Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Immigration and Americanization

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Immigration and Americanization

“Some immigrant heritages are so different from our own that their expression in the press is likely to instigate action that is inimical to our national purposes, or that interferes with our social machinery. To prevent such discord is a legitimate undertaking.
Americans may even go one step father. By encouraging the foreign-language press to
emphasize the immigrant heritages congenial to ours, by showing it the friendly side of America, it is possible to hasten its development into an instrument of Americanization.”

-Robert E. Park "Controlling Through Alliance"

After the Great Depression in the United States there was a mass migration of immigrants from 1890 to the 1920’s. The Industrial revolution brought about the need for cheap labor and many immigrants filled those positions. Native born Americans feared the immigrants were going to transform the American way of life. They felt that immigrants needed to be Americanized and taught the American way of thinking. In “Controlling through Alliance” by Robert E Park he discusses the establishment of foreign - language newspapers. These papers created a new way of promoting the American way of life to the immigrant population in the U.S.

Rear-Admiral Cooper F. Goodrich proposed the idea of taxing immigrant publication. Another proposal was to have translations in the columns of the paper in English. Both of these proposals were strategies that failed to be implemented for the control of the foreign language press.

“The immigrant is disposed to use his language and his press to help him find his way in the New World. The foreign-language press, if it preserves old memories, is at the same time the gateway to new experiences.
For this reason foreign-language papers are frequently agencies of Americanization in spite of themselves. They are always Americanizing influences when they print the news.”

-Robert E. Park "Controlling Through Alliance"

The Inter-Racial Council and the Foreign Language Bureau were two agencies created to aid the combined effort of the government and the immigrant press. The Inter-Racial Councils chairman was T. Coleman Du Pont and it was a government agency with the goal of Americanizing the immigrant population. This agency created a intermediary between the immigrant laborer, the native employer and the labor organizations.

I feel that it is important for immigrants to be assimilated to the American way of life. The foreign-language press was a tool used to aid in the Americanization of the immigrants in the past and it is still used in today's society. I feel that it is important for immigrants to learn English and to adjust to our American culture, customs and dress. We live in a multi-ethnic society and I would not want it any other way, but it is important for immigrants to adjust to American society.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

Good quotations from Park.

What do you mean by the "Great Depression"? Check your timeline, the phrase "Great Depression" normally refers to the period between the stock market crash of 1929 and WWII.

What was the role of advertising in this process according to Park?

3/11/2009 10:48 PM  

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