Founding Fathers on Assimilation

One could never dispute that certain issues are going to confront us all at one given point in our lives or another. Our discussion involves the notion of change folks. Ostensibly every human being will experience puberty, adolescence, hopefully learning, and hopefully appreciate the nation they live in – or so for most of us.

America has had a reasonable period of traditional heritage, that established customs, and in those customs an ethical and moral set of acceptable societal norms. It is when those norms start getting bashed from all sides and by various special interest and advocacy groups that one needs to think critically.

Just a small refresher that we all should attend to; Critical thinking has been described as “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.” It has been described in more detail as “the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

More recently, critical thinking has been described as “the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, which uses reasoned consideration to evidence, context, conceptualizations, methods, and criteria.” Critical thinking is commonly understood to involve commitment to the social and political practice of participatory democracy, willingness to imagine or remain open to considering alternative perspectives.

As for our Founding Father’s Quotes Friday we’ve collectively decided on an issue that is currently tearing and ripping at the very fabric of the United States, that is, the resistance to assimilation within the culture of America. We’d like to share some of those with everyone.

Cultural assimilation is a sociopolitical response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New customs and attitudes are acquired through contact and communication. Assimilation usually involves a gradual change and takes place in varying degrees; full assimilation occurs when new members of a society become indistinguishable from older members.

We would like to start with none other than Thomas Jefferson insofar as not only did he have a lot to say on the matter, but is also the person who changed his mind considerably during the election of 1800 that many feared he’d lost to Aaron Burr. However, far more a travesty happened when Hamilton openly rebuked Jefferson’s position in two separate articles in New York newspapers.

Thomas Jefferson’s attitude on immigration. Jefferson felt that a people being accustomed to leadership that used cruel and arbitrary use of power, who remained unaccountable for their actions – or in the case of most immigrants during that period – unaccountable for their lack of leadership, tyranny, even repression of the people’s basic human rights, would therefore know not too much else and inevitably would bring that with them insofar as it is the only thing they know.

Three years earlier, at the Constitutional Convention, Madison said, he “…wished to invite foreigners of merit and republican principles among us. America was indebted to emigration for her settlement and prosperity.”

Jefferson’s change came about when he faced a very strong opponent and needed immigrant votes in order to win; therefore, what Jefferson did was to have the residency requirement lessened to 5 years rather than the previously legislated 14 year requirement. This scenario should come to the forefront of every American’s mind predicated upon the activities of our current president.

At the same time, America’s founders were concerned with assimilating immigrants. Thus, George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, stated that immigrants should be integrated and assimilated into American life so that:

“By an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people.”

 In a 1790 speech to Congress on the naturalization of immigrants, James Madison stated that America should welcome the immigrant who could assimilate, but exclude the immigrant who could not readily “incorporate himself into our society.”

Alexander Hamilton insisted that “the safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on the love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family.” The ultimate success of the American republic, he maintained, depends upon “the preservation of a national spirit and a national character,” among native-born and immigrant alike.

Working hard!!




About J.Paul

Academia, Constitution, Musicianship, all around Caucasian male, straight, and professes Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. Guitars -- Classical, Acoustic, A/E, Strat, a real bassist at heart, Les Paul Standard bass.
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