In 1607 some English guys showed up on the James river and built a town in a swamp. Most died. in 1620 some more English guys showed up, this time on Massachusetts bay and built a city, many died. In 1630 even more English guys showed up, further north and built a city, a few died.
These men, and women, were White English Protestants, either Anglican or Calvinists. And over a few generations their children identified themselves as “American”. There were many people here already, the Powhattan, the Wamanoag, the Iroquois, the Algonquin, the Lennapee, and hundreds of others on the east coast area. They did not see themselves as American but as members of smaller units.
As prosperity came to the English colonies, and the English conquered the Dutch in 1665 non Anglican, non Calvinist, non English people began to show up in the colonies. Germans, Irish, Dutch, French, etc. Were they truly American or would they ever assimilate?
Ben Franklin in the 1760s and 1770s wondered about all the Germans living in western Pennsylvania and if their Lutheran style and non English ways would ever assimilate. He did not believe they would.
Over time immigration from Europe increased. The Irish brought a major cultural problem because they were Roman Catholic, or “Papist”. They had strange ways about them, they were Gaelic and not Nordic. Being Nordic tied the Germans and English together and opened the ways for the Dutch, and Scandinavian peoples. Who could be White increased.
There were also many Blacks in the country, primarily in the south, and primarily slaves, but they were still there. They created a contrast to the peoples who were not black. Their Americaness was debated hotly in the antebellum period.
In 1848 The United states conquered and bought the South West from Mexico. We Absorbed 75,000 Latinos, nearly all of whom were Catholic and not very white. In 1865 the South was defeated and Emancipation was enforced upon them by the 13th Amendment. 4 Million Black men and women were given nearly equal status (only for a short period) and the backlash against this massive upheaveal was felt for the next hundred years under the phrase Jim Crow.
By this time the Germans were fully American and the Irish were nearly American. Out west the Irish were far more accepted than they were back east where their numbers were concentrated in the cities.
Then came the Gilded age and a substantial shift in Immigration. Eastern and Southern Europeans began pouring in as did Chinese and Japanese. These people were not protestants, they were Catholics, Orthodox, and Buddhist. They were most certainly not white (Slavic people were considered more Mongolian than white in the 19th century) and they would never assimilate to American culture. I wonder how such 19th century nativists would react to 2007’s Speaker of the house Nancy Peloci. (Italian name for those who don’t get it), or more sharply 1961’s president John Kennedy, Irish Catholic.
The nature of what it meant to be American was redefined in the Gilded age. To be an American meant to be “A man” strong, vigorous, willing to fight and test ones self. It allowed, in the more ideal sense, non whites to prove themselves and rise up. Some did, most were not afforded this Ideal.
By the 1900s There had been a radical change in Ideology. Progressive reformers looking to fix the problems wrought by industrialization expanded to seek social reform. Women and Blacks fought for more recognition. The World Wars brought demand for their labor and resources which both empowered them to demand respect in return and emboldened them to believe they should be respected. The rhetoric used to justify the war on Hitler and the following cold war was turned around on the old school leadership that a new generation of ethnic minorities, going to college for the first time en mass, began to demand their political and cultural equality.
Women and Blacks moved first, followed by Latinos, Asians, gays, and everyone else. Is Marco Rubio an American? What about Al Sharpton? Joe Biden? Nikki Haley? All of these people would not be included in the past because of Faith or Genetics. Now they are.
The woman who just won Miss America was called “unamerican” because of the color of her skin. She was called Arab by some idiots, and other idiots trumpeted that stupidity across the internet. But are we really surprised?
the US state department sent Arab translators to Afghanistan where Arab is only used for reading the Koran. The US government is so poorly educated as to how the world works, and this is reflected in our general public. The education of the world in this country is so lacking because such education is based on learning a mountain of facts, an act that Liberal Education opposes. Why learn facts when we can explore feelings.
The ignorance that Liberalism professes to hate is caused by the actions liberal education takes. Not using intelligence, data collection and study, but instead exploring feelings.
People feel dark skin = arab, so they say it. Liberals usually say “what ever you feel is good” unless you say things they don’t like then they call you a gay slur.