Americans With Hyphens are Not Americans at All

Topics: Red Scare

The authors of documents one and two believed it was necessary to strictly define Americans, and promote efforts to assimilate, or “Americanize,” immigrants in the United States because their main goal was to incorporate foreign cultures into one dominant civilization. Although, they had different views on immigration they believed all immigrants should be purely American and be given equal opportunity to be the best citizens by teaching skills, like learning how to read/ wriJeffersons’te English, how to behave properly and be taught about American History.

Theodore Roosevelt was pro assimilate, he argued that hyphenated Americans were not Americans at all. He repeatedly mentioned that there was no room for immigrants who claimed another country other than America. He did not declare the stoppage of immigrants into the country as Senator Smith did but Roosevelt felt that if one was to become a citizen, one would have to leave their culture behind and accept America only. Senator Smith spoke about overcrowding, depletion of resources, and preservation of the people who were already living in the United States at the time.

He wasn’t welcoming to immigrants as Roosevelt was, he held a position that the in-house/ shut the door policy would see America prosper. Senator Smith’s idea was to retain the current population and manage resources for future generations. I found both arguments persuasive, I thought they brought up relevant points that can still be used today. Such as Roosevelt’s beliefs about immigrants. Like Roosevelt, I too confide that the alienation of immigrants should not be tolerated and whoever wants to stay in this country should be allowed to do so despite where they come from.

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But, on the other hand, Senator Smith’s point about the depletion of resources and the rising population persuaded me to think that he might be right. Resources don’t last forever and a growing nation like the United States cannot keep up with supplies. Based on document three, Woody Guthrie might respond to each proposal by stating that his song represented the America he knew, which was about freedom and equality for poor working-class people.

The onset of the cold war redefined what it meant to be an American by creating this ever-growing fear of communism in America. People were on constant edge because the Soviets obtained an atomic bomb that could breakout a war at any moment.

The role these documents suggested loyal citizens play in waging war against communism was to combat it by becoming more suspicious of their fellow neighbors due to the paranoia of Soviet spies in the country. This is all because of the fear of the atomic bomb and the growing outcry of political representatives who proposed that soviet spies were in the country looking for intel or plotting something for Russia. The artist critiques the “anti-subversive” that took place during the second red scare by illustrating a classroom and showing McCarthy’s men questioning the teacher about communism. In the background, there is a map of Europe with the USSR in plain sight suggesting it to be “un-American,” hence why one of the men has a pair of scissors in his hands ready to cut it out. The critique is Jeffersons’ picture on the wall which represents freedom of speech and Mccarthy’s lack of honoring that. The McCarthy era continues to influence American society by looking no further than Donald Trump. He uses Mccartsit-inshy’s tactics like; fear, intimidation, exclusion of groups, and attacking people’s characters to pass his agenda to his base. This results in people turning on each other just as Americans did during the time of the red scare.

The common problems identified within American society in documents 7,8,9 were racial oppression, revolution, equality for all, and social injustice. Each document indicated issues and goals by groups who wanted to achieve a better outcome for their people. Some of the key differences between the documents were how various groups approached the common issues in America and the strategies involved to combat them. Document 7 was a political manifesto led by the SDS promoting peaceful protests for the unequal. This reminded me of the SNCC activists who led lunch counter sit-ins to protest segregation. They as the SDS adopted the Gandhian theory of peaceful assembly and believed violence was not the answer. The difference in document 8, was outlined by the Black Panther’s Ten-Point Program. They simply put their cause and purpose in the newspaper for all to see. As for Caesar Chavez, he led a revolution with powerful strikes and letters describing the hardships as well as what he and his people wanted going forward. The role these documents suggested Americans play to achieve social justice was to listen and join the cause because, without support, efforts like these would not change anything. All three documents were persuasive as a result of the rhetoric used, the delivery of the messages, and the adversity they all went through to pave the path for future generations.

After failing to secure three-fourths approval needed to pass the ERA, the women of the United States turned to the signing of Title IX into law. This signaled the ever-changing role of women in America by acknowledging the inequality they had endured for so many decades. With this civil rights law in place, women would no longer be discriminated against in any education or activity federally funded. The purpose of this was to have equality for all, regardless of sex. After reading President George H.W. Bush’s remarks, I believe it took so long for the country to acknowledge and protect the rights of the disabled because people with disabilities were an afterthought for the average citizen at the time. I saw a documentary on the history channel about disabilities and the phrase they often used was “out of sight, out of mind.” To me, the disabled were forgotten people, cast aside to fend for themselves. Like the social and racial movements, the disabled had to fight to protect their rights. Both Democrats and Republicans worked diligently to ensure the disabled were taken care of but without awareness, I don’t think it would have been an issue covered.

Maya Angelou’s inauguration poem reflected upon the hyphenated Americans because its message was about inclusion in America. Regardless of sex, race, or place of birth. It was a political poem that promoted equality and respect for others. Maya Angelou spoke of different minority groups that were being excluded and not included in American society throughout the poem. President-elect Barack Obama defined Americanism as his journey, that anything is possible, and collectively as a nation without consideration of gender, sex, color, religious beliefs, America spoke and selected the best candidate for the job. President Obama for the most part resolved the questions and crises surrounding the definition of an American citizen. Although individuals doubted his place of birth, he persevered and opened people’s eyes to dream again. With his humble never give up attitude, he ignored all of the negative comments and gave American citizens hope by just being elected. In the post, 9/11 world America has to a degree progressed in its inclusiveness. Of course, there are always going to be racists out there, such as the far-right white nationalists, like the ones who attacked others in Charlottesville. But, they’re a small percentage who make up the country. Education and tolerance of others still need to be practiced more in my opinion, but we are making great strides to include everyone.

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Americans With Hyphens are Not Americans at All. (2022, Apr 29). Retrieved from

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