In “Americanism,” Theodore Roosevelt describes the meaning of hyphenated Americans and their lives in the United States. There was no room in Roosevelt’s America for immigrants or sons of immigrants, who cling to the speech, the customs, the way of life, and the habits of thought from the old world which they have left. The hyphenated American is not an American at all. Those immigrants who hyphenated their Americanism, modifying it with the land of their or their parents’ birth, were and could not be true Americans. These Americans also can vote and be the primarily citizen of a foreign country.
Roosevelt writes that the foreign-born population must be an Americanized population. They must talk the language of its native-born fellow-citizens; possess American citizenship, American ideas and maintain an American standard of living. The immigrants must not to be allowed to drift or to be put at the mercy of the exploiter. According to Roosevelt, America cannot afford to keep a lot of immigrants as industrial assets and not as human beings. We also cannot pay low wages to immigrants, and keep immigrants working on American mines, railways or working in our munitions plants because it is dangerous. All United States citizens must stand shoulder to shoulder for the elimination of race and religious prejudice. We must also improve maintenance of the American standard of living; direct every national resource, material and spiritual, and train our people to overcome difficulties. We can do all this work in a democratic country where all people have equal rights and hopes for a good future life.
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