A central aspect of US history is the story of migration. Believing in the American Dream of creating a better life for themselves and their children, many people have come to live in the United States, a refuge for the poor and oppressed, a nation of nations.
Much of Americans’ core idealism, pride, and naiveté is embodied in Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus”, whichis displayed inside the base of the Statue of Liberty (symbol of immigration waves representing freedom).
Settled people have been able to climb a “ladder of ethnic succession” as new waves of immigrants arrive. For most of the foreign-born, life in the US has meant an improvement on their situation in the “old country”. Later generations have enjoyed more significant socio-economic progress,The constant meeting, conflict and mixing of cultures has fuelled widespread discrimination, economic exploitation, violent anti-foreign movements and a never-ending debate over equality; opportunity and national identity.
There are some metahpores that capture the character of American society. Is it best understood as a melting pot; or a salad with clearly identifiable ingredients; or a stewwhose ingredients are mixed in the sauce of a common civic culture’s habits and ideals; or a mosaic with many discrete pieces; or an orchestra to which each ethnic group adds its characteristic instrument.
The homogenization of newcomers is difficult.
Early newcomers between Europeans and Native Americans
When the first European Explorers and settlers encountered Native Americans in the late1400s, a long history of mutual incomprehension and conflict began.
Europeans and Native Americans caught diseases from each other. Europeans had developed a greater immunity, and survived the first contacts better. The Native Americans fared far worse; epidemics annihilated entire native cultures.
The exchange of plants and animals had effects that were as far-reaching. Horses, donkeys, sheep,pigs and cows were aliens creatures to Native Americans. Potatoes, maize, squash, pumpkins and tobacco were discoveries to Europeans. The potato transformed the diet of many Europeans and played a key role in the great population growth (eg Ireland).
Native Americans shared perceptions that were sharply at odds with those Europeans held at that time. Native Americans were pantheists and theybelieved that the divine was in all things and that Human beings were no more important than any other part of the world. They were polytheists, belief in several or many gods.
Europeans, on the other hand, viewed man as the highest creation of a single, orderly God who made all things fit a detailed system of categories and sub-categories. In this scheme, called the Great Chain of Being, only angelsand human beings had souls and rational intelligence; whites were more highly favoured by God than any other race; men ranked higher than women; and every person had a place in a social class. These two visions led to conflicts.
To the European , changing nature from a wilderness to a garden was one of society’s chief aims. Man did God’s work by revealing the divine order in the world andexploiting the good things God had given him. .(In other words nature was at his disposal and had to be transformed). Given such an important task, people lived good lives only if they utilized their talents. This work ethic in turn supported a competitive individualism, the belief that self interested individuals best serve society. The more successful the individual was in reaching goals, the moresociety profited and the more God’s favour was evident.( The more successful and individual society was,the more productive. Utilitary society) Time and land were viewed as commodities to be measured, bought and sold as part of the individual’s pursuit of success.-> related to accumulation of wealth. Europeans believed they had to grew richer.
Native Americans had no myth of a los Garden of...