  They were ready to reject the ideal of America as asylum for the oppressed of Europe. 

In 1903 head tax charged at entry was doubled and anarchists were barred.  (77).  Four years later they got the Dillingham commission a working.  The Dillingham commission’s report included a Dictionary of races. 

For political reasons the report avoided attacks on Irish, the Germans, or the Scandinavians.  The distinction between the “old immigrants” and the “new immigrants” had been made.  Edward Ross was the commission report’s biggest publicist.  He dismissed education.  He did head shapes.  He used the term “race suicide.” 

Jane Addams and the North American Civic League (NACL) defended the immigrants. The NACL was founded in 1907 and encouraged employers to do English and Civics courses to offset claims by IWW that owners did not care about the welfare of its employees.  They also defended cheap labor. 


Chapter Seven – The Imperious Demand for Conformity: The Scientific Americanizers . . . 82

Kellor’s mission was “to overcome the efforts of immigration restrictionist to portray Americanization as sentimental and ineffective.” 82.    Her Americanization would be cool and dispassionate.   Society rather than immigrants was her goal. 

  She sought to introduce industrial methods.  Organization analysis, cost accounting, time and motion studies, and output measurements could assimilate with less cost and more effectiveness.  Her goal was to supplement “scientific management with citizenship management.” 82.  From 1909 to 1914 she headed the New York branch of the NACL.  Her organization crosses picket lines and reported on unionists, actions that alienated immigrants and caused her to break with the parent group.  In 1914 she took her branch and renamed it the Committee for Immigrants in America.  Her monthly journal was called “Immigrants in America.”

William Wirt and David Snedden and Joseph Taylor were big public school Americanizers.  The talk grew less and less of the righteous society and more and more about the efficient society. 

They tried to get different classes for kids of different ethnic groups.  “The question of how to handle a Scotch Immigrant child is very different from that of how to teach an Italian.” Wrote Leonard P. Ayres of the Russell sage Foundation. 89.  Many treated the new immigrants as they had treated blacks, as a group that needed nonacademic education. 

Dewey and Addams had advocated school that met the needs of the immigrant children.  After catching their interest the schools were to lead them to an understanding and appreciation of American culture and to eventual assimilation by it.  School men turned this philosophy into a racial stereotyping and placed many new immigrants who could have excelled academically towards factory jobs. 

Progressives advocated for a practical education that emphasized American Government, home economics, and the vocations. 

Carlson writes “Vocational education for all the children of the “new immigration” fit well into Frances Kellor’s approach to the assimilation of outsiders.” 90  [I would like to see a curriculum that is as starkly non-academic and only vocational like they propose.   The textbook I have does citizenship and academics.  He is also attributing something to Kellor for which he provides no quote or education.]

“The racial stereotyping and disregard of individuality that the schoolmen practiced under her banner of scientific Americanization caused her little concern.”  Proof?  She complimented, in 1914, vocational education for seeking to provide “the sort of training that will enable them [immigrant children] to fit into the social and industrial scheme at the point for which their endowment and capacity best suit them.”  (91). 

Scientific Americanization failed to attain widespread adoption.  None the less, Miss Kellor was able to convince Americans of the potential of scientific Americanization.  “Her success had two outcomes.  She undermined the work of the humanitarian Americanizers, if only by implication, as inefficient sentimentalism.  But she also maintained the political viability of the Americanization option against the advocates of immigration restriction.” 91


Chapter Eight – Let the Professionals Do It . . . 92

Entry into World War One marked the flaring forth of a powerful campaign to Americanize the immigrant.  In the post-war period fear of communists fueled it.  The education of this period was more hysterical than scientific.  “Democracy” was replaced by “republic” in public discourse. 

Kellor seemed to welcome the war.  Carlson gives to Straight American quotes.  She had people trying to tumble into the bandwagon.  The Americanization Day Committee of 1915 was very successful with its fourth of July celebrations.  Kellor’s persistent please for the  involvement of industrialists finally paid off.  Trade magazines gave advice to managers about Americanizing.  A united plant makes more money. 

She was having more success in schools too.  Citizenship grades appeared as German disappeared.  Utah said that all in the state up to 18 should have a job or be in school and registered them and measured their civic righteousness.  

While some wanted to use the mail to stop foreign ideas, Kellor wanted to use it to spread American ideas.  Foreigner’s meetings were raided.  This was very anti-democratic in a war fighting for democracy.  The new recruits were overzealous and not scientific, but she tolerated them for a time. 

People painted yellow stripes on the homes of those who were disloyal.  Checks who were sending their sons off to war were stoned for wearing foreign clothes.  When the Russians went communist and then signed an early peace treaty with Germany, the Eastern Europeans could get harassed. 

Royal Dixon wanted to expunge the society of pacifism, political machines, and materialistic selfishness.  The NEA recommended to congress a law that would require a year of compulsory civic, physical , and vocational training for those who could not read and write English.  As the Palmer raids happened, Kellor formed the Inter-Racial Council. 

The back to normalcy mood worked against the Americanizers after the war.  Critics suddenly surfaced against the Americanization education which called it “cultural tyranny”.  Edward Hale Bierstadt was part of this resistance.  There was an important inquiry by thirty Americans on the State of civilization.  Issac Berkson was too. 

The proponents of cultural pluralism were descendants of real immigrants. 

The right was angry too for failing to keep the promise to Americanize these folks.  The Anglo world had been mongrelized. 97.  The Saturday Evening Post was particularly of this mindset. 

Losing momentum Kellor and other leaders went for professionalization.  The Carnegie study was a result of this push towards definition and professionalization. 

The NEA organized a Department of Immigrant Education in 1921, showing that educators were now really willing to take over the job of Americanization.  Adult education flourished, but too late to save the reputation of the movement. 

With their reputation sullied, the Americanizers could no longer hold off the restrictionists.  They said that since World War One smashed the monarchies and created more democracy in Europe, we no longer had to be an asylum.  We had to be solid to be an example so “immigrants with divisive ideals and customs needed close regulation.”  The frontier was closed.  The strongest case was, however, biological.  The WW I army psych tests were trotted out.  (99). 

Speranza was converted from the humanitarian to the restrictionist side.  He married a Methodist and so was no longer Catholic.  And more and more immigrants nullified the efforts of Americanizers.  He became racist on behalf of Anglos [that doesn’t make sense]. 

He wrote in “the World’s Work” articles that immigrants were pushing their ways on us with alcohol and breaking Sabbath laws. 

Some Americanization is apparent in the Lynd’s Middletown.  The belief that schools were getting the job done blunted more “drastic measures” [he doesn’t say what these were]. 



Chapter Nine – Broadening the Consensus . . . 101

“The adoption by the newcomers of most existing American patterns and values reduced the threat they presented to the native American.  As in the past, most Americans were willing to believe that assimilation was under way if white outsiders conformed to existing patterns in most areas of life, even if they maintained separate organization commitments in religion.” 102-103.  A little foreign cuisine was okay too.  They could even wear outdated clothing at ethnic get togethers. 

When the KKK and other extremists resorted to violence, Americans experienced a sense of guilt.  104.

Kind was pelted with stones in Chicago.  Blacks tried to gain acceptance via acting white.  Brown v board was to bring black children in the proximity of whites where they would learn white values.  Conant, was the President of Harvard,  he wanted money for elementary schools to overcome “the adverse influences of the home and the street” on black children. 105

There were some one hundred black riots between 65 and 67.  Federal anti-poverty programs were aimed at out of school youth via Americanization in an “unfair exchange.” 106  Job corp programs demanded that black participants groom and conduct themselves according to white middle class standards.” 106  And the military drafted 10s of thousands to salvage them. 

“Just as the Americanization of immigrants was described as “cultural tyranny” and an effort to maintain the status quo, so too was the attempt to Americanize black Americans.” 106.  Saul Alinsky called the antipoverty programs “welfare colonialism.”  The Americanizers assumed that given economic and political opportunity should be reciprocated with the outsider giving up their “idiosyncrasies”.  They were good-hearted, “and appallingly presumptuous seekers of conformity to their own conceptions of what constituted a good American.”  107 [would they have been presumptuous to impose their conception of what constituted a good employee?  Might he agree that rioting is a bad thing for a citizen to do??]]

“The perceived threat to consensus had created panic.” 108  He provides no evidence.  Americanizers were arrogant to think that they would “cleanse black people, especially poor ghetto dwellers, of their alleged impurities.” 108  Education was expanding the consensus by being applied to blacks.  Blackness would eventually only be perceived as being skin deep. 

“With its imperious demand for conformity satisfied by the application of new programs of Americanization to the nation’s black underclass, the United States slowly began to move toward expanding its consensus.” 109. 


Chapter Ten – Hispanics and the Language Question . . . 110

The expansion of the last chapter “brought blacks closer to the mainstream of American life.” 110.  Hispanics stood on the threshold, but would not be allowed in unless  they “gave up, in exchange, the right of some in their group to speak Spanish and any intention of pressing for equality of that language with the English language.  The next manifestation of the Americanization syndrome seemed to be shaping up over language rights.” 110.  Though Americanizers assumed it, English had never been formally designated the nations official language. 111. 

Due to big immigration in parts of cities, you could not be understood in English. 

Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa led the English only movement in California.  “They wanted to prevent the divisiveness they foresaw in a growing commitment within the United States to an alternative language and, therefore, to an alternative culture.”  112. 

The leader of U.S. English, Gerda Bikales was also an immigrant who had “accepted the unfair exchange of Americanization – the giving up of ethnically unique qualities in exchange for the privileges of citizenship and the opportunity for entry into the middle class – as an inevitable process for anyone settling in the country who wished to rise socially and economically.”  113 {big definition]  She saw herself as helping immigrants. 

Many joined the push for the “English language as a bulwark of national unity.  Others, including some Hispanics, charged that what he had opened was a Pandora’s box of U.S. Nativism and racism.”  113.  Language = race??  Hayakawa wanted to avoid a Quebec situation and might have, ironically, added to it.  

“By 1830 some 25,000 Americans resided in Texas alongside a mere 4,000 to 5,000 native Mexicans.”  115.  After the war, to retain their citizenship, some 2,000 Mexicans moved back to Mexico.  But the vast majority of the fewer than 75,000 Mexicans living in the newly acquired U.S. territory became U.S. citizens.  But there were culture clashes as the older white skinned Mexican were seen as a part of the decadent feudal Spanish culture.  The darker . . .

The schooling that emerged was designed for Americanization and did not sustain Spanish. 

A delegation in 1849 got California to print laws in Spanish and English. 

In the 1950s, operation wetback swept away some 3.8 million Hispanics, some American citizens. 

He attributes the increase in Mexican immigration of the 1980s to lowered oil prices, and the resulting devaluation of the peso and inflation.  The rich Mexicans put their money in the U.S. and then followed.  “Alex Dey, a Mexican American adviser to some of the new arrivals, quipped: “People from Mexico are saying that they are going to take over Texas and California again.”  118. 

Puerto Ricans could relate as they had been Americanized on their island.  Our efforts to make the schools English speaking – in PR – had been seen as failed by the 1930s.  The Roman Catholic church, however, set up English schools that were well attended.  On the mainland, the Catholic churches were a bit hostile to the attitudes and values of the PRs.  But it allowed them in the chapels and worked on Americanizing.  PRs were given citizenship in 1917 and got control of their schools in 1947 and restored Spanish as the language of instruction.  Cheap airfares after WW II made mass immigration possible.  By 1985 2.5 million PRs were here. 

Cubans and Central Americans started coming too. 

In 1968 Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Act.  This was transitional and a model favored by Hayakawa.  By the 1980s a backlash occurred when folks noticed that bilingual education promoted Spanish maintenance as a “badge of separateness, not a route to assimilation.” 122

Many Hispanics did not quarrel with this restatement of Americanization’s unfair exchange.  They said that bilingual ed helped you get English faster.  But many boasted that the time of Anglo / English dominance was over. 

This disturbed Americanizers as it pointed to the end of broadening theh U.S. consensus. 


Conclusion:  Civil Strive or Expansion of the Consensus . . . 125

America developed from a society based on freedom to impose its own narrow, dissenting conformity to one predicated upon a relatively broad Judeo-Christian, middle class, democratic consensus with a new opening toward nonracialism.” 125

            Would the consensus be open to further change and refinements?  That was the question at the end of the 20th century.  

America had to take in Asians as a result of Hawaiian annexation.  It had prevented people’s assimilation.  Now it was alarmed at proposed cultural maintenance. 

He documents many people being alarmed by Hispanic immigration. 

Yet Reagan touted our freedom and heritage of immigration.  “One immigrant in New York City was unable to contain his frustration with the hypocrisy.  On July 7, as the ferry boat on which he was a passenger glided past the Statue of Liberty, a homelss Mariel Cuban immigrant slashed eleven fellow passengers at random, killing two . . .  Having heard the rhetoric but having experienced a different reality in the promised land, he finally gave vent to his despair.  The havoc thus being wreaked on the lives of the nation’s immigrants and others by the often hostile and hypocritical response of Americans to the newcomers seemed to demand reflection upon this reemergence of the Americanization syndrome.”   129  [He is justifying killing people because America wants to have English and protect its borders!!!]

America had to choose how to deal with the new immigrants.  Many supported cultural pluralism.  “It is true that some individual Hispanics and Asians supported the policies of organizations like FAIR and U.S. English.  But many had the political savvy to realize that the long-term interests of their communities seldom coincided with the policies of immigration restriction, deportation, or Americanization.”130  [That a national consideration might enter their heads does not occur to him]. 

The Hispanics had a better basis for advocating cultural pluralism than others.  They had a long tradition in the Southwest, and a border, and PRs had no border. 

Pluralism’s impulse was found in religiously motivated individuals and organizations who “sought to  learn from and help undocumented Hispanics, the in most jeopardy from the new outbreak of the Americanization syndrome.” 131.  It resisted deportation efforts [ala restrictionists] and do labor complaints (ala Frances Kellor).  [Here is his major problem.  It is Desmond King’s too.  He fails to disaggregate restrictionists and Americanizers.]

He claims that immigration was, in 1986 a trickle and only impacted areas along the border.  He also says here that the immigration came from foreign policy of the U.S. being so terrible. 

The Catholic Church, in 1983, decided it would be nicer to Hispanics and start using Spanish in the church.  The Catholic church used to be a big Americanizer.  When poles, the Italians, and the others came to the US they had to adopt English to be in the church.  As of August 1984, the church ministers started to learn Spanish.  This would be connected with a patient wait for assimilation.  The author lauds this as a humane model. 

He suggests a Marshall plan for Latin American countries and that we change our foreign policy [recall this book is talking about 1986].  Domestically it may be necessary to “expand the  Judeo-Christian aspects of the consensus.” 135  [At what point does this expansion cease to be a consensus, and rather an agreement to have nothing in common?]  Do to the increasing disparity between the rich and poor in the US and the fact that “international resistance to American economic influence is stiffening.” 135-136.  We may have to redistribute our wealth as getting out of poverty is more and more unlikely for people in a world of automation, international competition and long-term unemployment.  “These structural limitations in the nation’s economy make the traditional argument of the Americanizer regarding the poor and the unemployed, that that they are themselves primarily responsible for their situation and need only to become ambitious and submit to educational upgrading in order to obtain a middle class occupation, seem less and less convincing.”  136.  Even the desirability of the wasteful middle class life’s failure to create happiness, health and harmony is coming under fire. 

Carlson says that if we embrace bilingualism it might help preserve our culture by making it worth preserving.  “In the long run, a culture open to others and willing to incorporate new realities will prove more cohesive, resilient, and sustainable than one encumbered by an imperious demand for conformity.” 136 – 137.  [Proof?]

Hispanics are learning English nearly as fast as others and Quebec was caused by a frustration in economic and social opportunities.  [As a distinct cultural group?]

He notes that bilingual and bicultural initiatives were started as a result of the threat of secession.  [He is writing before the growth of the secession movement resulted in a 49 % vote for secession.]

In sum, cultural pluralism can be the best antidote to the Americanization syndrome.  “Openness to diversity could prove a far more effective policy for social harmony than attempts to enforce loyalty to an outdated consensus.” 138