The Facade of the Melting Pot: Trans-National America


“‘The so-called ‘melting pot’ has happily failed, Bourne wrote, and he called the “English-American conservatism” which would demand it the ‘chief obstacle to social advance.’ Without the cultural variety brought by immigrants, […] America was doomed to stagnation.”

“‘What we emphatically do not want is that these distinctive qualities [of immigrants] should be washed out into a tasteless, colorless fluid of uniformity. Already we have far too much of this insipidity. . . .The failure of the melting-pot, far from closing the great American democratic experiment, means that it has only just begun. Whatever American nationalism turns out to be, we see already that it will have a color richer and more exciting than our ideal has hitherto encompassed. In a world which has dreamed of internationalism, we find that we have all unawares been building up the first international nation. ”

The Rustbelt Intellectual on Randolph Bourne’s 1916 essay “Trans-National America”

[image via Columbia]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *