Task: White-American Experience

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TASK: White-American Experience
CONDITION: Classroom environment
STANDARD: 1. Define White-American as defined by DoD Dir 1350.2.

2. Describe the origins of White American and the different groups in

Colonial America.

3. Define the different types of immigration and the impact on


4. Explain European American common experience and displacement.

5. Define Redemptioners.
MEDIA: Viewgraph #14-1 through Viewgraph #14-6 and Student Handout #14-1
NOTE: To enhance the block of instruction, it would be beneficial to schedule a “guest speaker” or a specific field trip that emphasizes or supports the training.
LEAD IN: During this block of instruction we will focus on the experiences of some of the major White immigrant groups who came to this country, and on the historic and cultural issues of White-Americans. Included are the contemporary issues that will enable you to understand and help foster a positive equal opportunity climate within your unit.


  • White-American

  • Anglo-Saxon and White

  • Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP)

1. Definition. According to DoD Directive 1350.2 a White-American (not of Hispanic origin) is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or Middle East.
2. In 1850, it was relatively simple to describe a White-American. In all probability he or she was of Anglo-Saxon background and Protestant. However, after the Civil War, immigrants began coming from Southern and Central Europe. They were not Protestant, not Anglo-Saxon, and had different languages and cultures from those who preceded them. Although each of these groups has greatly assimilated into American life, each still maintains some of American life, each still maintains some of its uniqueness and has contributed much to White-American society as we know it today. Therefore, it is next to impossible to describe a White-American in the 1990’s. However, it is possible to highlight some of the experiences and contributions of major White ethnic groups who immigrated to this country. The list is by no means inclusive and is changing rapidly every day.
3. In 1980, approximately 200 million White-Americans could trace some of their ancestry back to the following groups (in descending size order): English, German, Irish, French, Italian, Scottish, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Welsh, Danish, and Portuguese.
4. The White-American experience from its colonial beginnings is fairly short. It covers a period of approximately 400 years, a period that can be spanned by the overlapping lifetimes of a half-dozen individuals. Yet the roots of the White-American experience go deep into the human past. These roots are traced mostly to the Old World, but not the New.
5. Individuals who make-up the original White-American people came to American from three areas of the world. They were:
a. North Africa related to the Berbers. A Caucasian people, the Berbers are related in physical type to the Mediterranean subgroup of southern Europe. They form the base population of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Today they are mostly Muslims and much of their culture is “Arabized.”
b. Northwestern Europe. Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales.
c. Southeastern Europe. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Spain, USSR, and Yugoslavia.
6. Anglo-Saxon and White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP). An Anglo-Saxon and White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) is a person of Caucasoid, northern European, largely Protestant stock whose members are held by some to constitute the most privileged and influential group in U.S. society. In the New World, they were usually the Landlord and their culture and values, with rare exception, were those that defined the culture. Their culture and values were normally based on:
a. Handwork.
b. Perseverance.
c. Self-Reliance.
d. Puritanism.
e. Missionary spirit.
f. Abstract rule of law
7. The White colonists prior to the Revolutionary War, though immigrants by one definition, did not consider themselves immigrants. Rather, approximate 78% of the English population conceived themselves as Founders, Settlers, and Planters. As the formative population of those colonial societies, theirs were the policy, the language, the pattern of work, settlement, and many of the mental habits to which the post-Revolutionary War “immigrants” would have to adjust.
8. During W.W.I, millions of people living in the U.S. were seemingly more interested in their former homeland then their newly adopted country. The public labeled such people “hyphenated” Americans, German-Americans, Polish-Americans, and Irish-Americans. The Irish and the Jews from Russia, because of previous mistreatment, became bitterly hostile to English and Russia and very pro-German.




  • British-Americans

  • Canadian-Americans

  • French-Americans

  • Dutch-Americans

  • German-Americans

  • Irish-Americans

  • Italian-Americans

  • Polish-Americans

  • Middle-Eastern-Americans

1. Immigrant. An immigrant is defined as one who settles permanently in a foreign country or region. In colonial American, those who arrived in American following the Revolutionary War were considered immigrants.
2. In 1607, the first permanent English settlement in America was established in Jamestown, Virginia. The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. In 1629, the Puritans came to Massachusetts Bay. Puritan settlers to the New England area differed from the inhabitants of other colonies. Nearly all other colonies were settled by me without education, driven by poverty or misconduct out of their homeland. Puritan settlers were British families with respectable social positions. They were educated and financially secure. They came to American so they could live according to their own principles and worship God in freedom.
3. The unique background of these early Puritan settlers established a foundation for the cultural norms and beliefs of today’s New Englanders. “Blue Laws” prohibiting the conduct of many types of activities on the Sabbath were introduced in New Haven Colony in 1638. They were printed on blue paper. The 1790 census indicated that 78 percent of the 2.75 million Americans were of British background. In July 1831, Dr. S. F. Smith took the music of the British national anthem and changed the words to create “America.” The British had taken the tune from the Germans.
4. Canadian-Americans. The history of Canada is closely tied to that of the United States. The “Cajun” residents of Louisiana trace their roots back to French Catholic settlements in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Run out by the English in 1775, they settled in Louisiana in places like Lafayette and New Orleans. With them they brought a unique French influence to the region. Over 4 million Canadians have immigrated to the United States since 1820. The peak for Canadian immigration to the United States was in the 1920’s when 920,000 Canadians crossed the border looking for a new way of life. In the 1960’s this number decreased to 413,000 and in the last decade, 100,000. Canada is made up of persons primarily of British (45%) or French (29%) descent. Since Canada is bilingual country, most Canadian immigrants, regardless of French background, assimilate easily into Americans communities.
5. French-Americans. The influence upon American life is disproportionately greater than their actual numbers in the United States. French explores (e.g., Cartier, Champlain, Marquette, Joliet, LaSalle) were the first to discover areas in the heartland of America (e.g., the Mississippi River and all lands drained by it); the Great Lakes; the St. Lawrence River; Lake Champlain; Chicago, and Detroit. In 1562, the first group of French Protestants (Huguenots) came to America because of religious persecution and settled in South Carolina. The French fought alongside the colonists in the American Revolution; Rochambeau and Lafayette were great military minds.
6. Dutch-Americans. In 1609, Henry Hudson set out to find a Northeast Passage to the East Indies and landed in which is now New York. The first Dutch settlement in American was in Fort Nassau, near Albany, New York. In 1621, the Dutch West Indies Company was formed. It promoted trade and settlement in America. The first group of permanent Dutch settlers came to America seeking religious freedom in America. The Patroonship System was established in 1629. Land plus ownership rights were given to anyone settling 50 people on their land within four years. To qualify as a patroon, a person had to be a major stockholder in the Dutch West Indies Company since its founding. Although six patroonships were registered, only one was successfully settled.
7. In 1640, in a renewed effort to bring more settlers to New Netherland, the Dutch West Indies Company developed a charter encouraging persons of limited economic means to settle there. As an early Governor of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant changed it from a trading post to a permanent settlement, which permitted a large degree of religious freedom. In 1663, a Dutch Mennonite named Pieter Cornelis Plockhoy established the first socialist community in North America. In 1668, the Dutch Quakers established the first declaration against slavery in the United States. In 1758, they expelled from their membership anyone who bought or sold slaves. The attitudes and behaviors of early settlers to this area (much of what is present-day New York) greatly influenced the current culture and characteristics that are distinctive to this part of America. Unrest in the Netherlands increased immigration between 1829 and 1865. Immigrants settled in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, New Jersey, Indiana, and South Dakota.
8. German-Americans. The first German immigrants to this country founded Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1683. By 1766, one-third of Pennsylvania was inhabited by Germans. Most were poor farmers who settled along the frontier from Georgia to the New England colonies. The Pennsylvania Dutch were industrious and excellent farmers. They developed the Kentucky rifle and Conestoga wagon. Although many religious sects existed in Pennsylvania, there was a strong belief in religious tolerance and separation of church and state. John Peter Zenger established the concept of “Freedom of the Press. Von Steuben introduced a concept of military discipline during the Revolutionary War, which was instituted throughout the Army. During the firs half of the 19th century, German immigration exceeded all other. Germans settled all over the country, especially in Rochester and Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. German artisans and craft persons established businesses and help industrial expansion. German guilds marked the beginning of trade unions in this country.
9. Irish-Americans. The first Irish person to come to America was William Ayers, who was one of Columbus crew. Francis Maguire was one of the original inhabitants of Jamestown in 1607. John Dunlap, an Irish-American in Philadelphia. printed the Declaration of Independence. During and after the potato blight in Ireland (1846-48), immigration to the United States increased.
10. Italian-Americans. Italians were among the earliest explorers of the country--Christopher Columbus; Amerigo Vespecci (America was named after him); Verrazano missionaries Marcos de Niza and Eusebio Chino. Philip Mazzei, in 1773, established a plantation next to Thomas Jefferson’s in Virginia, where he introduced grapes and olives to America. He also aided the colonists during the Revolution. Italian immigration increased after the failing of a great political uprising in Italy in 1848. The peak of Italian immigration was reached during 1900-1920. the majority of Italians coming were poor and settled in New England, the Great Lakes Region, Florida, and California. Most who could not get work in their specialties concentrated in the heavily urbanized states along the Northeast Seaboard.
11. Polish-Americans. Several Poles accompanied the British when they landed in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608. They were experts and instructors in the manufacture of glass, pitch, tar, and other products England imported from Poland. They did so well that other Poles were invited to come. However, they were not allowed privileges equal to those of the English. As a result of this inequity, the Poles organized the first American popular assembly and labor walkout in 1619 in Jamestown. Many Polish helped in the fight for American independence. Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Count Casimir Pulaski (father of American cavalry) organized some decisive victories. When Kosciuszko left America, he left his will in the custody of Thomas Jefferson. He designated that the proceeds from his estate be used to purchase Black slaves and give them freedom in his name.
12. Prior to 1865, Poles who came to this country were political exiles. Those who came after 1865 were poor peasants. They settled in Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee. Even though they came from rural backgrounds, they became involved in industry, working in the local and iron fields. Dr. Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska, a medical pioneer, was active in women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery. She founded the New founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Caroline Still, one of the earliest Black women doctors, did her internship at the hospital. It was also one of the few White nursing schools to admit Blacks. Twelve percent of Americans who lost their lives in World War I were of Polish background, even though at no time did the number of Poles in this country exceed four percent of the total population..
13. Middle-Eastern-Americans. Middle-Eastern-Americans are estimated to number 2.5 to 3.0 million in the United States. This ethnic group is not closely tracked in the U.S. census and the trail of their immigration to the United States is sketchy. Many Syrians and Lebanese who immigrated to the United States in the last century came under Turkish passports. Approximately 70 percent of Middle-eastern-Americans are Christian and 30 percent are Islamic. Although the number of Islamic-Americans is on the rise, the majority of the Middle-Eastern population in the U.S. is made up of Maronite and Melkite Christians of Lebanese descent. The first Lebanese immigrant to the United States on record was Anthony Bishallany in 1854. The first Arabic newspaper in the United States was founded in 1892 as Kawab Amerika (The Star of America).
14. In 1919, there were 400,000 recorded Middle-Eastern-Americans living in the United States. Most were of Syrian and Lebanese descent and most lived in New York City. New York still has the largest Middle-eastern population in the country. Immigration quotas imposed in 1921 and 1924 reduced the allowable number of Middle-Eastern immigrants to less than 1,000. These restrictions were later repealed, but the flow of these immigrants into the United States has still remained at a trickle.
NOTE: Iranians, generally considered Persian and not Arabic, made up the largest group of immigrants from the Middle Eastern States or Islamic countries in 1989 with a with a total of 21,000 immigrants.


  • Foundation: English/England

  • Puritans and Pilgrims

  • Influences

  • Divergence from the Homeland

  • Puritanism

  • Non-English Groups

  • Non-Protestant Groups

1. Foundation. English/England. Most colonists prior to the 1600s came directly from England. They were the first to successfully colonize in the New World. Englishmen had no desire to lose their Englishness, rather:
a. Build a better England.
b. One that would be free of the imperfections of their Native land.
c. One that would give them greater opportunities for personal happiness.
2. Puritans and Pilgrims. The Puritans sought out the American wilderness so they could establish a truly colony free of European decadence. They thought of themselves as “ A city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon them.” They demanded strict conformity from all inhabitants. They earned the reputation for heartless discipline and the “Puritan tradition” in American life came to mean the censoring the behavior of others. (Holds more impact then any other immigrant group today).
3. Both Pilgrims and Puritans considered themselves good Christians. Their ideology emphasized:
a. Protestant faith.
b. Diligent application to work.
c. Individual accomplishment.
d. Anglo-Saxon legal heritage.
e. Written compact.
f. English language.
4. All of these aspects of their culture were firmly implanted on American soil as they laid the foundation for American society.
5. Influences. There key factors influenced the way of life of every new arrival to America:
a. Learning from those already here.
b. The environment they found.
c. Traditions they brought with them.
6. Divergence from the Homeland. There were three main reasons for divergence from the culture of the colonies and that of the homeland:
a. English society not transplanted as whole.
b. New World -- unfamiliar environment.
c. Countries other than England.
7. When the British took over New Netherlands (New York) in 1664, they offered citizenship to a population that spoke 18 different languages.
8. These English settlers had the most difficult physical environment to master, but the easiest social adjustment to make. They mastered rugged land that was hard, but built a society that was in their own image and never knew the hostility of old toward new succeeding groups.
9. Cotton Mather, was the first person, on record in 1684, to use the term “American.” Not long after, this term (American) was considered sufficiently distinctive, from Europe, to have national traits (most of which were fostered by frontier life). Colonists were thought to be:
a. More adaptable.
b. More independent.
c. More inventive.
d. More devoted to democratic principles.
e. More dedicated to the rule of law than the rule of a king.
10. Puritanism. In colonial America, Puritanism remained an important element. It would affect the outlook of most Americans for many generations, not as theological doctrines or religious practices, but in the form of attitudes that were real, though hard to define. These attitudes were:
a. Sense of duty.
b. Hard work and success as its own reward.
c. Mission to make the world a better place.
11. Puritans were able to influence Americans because:
a. They moved away from New England.
b. They trained the majority of ministers.
12. Non-English Groups. There were groups of colonial immigrants who came to be considered Native-born. They included:
a. Scotch-Irish. These 250,000 constituted the largest non-English Protestants.
(1) Protestants who left their homes for religious and economic reasons.
(2) Factors for emigration were English mercantile laws, successive rent increases, termination of farm leases, poor harvests, curtailed supplies of flax to linen for manufactures, increased food costs, and restrictions precluding Presbyterians from holding political office. However, not until 1717 when the 4th successive year of drought ruined crops were serious preparations begun for the migration to the New World.
(3) Most of the Scotch-Irish were indentured servants. Once their service ended, they usually moved to the frontier. The Scotch-Irish were forever on the move.
(4) Wherever they want, the church and the schoolhouse followed. Devoutly religious with an intense desire for learning, they stressed the importance of an educated ministry and dissemination of knowledge.
(5) Virginia prohibited the sale of more than 20 Scotch-Irish on any one river.
(6) In 1729, a Pennsylvanian said: “The common fear is that if they (the Scotch-Irish), thus continue to come they will make themselves proprietors of province.”
b. German. These 200,000 were the second most significant European minority.
(1) Wherever Germans went, they prospered. Their concern for their property was proverbial, and it was often said that a German took better care of their cows than their children. One historian has written that they “produced in their children not only the habits of labor, but a love of it.” They fed their stock well, exercised frugality in diet and dress, and were known for their thrift, industry, punctuality, and sense of justice.
(2) Colonial Germans had little desire to blend with rest of the population. They kept to themselves, continued speaking German, attended their own churches, and rarely took the opportunity to become citizens of the British Empire. They maintained their own culture and feared that the use of English and contact with other groups would completely Anglicize their children.
(3) Because of their aloofness, they antagonized the dominant English group in the colonies, especially in Pennsylvania, who viewed them as dangerous elements in the community. Benjamin Franklin demanded in the 18th century “Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into Language 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?”
c. Non-Protestant Groups. 98% of colonial America belonged to one Protestant sect or another. Only 1.4% embraced Roman Catholicism, and only 0.12% embraced Judaism.
(1) In 1775, there were 6 Jewish congregations, 56 Catholic, 65 Methodist, 120 Dutch Reformed, 150 Lutheran, 159 German Reformed, 310 Quaker, 494 Baptist, 495 Anglican, 588 Presbyterian, and 668 Congregation churches in America.
(2) To protect Catholics in case of eventual discrimination, Lord Baltimore urged passage of the Toleration Act in 1664. It granted freedom of religion to all who believed in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Five years later, however, under the domination of Protestant legislature, the act was repealed and Catholic were denied the protection of the law. The repeal signified how the colonist, and in later centuries other Protestants, regarded, the Roman Catholic faith.
(3) The English, in particular, were anti-Catholic, because English’s rivals, France and Spain, were catholic countries. The colonist feared that the Pope would order all Catholics to fight the spread of democracy.
e. Anti-Catholicism in colonial time manifest primarily in the area of civil and religious rights. Only in Rhode Island could a colonist Catholic enjoy full civil and religious rights according to chapter, decrees, and laws of the land.
(1) In Pennsylvania, where there were a number of Catholic churches. Catholics were permitted freedom of worship and enjoyed voting rights, but despite Quaker support they were excluded from public.
(2) According to Maryland laws passed after 1691, Catholics not only were deprived of political rights, but were also forbidden to hold religious services except in private houses.
(3) In other colonies, including Maryland, Catholics were second class citizens, repressed, banished, and categorically scorned and even excluded.
(4) Belgium had been allowed to settle in Jamestown only the condition that not more than 300 could enter that they conform to the Church of England.
13. The Dilemma. As a result of the different groups, there was an intertwining of diversity and homogeneity.



  • Immigrant Experience

  • Reason for Immigrating

  • The Voyage

  • America’s Conscience and Servitude

1. Early Americans, with the absence of a truly rooted national tradition, were united in

a commitment to the future. They also shared the same common experience of displacement.
2. European colonist began to refer to themselves as “White” after about 1608.
3. Early Americans also shared many common traits. The most notable of the traits, which now characterize Native-Americans were:
a. Idealism.
b. Flexibility.
c. Adaptability to change
d. High respect for personal achievement.
e. Dependency on self and immediate fame versus wider community.
f. Tendency to conform to the values of peers and neighbors versus stubbornly clinging to traditions or ancestral ways.
4. Immigrant Experiences. There were various reasons for immigration to America. Four of the primary reasons were:
a. Religious Persecution. the search for freedom of worship has brought people to America from the days of the Pilgrims to modern times.
b. Political Oppression. America has always been a refuge from tyranny.
c. Economic Hardships/Factors. This third factor has been more complex than the religious/political factors. This has been the MOST compelling factor for the majority of the immigrants.
d. American Letters. The most powerful selling point for America came from the letters that Europeans wrote to their compatriots describing the wonders of America, or “the land of Canaan.” In the Scandinavian countries, in particular, letters were passed carefully, from family to family, published in the local newspapers, and discussed avidly from the pulpits on Sundays.
5. The Voyage. The voyage to the New World presented travelers with unanticipated hardships:

a. Initially had to save money for passage.

b. Saying “good-bye” to friends and family whom they could expect to never see again.
c. No guarantees’ ships would sail as agreed and extra days meant added expenses.
d. Weeks/months dismally on ships that were overcrowded and disease-ridden.
6. America’s Conscience and Servitude. In early America, many poor people were unable to get to the colonies on their own. To facilitate the trip, many individuals promised to serve as indentured servants in exchange for the cost of the voyage. Others assured payments would be made by friends or relatives after arrival. If payment was not made, they also were indentured for a period to time as payment of the costs of the trip.
7. Indentured Servitude. This was the most common means of getting to the colonies. While indentured servitude was outlawed in 1820, as early as 1636, the system had become so commonplace that one could easily obtain a printed from with blank spaces for the servant’s and master’s names.
a. The contract stated that the servant was to work for a set term, usually four years, during which time they would receive room, board, and clothing in addition to passage to America.
b. At the end of the term the individual was awarded “freedom dues,” in the combination of money, tools, clothes, and/or land.
c. Skilled workmen sometimes added a clause exempting them from field work. Children’s indentures, which were usually bound until the age of 21, specified that they be taught a trade or given an elementary education.
d. Many German indentures often entered into servitude on the condition that they be taught to read the Bible in English.
e. Servants were then assembled on deck so Planters could interview them and/or feel their muscles. Then they were auctioned to the highest bidder.
f. “Soul Driver.” those individuals who would buy in mass and then walk the servants from town to town re-selling them.
g. Masters could sell or auction them off, hire them out, whip, beat, brand them, or separate them from spouse/children, and punish runaways by extending or multiplying their term of servitude. For runaways, some colonies had penalty of hanging
h. In the early years, masters often drove their servants so hard that the backbreaking regime combined with crude living conditions caused over 50% of the servants to die.
i. Women indentured servants in some colonies had to serve an extra year if they became pregnant. Once their time of service was over, women did not receive land, as did men, and only rarely were given money.


  • Convict Labor

  • The Dilemma

1. Redemptioners. During the 17th century, indentured servitude was almost the only way a poor white person could get to the colonies or White labor could be supplied to American planters. As the colonies became better established, however, more substantial farmers and tradesmen were tempted to immigrate to the New World. A new system was invented to facilitate their trip, and in the 18th century more people traveled to the colonies as Redemptioners than as servants.
a. Redemption’s system developed when the Swiss and Germans began to emigrate in large numbers after 1708.
b. Emigrants traveled to main ports on the Rhine River, having had to pay tolls at approximately 36 toll houses.
c. Many reached Rotterdam/Amsterdam with depleted resources and were unable to cover the fare to America. In some cases, eager merchants took whatever money they had left, transported them to America, and allowed them two weeks to pay the balance of the fare.
d. These two weeks gave them the opportunity to contact friends or family who might advance them the money to “redeem” themselves.
e. When the necessary amount could not be found, Captains sold the passengers into servitude. The length of service was determined roughly by the size of their debt, usually two years.
f. Once the redemptioner was transferred to American master she/he was treated exactly like and indentured servant.
2. Convict Labor. Most colonist thought poorly of bonded servants. They agreed that “Man of the Poor” who had been useless in England were inclined to be useless likewise. Colonists held this opinion, in part, because they failed to distinguish between regular indentures and convict labor.
3. The Dilemma. The founders of the Republic dedicated the United States to the highest ideals of brotherhood. Yet, we know that the same men who saw a disparity between the ideals of democracy and convict and indentured labor, condoned slavery.


  • Immigration Waves

  • Immigration Acts and Laws

  • Assimilation

  • Contemporary America

  • Current Status of White-Americans

1. Many regions of the colonies had their own ideas on immigration. Some of these

were based on the need of plantation owners, farmers, and religions. Examples of these are listed below:
a. Pennsylvania. All White European settlers were welcomed into the colony with terms of equal rights. The bottom line was to be a good citizen regardless of their religious background. This became the basis for U.S. immigration and naturalization policies for White Europeans after the foundation of the republic.
b. Colonial Massachusetts. Only those religiously pure.
c. Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and Maryland (known as the Virginia Idea).

With increasing reliance on a plantation economy, they wanted workers as cheaply as possible without necessary accepting them to member into the community.

2. Immigrants were especially greedy or materialistic, but they had been at the complete mercy of their environment in Europe and it was important to them to be in control of their lives in America.
3. Immigrated Acts and Laws. The term racist doctrine today denotes prejudice and discrimination based on skin pigmentation and other physiological attributes. However, at the turn of the century, it was common practice to talk about the Italians race, the Jewish race, or the Polish race. The late 19th and early 20th century theorists juxtaposed the superior Anglo-Saxon race (Aryan, races, of Eastern and Southern Europe). Outside the South, racist theorists were less interested in Negroes. As such, their concern was upon the steady stream of new Immigrants, who were filtering through Ellis Island. This gave concrete form and “scientific” legitimacy by supporters of Anglo-Saxon superiority.
a. In 1911, the Federal Immigration Commission published a 42-volume report (the Dillingham Report) contrasting the old immigration with the new and making some startling conclusions. It stated the new immigration class is far less intelligent than the old; approximately one-third of all those over 16 years of age were found to be illiterate.
b. In 1915 one of President Wilson’s progressive braintrusters described the non-Aryan newcomers as “low-brow, big-faced persons of obviously low mentality.” Not that they suggest evil. They simply looked out of place in black clothes and stiff collar and as if belonged in skins, in wattle huts at the close of the Great Ice Age.
c. Madison Grant, chairman of the New York Zoological Society, wrote “a book which was the culmination of his racist thought.” Not bothering with Negroes or Oriental, Grant focused upon the lower order of Europeans who were inundating the country. He characterized the New Immigrants as “...a large and increasing number of the weak, the broken and the mentally crippled, of all races drawn from the lowest stratum of the Mediterranean basin and the Balkans, together with hordes of the wretches, submerged populations of the Polish ghettos.”
d. During W.W.I, social scientists conducted studies revealing the inferiority of the new immigrants. On the basis of a study of American GIs, it was concluded that “northern Europeans scored almost as well as Native-Whites, whereas soldiers born in Latin and Slavic countries average significantly lower.”
e. One future study concluded, “the intellectual superiority of our Nordic group to the Alpine, Mediterranean, and Negro groups has been demonstrated.”
f. Textbooks used in grade schools and colleges alike propounded the intellectual and moral superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. Generations of American students were exposed to these theories which confirmed the widespread belief that the new immigrants were indeed inferior human beings.”
4. Assimilation. The striking fact of White-European immigration is that of social mobility, an improvement in the status and living conditions of the descendants of the million who flocked to the United States. Progress was by no means even from group to group or from generation to generation. Some key impacts affecting assimilation are listed below:
a. Language. The first generation retained their native languages or became

bilingual. Their children and grandchildren gradually lost the old language and spoke only English.

(1) One way to cope with the problem of relating the story of the American people, when it was not a tale of common origins, was to tell the story as if the funding of the Republic proceeded from the experience of the English settlers only.
(2) Textbooks taught what values and characteristics were to be abandoned through stereotypical portrayals of racial, religious, and nationality groups. The early public school advocates clearly tied ideals of citizenship and national identity to Protestantism.
(3) Contadino, or agricultural laboring class, from which most southern Italians immigrants came, viewed educational institutions with distrust because in Italy they had represented the heavy hand of the government and had rarely proved of benefit. For the southern Italians both religious and secular knowledge was rooted in community folklore, not written texts.
(4) Many Slavs viewed the Americanization goals of the public schools as similar to the Maguarization policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was the repression of their group culture by the politically and economically dominant. Among unskilled Slavs, schooling was often seen not as preparing for work but as its competitor, restricting the amount or money brought into the family.
b. Mass Media. The development of mass media came with the expansion of education in American culture. The printed word was important before W.W.I in the form of newspapers and journals, but after 1920 came the radio and movies, and then after W.W.II television. Though many groups did operate a press and run a radio or TV station, they could not compete with the dominant corporations. Regardless of their ethnic background, children were exposed to this mass culture of national products, similar values, and common heroes.
5. Contemporary America. Some of the contemporary America issues are:
a. Family Patterns. Despite major changes in family behavior since times, the White-American family has remained a nuclear one.
b. Education Patterns. A constant theme of educational textbooks in America is national unity rather than diversity, culture, of ideals.
c. Poverty. Although the poverty rate for whites was lower than that for the other groups, the majority of poor persons in 1990 were White (66.5%).
6. Current Status of White Americans (1989). In 1989, there were 249 million

Americans, 84 percent (209 million) of whom were White. Projections of population

growth in the United States through the year 2000 indicate that the White population will

not grow as much as other segments of the population.

CLOSING: During the last two hours we have discussed the White-American

Experience. We learned that the White-Americans are made up of many different ethical groups from Europe, and they have maintain their strong Christian values and beliefs brought with them from Europe. The White-American Experience from its colonial beginnings is fairly short. It covers a period of approximately 400 years, a period that can be spanned by the overlapping lifetime of a half-dozen individuals. Yet the roots of White-American Experience go deep into the human past. These roots are to be traced mostly to the Old World, not the New. Summarize lesson objectives.



Famous Americans of British Background. Wyeth (Wyeth Drug Laboratories); the Wright Brothers (aviation); John Underwood (typewriters); the Mayo Brothers (medicine); Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe (Literature); Marshall Field (merchandising); Coats and Clark (thread mills); and Arthur Pitney and Walter Bowes (mail machine). Currently, the majority of Americans of British background reside in California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Major Contributions of British Background. Our language; many of our costumes; our court system, including the right to be tried by jury of one’s peers; names of many states and towns (e.g., Delaware; Virginia; New York; Madison, Wisconsin; Plymouth and Salem Massachusetts; New London, Connecticut) and early forms of punishment (e.g., pillory, stocks, and dunking stools).
Famous Americans of Canadian Background. Canadian-born musicians who are well known in the U.S. include: Hank Snow, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Ann and Nancy Wilson of “Heart” and Paul Anka. Famous entertainers include Donald Sutherland, David Steinberg, Ruby Keeler and Genevieve Bujold. Television producer Reuven Frank, former President of National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), and Peter Jennings, television news anchor, are Canadian-born. The economist and Harvard professor, John Kenneth Galbraith is Canadian. John Augustus Larson, a Canadian-American who graduated from Boston University in 1914, invented the “polygraph machine” in 1921. Finally, Alfred C. Fuller, founder of the Fuller Brush Company was an immigrant to the U.S. from Nova Scotia who arrived with less than $400.00 and built a fortune in door-to-door sales.
Major Contributions of Canadian Background. Hockey is recognized as a Canadian sport that migrated to the United States. Famous Canadian hockey players include Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky.
Famous Americans of French Background. Paul Revere (patriot); John Greenleaf Whittier (author); Francis Marion (patriot); John Jay (first Chief Justice of the United States); Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary of the Treasury); Pierre Charles L’Enfant (designed Washington, DC); Pierre Samuel dePont de Nemour (gunpowder); P. Lorillard (tobacco); Philip Armour (meat packing); Henry David Thoreau (philosopher and author); the La Follette family (famous political family in Wisconsin); Stephen Vincent Benet (author); John Garand (invented the official rifle of the U.S. Army); and President John Tyler and James Garfield. Currently, the majority of Americans of French background lice in California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
Major Contributions of French Background. Silk weaving; wine making; place names (e.g., New Orleans; St. Louis; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; and Boise, Idaho); fashion; cookery (e.g., Baked Alaska, omelet, puree, mayonnaise, hors d’oeuvres, bouillon, consommé, sauté, filet); the public hall in Boston (Faneuil Hall); and the rag carpet.
Famous Americans of Dutch Background. Pearl Buck (author); Dr. Benjamin Spock (pediatrician); Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Martin Van Buren; John Vliet Lindsay (former New York City Mayor and Congressmen); Cornelius Vanderbilt (steamship and railroad entrepreneur); General Alexander Vandergrift (first Marine Corps Officer to hold the rank of permanent General); Dr. William J. Kolff (invented the artificial kidney); Cecil B. DeMille (motion picture entrepreneur); and Piet Mondrian (artist). Currently, the majority of Americans of Dutch background live in Michigan, California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Major Contributions of Dutch Background. Place names (e.g., Amsterdam, Harlem, New York); golf; skating, windmills; and founded what is now Rutgers University (New Jersey).
Famous Americans of German Background. General John Pershing; Albert Einstein; Paul Tillich (Protestant theologian); John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb (started optical goods company); John Auguster Roebling (bridge builder who constructed the Brooklyn Bridge); Studebaker (car maker); Pabst, Anheuser, Bush, Schlitz, and Schmidt (brewers); authors John Steinbeck, John Gunther, and Theodore Dreiser; John Philip Sousa (composer and conductor); Presidents Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower; Henry Kissinger; baseball stars Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig; Berbard Baruch (financier and statesman); Nathan Straus (founded Macy’s Department Store); John Wanamaker (founded the department store bearing his name); Walter Chrysler (of automobile fame); Frederick Weyerhaeuser (lumber entrepreneur); the Rockefeller family (entrepreneurs and politicians); H.J. Heinz, Hershey, Kraft, and Fleischmann (of food fame); Henry Engelhard Steinway (piano maker); Werner Von Braun (rockets); and entertainers Merlene Dietrich, Florenz Ziegfield, and Johnny Weissmueller (Tarzan).
Major Contributions of German Background. Established the first paper mill in the U.S.; founded the glass making industry; printed the first Bible printed in the U.S. colonies; established the first foundry making type in North America; developed the first kindergarten in America; and brought such foods as wieners, frankfurters, noodles, pumpernickel bread, and pretzel to America.

Famous Americans of Irish Background. Flannery O’Conner, F, Scott Fitzgerald, Marianne Moore, James T. Farrell, and Eugene O’Neill (literature); the Unsinkable Molly Brown; Pat O’Brien, George M. Cohan, James Cagney, and Bing Crosby (entertainers); Christopher Drumgoole (established home for homeless boys in New York); James McCreery (his sizable donations helped found New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art); Mayor James Curly of Boston; the Kennedy family (politics--including a president, a senator, and an ambassador); “Wild Bill” Donovan (commander of the mostly-Irish Catholic “New York Fighting 69th” in World War I); Al Smith (politician); Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan; Senator Eugene McCarthy; Senator Joseph McCarthy; Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago; the “Fighting Irish of Notre Dame”; John L. Sullivan (fighter); George Meany (labor leader); and Andrew M. Greeley (priest and sociologist). Currently, the majority of Americans of Irish background live in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California.

Major Contributions of Irish Background. Irish-Americans played a major role in city politics and municipal services (e.g., Tammany Hall in New York); 12 of our Presidents were of Irish background. Although most of the Irish were Catholic, they established the first American Presbyterian Church and the first American Methodist Church. St. Patrick’s Day parades are big events in many locations throughout the country.
Famous American of Italian Background. Mother Frances Cabrini (Chicago social workers and the first American saint); Amadeo Giannini (founder of the Bank of America); John Cuneo (founder of the Cuneo Press, which was once the largest printing establishment in the world); Salvatore Giordano (President of Fedders Air Conditioning Corp.); Fiorello La Guardia (Mayor of New York City); Congressman Peter Rodino; Judge John Sirica (presided over the Watergate trials); Anthony Celebrezze and Joseph Califano (former Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services); Arturo Toscanini (musical conductor); Enrico Caruso and Anna Moffo (opera singer); Constantino Brumaldi (painter who painted the frieze around the Capitol Rotunda); Enrico Fermi (Nobel Prize scientist whose experiments led to the development of the Atomic Bomb); Emilio Segre (discovered Technicuim, the first artificially created element); entertainers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Guy Lombardo, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Durante, and Henry Mancini; and sports stars Joe DiMaggio and Vince Lombardi. Currently, most Americans of Italian background live in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Massachusetts.
Major Contributions of Italian Background. Introduced several foods (e.g. broccoli, zucchini, squash, endives, chicory, and pizza pie) and brought Italian grapes to the vineyards of California and Virginia.
Famous Americans of Polish Background. Casimir Funk (biochemist who discovered vitamins); Arthur Rubinstein (pianist); Samuel Goldwyn and the Warner Brothers (movie makers); Zbigniew Brzezinski (foreign affairs advisor); Thaddeus Sendzimir (revolutionized the steel industry by his new methods of processing steel); Edmond Muskie (former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State); Leon Jaworski (former Watergate prosecutor); Bobby Vinton (singer); Stan Musial, Tony Kubek, and Carl Yastrzemski (baseball stars). Currently the majority of Polish-Americans in the United States live in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan.
Major Contributions of Polish Background. Established the first factory in America (glass factory); invented the pneumatic dynamite torpedo gun, ramrod bayonet, and telescopic sight for artillery.
Famous Americans of Middle-eastern Background. Robert Aboud (former vice-chairman of First National Bank); Najeeb Halaby (former chairman of Pan-American Airlines); Lisa Halaby, his daughter, is now “Queen Noor,” wife of King Hussein of Jordan; Danny Thomas and his daughter, Marlo, Jamie Farr, Paul Anka, Tigh Andrews (Entertainers); Joe Robbie (owner of Miami Dolphins); Abe Gibron (former coach of the Chicago Bears); Michael Debakey (medicine); Philip Habid (State Department envoy to peace and arms negotiations and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs); Ralph Nader (consumer advocate).
Major Contributions of Middle-eastern Background. Middle-Eastern-Americans have made important contributions to American culture. Lebanese immigrants, Farah and Haggar are two well-known clothing manufacturers in the United States.


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