Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Immigrants as Americanizers: The Americanization movement of the early twentieth century
by Hanley, Alexis Claire, M.A., University of Massachusetts Boston, 2012, 129; 1519020
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis aims to prove that the Americanization movement was crucial in that it provoked immigrants to devise their own ways in which they could demonstrate their loyalty to America and forge links between Americanism and their cultural pride. Immigrants transformed themselves into a new type of American by exhibiting love for both their home and adopted countries. On the one hand, they were acutely aware of the ever-present demand to exhibit their dedication to America during the Great War, but they also took much of the patriotic ardor that was forced upon them and reshaped it in order to support and promote their own ethnic causes.

The native-born Americanizers responsible for Americanization publications underestimated immigrant potential and desire to participate. Although immigrants did benefit from a certain number of opportunities offered by native-born Americanizers, what was expressed in the Foreign Language Press and other immigrant writings reveals that the immigrants were better suited to acclimate themselves rather than those appointed by the government, public schools, or private organizations. While native-born Americanizers sought ways to teach immigrants about America and its history, traditions, language, and government, many remained unmindful of the fact that the newly arrived Southern and Eastern European immigrants were practicing one of the earliest forms of cultural pluralism and were also interested in teaching native-born Americans about their own cultures.

The following case studies are used to analyze various Americanization methods employed during the Americanization Movement: (1) The works of Frances A. Kellor and Americanization literature by John Foster Carr and the Daughters of the American Revolution; (2) The Carnegie Studies published during the early 1920s; and, (3) Foreign Language Press articles from The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey as well as immigrant works, including those by Carol Aronovici and Israel Zangwill.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cannato, Vincent J.
Commitee: Green, James, Hacsi, Timothy
School: University of Massachusetts Boston
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: MAI 51/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, American history, Social structure
Publication Number: 1519020
ISBN: 978-1-267-63030-8
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