Primary Source 1 Benjamin Franklin, on the Germans (1755) And since detachments of English from Britain sent to America, will have their places at home so soon supply’d and increase so largely here; why should the Palatine Boors [Germans] be suffered to swarm into our settlements, and by herding together establish their languages and manners to the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language or customs, any more than they can acquire our complexion? Which leads me to add one remark: That the number of purely white people in the world is proportionally very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes are generally of what we call a swarthy complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English make the principal body of white people on the face of the earth. I could wish their numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, scouring our planet, by clearing America of woods, and so making this side of our globe reflect a brighter light to the eyes of inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we in the sight of superior beings, darken its people? Why increase the sons of Africa, by planting them in America, where we have so fair an opportunity, by excluding all blacks and tawneys, of increasing the lovely white and red? But perhaps I am partial to the complexion of my Country, for such kind of partiality is natural to Mankind. Primary Source 2 Senate of California to the Congress, on Chinese Immigration (1878) The State of California has a population variously estimated at from seven hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand, of which one hundred and twenty-five thousand are Chinese. The additions to this class have been very rapid since the organization of the State, but have been caused almost entirely by immigration, and scarcely at all by natural increase. . . . The pious anticipations that the influence of Christianity upon the Chinese would be salutary, have proved unsubstantial and vain. Among one hundred and twenty five thousand of them, with a residence here beneath the elevating influences of Christian precept and example, and with the zealous labors of earnest Christian teachers, and the liberal expenditure of ecclesiastical revenues, we have no evidence of a single genuine conversion to Christianity, or of a single instance of an assimilation with our manners, or habits of thought or life. . . . Neither is there any possibility that in the future education, religion, or the other influences of our civilization can effect any change in this condition of things. . . . Above and beyond these considerations, however, we believe, and the researches of those who have most attentively studied the Chinese character confirm us in the consideration, that the Chinese are incapable of adaptation to our institutions. The national intellect of China has become decrepit from sheer age. It has long since passed its prime and is waning into senility. . . . Their code of morals, their forms of worship, and their maxims of life are those of the remotest antiquity. In this aspect they stand a barrier against which the elevating tendency of a higher civilization exerts itself in vain. And, in an ethnological point of view, there can be no hope that any contact with our people, however long continued, will ever conform them to our institutions, enable them to comprehend or appreciate our form of government, or to assume the duties or discharge the functions of citizens. During their entire settlement in California they have never adapted themselves to our habits, modes of dress, or our educational system, have never learned the sanctity of an oath, never desired to become citizens, or to perform the duties of citizenship, never discovered the difference between right and wrong, never ceased the worship of their idol gods, or advanced a step beyond the musty traditions of their native hive. Impregnable to all the influences of our Anglo-Saxon life, they remain the same stolid Asiatics that have floated on the rivers and slaved in the fields of China for thirty centuries of time. We thus find one-sixth of our entire population composed of Chinese coolies, not involuntary, but, by the unalterable structure of their intellectual being, voluntary slaves. This alien mass, constantly increasing by Immigration, is injected into a republic of’ freemen, eating of its substance, expelling free white labor, and contributing nothing to the support of the government. All of the physical conditions of California are in the highest degree favorable to their influx. Our climate is essentially Asiatic in all its aspects. And the Federal Government by its legislation and treaties fosters and promotes the immigration. What is to be the result? Does it require any prophetic power to foretell? Can American statesmen project their vision forward for a quarter of a century and convince themselves that this problem will work out for itself a wise solution? In that brief period, with the same ratio of increase, this fair State will contain a Chinese population outnumbering its free men. White labor will be unknown, because unobtainable, and then how long a period will elapse before California will, nay must, become essentially . . . lesser Asia, with all its deathly lethargy? Primary Source 3 Henry Cabot Lodge, “The Restriction of Immigration” (1891) The nations of Europe which chiefly contributed to the upbuilding of the original thirteen colonies were the English, the Scotch-Irish, so called, the Dutch, the Germans, and the Huguenot French. With the exception of the last they were practically all people of the same stock. During this century and until very recent years these same nations, with the addition of Ireland and the Scandinavian countries, have continued to furnish the chief component parts of the immigration which has helped to populate so rapidly the territory of the United States. Among all these people, with few exceptions, community of race or language, or both, has facilitated the work of assimilation. In the last ten years, however, as appears from the figures just given, new and wholly different elements have been introduced into our immigration, and what is more important still the rate of immigration of these new elements has risen with much greater rapidity than that of those which previously had furnished the bulk of the population of the country. The mass of immigration, absolutely speaking, continues, of course, to come from the United Kingdom and from Germany, but relatively the immigration from these two sources is declining rapidly in comparison with the immigration from Italy and from the Slavic countries of Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia, the last of which appears under the head of Austria. . . . Thus it is proved, first, that immigration to this country is increasing, and, second, that it is making its greatest relative increase from races most alien to the body of the American people and from the lowest and most illiterate classes among those races. In other words, it is apparent that, while our immigration is increasing, it is showing at the same time a marked tendency to deteriorate in character. . . . As one example of the practical effect of unrestricted immigration the committee [of the Fiftieth Congress to investigate immigration] cite the case of the coal-mining country: “Generally speaking, the class of immigrants who have lately been imported and employed in the coal regions of this country are not such, in the opinion of the committee, as would make desirable inhabitants of the United States. They are of a very low order of intelligence. They do not come here with the intention of becoming citizens; their whole purpose being to accumulate by parsimonious, rigid, and unhealthy economy a sum of money and then return to their native land. They live in miserable sheds like beasts; the food they eat is so meagre, scant, unwholesome, and revolting that it would nauseate and disgust an American workman, and he would find it difficult to sustain life upon it. Their habits are vicious, their customs are disgusting, and the effect of their presence here upon our social condition is to be deplored. . . . Primary Source 4 Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, on the Nonexistent “American” (1963) Perhaps the meaning of ethnic labels will yet be erased in America. But it has not yet worked out this way in New York. It is true that immigrants to this country were rapidly transformed, in comparison with immigrants to other countries, that they lost their language and altered their culture. It was reasonable to believe that a new American type would emerge, a new nationality in which it would be a matter of indifference whether a man was of Anglo-Saxon or German or Italian or Jewish origin, and in which indeed, because of the diffusion of populations through all parts of the country and all levels of the social order, and because of the consequent close contact and intermarriage, it would be impossible to make such distinctions. This may still be the most likely result in the long run. After all, in 1960 almost half of New York City’s population was still foreign-born or the children of foreign-born. Yet it is also true that it is forty years since the end of mass immigration, and new processes, scarcely visible when our chief concern was with the great masses of immigrants and the problems of their “Americanization,” now emerge to surprise us. The initial notion of an American melting pot did not, it seems, quite grasp what would happen in America. At least it did not grasp what would happen in the short run, and since this short run encompasses at least the length of a normal lifetime, it is not something we can ignore. It is true that language and culture are very largely lost in the first and second generations, and this makes the dream of “cultural pluralism”of a new Italy or Germany or Ireland in America, a League of Nations established in the New Worldas unlikely as the hope of a “melting pot.” But as the groups were transformed by influences in American society, stripped of their original attributes, they were recreated as something new, but still as identifiable groups. Concretely, persons think of themselves as members of that group, with that name; they are thought of by others as members of that group, with that name; and most significantly, they are linked to other members of the group by new attributes that the original immigrants would never have recognized as identifying their group, but which nevertheless serve to mark them off, by more than simply name and association, in the third generation and even beyond. The assimilating power of American society and culture operated on immigrant groups in different ways, to make them, it is true, something they had not been, but still something distinct and identifiable. The impact of assimilating trends on the groups is different in part because the groups are differentCatholic peasants from Southern Italy were affected differently, in the same city and the same time, from urbanized Jewish workers and merchants from Eastern Europe. . . . Conceivably the fact that one’s origins can become only a memory suggests the general direction for ethnic groups in the United Statestoward assimilation and absorption into a homogeneous American mass. And yet, as we suggested earlier, it is hard to see in the New York of the 1960s just how this comes about. Time alone does not dissolve the groups if they are not close to the Anglo-Saxon center. Color marks off a group, regardless of time; and perhaps most significantly, the “majority” group, to which assimilation should occur, has taken on the color of an ethnic group, too. To what does one assimilate in modern America? The “American” in abstract does not exist, though some sections of the country, such as the Far West, come closer to realizing him than does New York City. SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS Carefully read each of the following primary sources and answer the following questions. 5. How does each of the following address the issue of assimilation and identity? a. Ben Franklin’s observations b. State of California’s address to Congress c. Henry Cabot Lodge’s assessment d. Glazer’s and Moynihan’s excerpt 6. Which one of the four primary sources do you think Richwine would find most useful, and how might he use it to support his arguments? 7. Which one of the four primary sources do you think Chavez would find most useful, and how might he use it to support his arguments? 8. Based on these primary and secondary documents, what pattern do you see in how Americans historically have responded to the arrival of new immigrant groups?
Benjamin Franklin, on the Germans
Plagiarism-free and delivered on time!
We are passionate about delivering quality essays.
Our writers know how to write on any topic and subject area while meeting all of your specific requirements.
Unlike most other services, we will do a free revision if you need us to make corrections even after delivery.
How it Works
Place an order
Fill out the order form.
Attach any custom instructions that is required to complete your order.
Pay online safely.
The order form will redirect you to a payment page.
Receive Order via Email
Once the order is complete, we’ll send it via the email provided on the order form.