The Melting Pot: Americans and Assimilation

Jul 05, 04:00 PM

On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.”

In the spirit of July 4th, BackStory revisits an episode on the abiding question: What does it mean to be an American? We’ll explore 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is any room for it today.

Image: Cover of Theater Program for Israel Zangwill's play "The Melting Pot," 1916. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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