Straight America: A Call to National Service


Frances A. Kellor


New York, The MacMillan Company.  1916

Dedicated “To the President-Elect of 1916”



            Our shame is shown in our inaction.  We are unprepared for united service in any field including military, industrial and educational ones.  We are particularly unable to act because we are divided.  The coast needs protection and the interior feels safe.  We  see a conglomeration of colonies and ghettos and immigrant sections in our large cities, and the country dotted with settlements quite as un-American as anything to be found abroad.  We face the fact that America is not first in the hearts of every resident, that not every man trusts her present or believes in her future.” (4). 

            Thanks to the war we have been freed from the delusion that we are a united nation marching steadily along an American highway of peace, prosperity, common ideals, beliefs, language and purpose.” (4)

            Our citizens are backing Germany.  Men may be workment and voters and taxpayers and bosses, but the final question is are they loyal citizens?”

            One seventh of our population being foreign born it is no small task “to give them enough of America’s ideals to make them strong citizens of a democratic country.” (5).

            We don’t know if such a foreign presence is good or bad.  “This we do know, that every government but our own has a national purpose which it is carrying out in America with its own subjects – nationalized or alien – through its representatives and agents, its publications, institutions, and business interests.  America alone in its own territory has a negative procedure and is without policy.  We are concerned chiefly with thowse we cn keep out or send back.  Once an alien is admitted there is no system of protection, distribution, and assimilation; no specific inducements to citizenship; no encouragement to acquire a home stake in America.” (6). 

            We are militarily unprepared.  Will the alien help in the war effort?  Will we have time to Americanize when the war has started? 

            “In the growing demand for a more united America it is apparent that America needs a national spirit which shall combine reverence and service; a national consciousness which shall be willing to give as well as to receive benefits and to put into politics as well as take something out; an ideal, which shall make every resident give something of his interest, service, time, and money voluntarily to America without quibbling over “rights,” “emergencies,” “time of need,” or “obligations of business.

            “The practical questions before America are how to become Americanized and how to stay Americanized.” (11). 

            “I believe our capacity for nationalism is in exact proportion to the measures we take for its achievement.”  “A general melting pot tended by o one in particular does not necessarily brew a nation.  This is even more true when we find so many other self-interested nations and people stirring the pot.” (12)

            “If the pending immigration bill represents the sum total of the wisdom we can summon on the first subject [immigration], we shall fail miserably to improve this opportunity for our prevailing negative policy.  Such arbitrary tests as the literacy clause based on race and class theories and antagonisms bear no real or lasting relation to the fundamental national needs of the country.  This country needs a statesman like policy in its international relations based not upon theoretical makeshifts, but upon a knowledge of existing conditions, upon capacity for assimilating the immigrant, and upon our power to develop the machinery which will make assimilation possible.

            “Admission of aliens to this country should be based upon their capacity for Americanization.”  (13-14)

            “I believe that every incoming immigrant should declare upon arrival his or her intention to remain here and become a citizen.  Every immigrant should be required to become literate in the English language (the minimum standard to be definitively set) within five years after arrival, provided facilities are offered him  Deportation should be the penalty for failure to do so.” (14). 

            “A policy of national education is required for a statesmanlike consideration of nationalism.  Local communities cannot carry the burden of educating large numbers of incoming residents concerning whom they have not been forewarned and who have not grown up in an American community.” (15).

            Migrant workers necessitate an educational and cultural forces shall follow the man from place to place if we are to achieve nationalism through assimilation.

            Immigrants first contacts should not be with members of their self-interested country men and the exploiter. 

            “May we fairly conclude that the real matter with America is that as a nation it has not achieved within itself a permanent national consciousness.” (18)  She means that locals think of local benefit and not America.  “The Congressman still represents, not America, but his district.” (18). 

            America’s selfish preoccupation, its own growth and prosperity, have commercialized our national sensibility.  Our war-order prices show this.  Citizenship has come to be the cheapest of its privileges and the football of politics.” (19). 



            In answering “what is Americanism” she is fighting the sentiment that we can never hope for the compelling devotion which has animated Germany or France. (22). 

            “I believe the foundation stones of Americanism are exactly what they were 140 years ago, - liberty, opportunity, and obligation.  We have lost sight of the third.  The conception of liberty upon which this country was founded was a chastened and a disciplined conception.  It was chastened by a menace to rights as dear as lie itself.  It was disciplined by the immediate duty of defending these by life itself, if need be.  That chastened and disciplined conception of liberty is Americanism.  We have now the sacred tradition.  We have now the liberty.  We have now the opportunity.  Our task is to restore to it the austerity and the discipline of obligation.

            “A combination of rights and duties of obligations and privileges, is the determining idea in those first vehicles of Americanism, our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.”  (23)  But we have drifted away from the true balance between these fundamental rights and duties, a balance which is at once the delicate spring and the solid rock of our existence.  Prosperity, unusual freedom of choice in vocations, varying and broad opportunities to control the vast material resources of the country, have made us complacent about accepting the privileges of a democracy.”  (23-24). 

            Few Americans think that they have an obligation to place their time, their resources at the disposal of the nation. 

            Remember that in the DOI it not only has “We hold these truths . . “ but “And for support of this declaration, with a firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”

            People are afraid of the Southern European hordes.  But we are champions of liberty.   Our living up to the ideals of the DOI can best be measured by how well we treat our immigrants. 

            When the immigrant arrives, no one gives them a friendly greeting.   Rather they are turned loose to be met by exploiters interested in his money.  Then he meets folks that want to abuse his labor.  People want to “send his money home” and steal it and then politicians who don’t care about him. 

            She wonders how those studying at night to be citizens with their experiences under the peonage system of the South and other injustices, with the courts in which they have no interpreter, with prohibitions from working in certain trades and other discriminatory laws.  She asks when we will restore democracy as the framers intended it. Those who exploit are anti-Americans.  Those who emphasize liberty and not duty are anti-Americans.  “We are beginning to see that the native American is anti-American who perpetuates class consciousness and race hatred . . .” is indifferent to those living in slums (32).  Those who use workers and do not consider their value to America.  Politicians use immigrants but do nothing to make the immigrant a good citizen or even to se that he understand American political ideals. 

            “We point with pride to the immigrant who succeeds in spite of it, but I suspect that often we judge by his clothes and his house and his speech rather than his outlook upon life and his inlook upon himself.  We satisfy ourselves by comparing his lot here with what it was in his home country – often without real knowledge of either.”

“This country is full of so-called un-American types.  Some of them are native born and some are foreign born.  Immigrant men and women in this rank of lie or that, who have been in this country for years, have found themselves isolated from and ignored by Americans.  American customs and standards have therefore failed to alter them.  The result is the perpetuation of foreign types or the creation of distinct types which we refuse to accept as ours., but in the making of which we hae certainly had a controlling hand.”  (33-34).  There are foreign types, but we have had a hand in their making via neglect. 

            People break laws and exploit each other till America is just a battle ground.  Their view of America does not represent any moral point of view which they have evolved themselves. 

            Certain things are essential to elucidating and preserving America.  One is a common language, English.  Different languages prevent us from coming together in a common Americanism. 

            The second is a common citizenship.  We allow aliens to vote and undermine the value of citizenship.  We tell aliens they are not required to defend this country.  Schools do not make any provisions for teaching him about American conditions, life, and government.  This all makes him a skeptic of democracy. 

            We want Americans to have a stake in America.  We are short sided when we are indifferent to their sending 400 million dollars abroad a year.  This keeps folks poor here and dreaming of back home.  If they invested here then here would be better.

            She is against those who seek to substitute “the brotherhood of man” for all the loyalties and obligations and relationships of life.  The I.W.W. and uniting the Workers of the world is no good.  (40-41).  Great ideas, but when the immigrant goes back to his tenement, he needs a government to carry and control the conditions of their lives, to safeguard their rights,  to aid them to right their wrongs. 

            Because we have no zeal for American ideals we have failed Europe at a crucial time.  “Unless somehow and somewhere we can restor belief and zeal and faith in our destiny we face the disunion of this Republic into races and creeds, into sectionalism and localism, into class warfare between capital and labor, into selfish-individualism rather than nationalism.” (42). 




            She is not more worried about the alien with the family back home than of the American with no family at all.

            When we think of Americanizing we think first of the immigrant.  That is not where the greatest difficulty lies.  Rather I fear that we shall have to Americanize our native Americans first.  “We have, I think, to return to the civilian training camp and universal service as a melting pot for natives before we can make America a successful melting pot for aliens.” (44). 

            She decried racial epithets.  Native Americans carry their responsibility to the verge of reaction and antagonism.  (45).  “… the native American has a point of view, a state of mind, a prejudiced observance, a sense of superiority – which makes him greatly in need of Americanization.” (46).  Schools do not stress the seriousness of holidays.  She ties citizenship to civic participation and government participation. 

            Government and industry are the keys to the hope and future of America and native Americans control both.  (47).  Americanization is not just the job of educators and private citizens.  We say that the immigrant lowers our standard of living, “In the final analysis it is America that lowers the immigrant’s standard of living.” (49).  We let them rot in squalor that we would not accept for ourselves.  Even when they are 50% of the population they do not control the means of power.  Native Americans do. 

            “We shall never solve the immigration problem so long as we begin with the immigrant’s shortcomings, nor shall we attain Americanism so long as we define it as Nativism.  We need not fear that we are not as much in control as we ever were.  We set the standards.  The question is whether we have cause to be satisfied with the way in which we do it.  The ideals and standards of America are set by the American born to-day just as they were in our early history. In all communities which I have studied the American-born residents or employers are the determining factor.” (50-51). 

            She puts down Mr. Ross who in the “Old World in the New.” Says that the immigrants (10,000 in 26,000 in this town) are full of vice, intemperance and bad housing.  The majority wins in a democracy and is free to set the standards it wants.  We neglect them as long as they do not impinge upon our neighborhoods. 

She decries miss Repplier’s argument that the immigrant hordes are destroying the best traditions of opportunity sealed in 1776.  Immigrants do not prefer dirt and dangerous conditions, Says FK, make a friendly visit and help.  Bosses who set up big businesses put up terrible homes for their workers.  The rich then despise the homes the immigrants live in, but it is what is set up for our American workers (not immigrants, she says, they are American workers). 

Decent pay is important for decent citizens, but education is also needed (56).  People are housed 5 – 15 per room without privacy.  The owners of the factories would rather have high turnover than build housing.  One American controls the fate of 8000 immigrants and fails to provide.  The worst part is that the immigrant gets used to this treatment.  He believes that this crass exploitation is what America is about.  This is because the boss only thinks of them as “cogs in his machine and rarely as future citizens of America.” (58). 

“The trouble is the native American does not regard the immigrant as anything but a workman – and so long as he ignores America’s interest in that man as a citizen, as a defender of America, as a voter, as a future taxpayer, he is anti-American.  To these men, preaching patriotism and freedom in America must seem the height of insincerity when contemplated from overcrowded rooms under a leaky roof.  Last Fourth of July the National Americanization Committee instituted “Americanization Day” when native-born citizens tendered receptions to foreign-born citizens.  When foreign-born men wrote saying that although they had been here many years it was the first time they had shaken hands with an American, ti demonstrated how wide is the gulf of our prejudice and its consequent neglect.  The pay envelope has made a poor melting pot, and America is to-day paying the cost of an experiment that has failed.  Whenever we have established lines that make our native Americans inaccessible to our foreign-born residents, there we have established the unknown quantity in fixing the responsibility for the immigrant standard of living, without which knowledge the truth can never be ascertained.” (59-60). 

“Another native-American illusion is that the immigrant will not appreciate our efforts.  Since when has America based its principles of action upon the flimsy desire for appreciation?” (61). 

A third illusion is that native Americans think of the immigrant getting stuff from America without looking at his contributions. 

The immigrants come here with “racial powers” Some come with “vision trained for centuries in beautry of line and color, with the skilled hands of races that have been shaping arch or temple or cathedral for thousands of years.”  “Does America give immigrants the chance to use them?  Does America even know they exist?” (64-65). 

She attacks Horace Kallen as saying “Only men who are alike in origin and spirit and not abstractly  can be truly equal.” And says miss Replier, rightly, “We have no mutual understanding, no common denominator.” 

We have not. The first Americans whose opportunity and responsibility was to produce mutual understanding and a common denominator have failed.  Repplier says that a Jew cannot become an Englishman.

“True, but what is an American?  Is he an Anglo-Saxon racial type, and if so, by what law?  Do we desire him to be this?

“I do not despise the conclusion of ethnologists, but they seem to have so few conclusions and so many theories.  And the root of them seems to be, not experience, but apprehension.  Meanwhile, I see all around me valiant Americans, Southern European by birth and tradition, Americans now in spirit and loyalty and tendency.  These men and women have mastered the opportunity – for they had to seek and improve it themselves – to become assimilated.  In spite of the thousands of their country men among us, still un-American, I am convinced of two things: That America can control its own destiny, that one of the greatest obstacles has been slothful neglect, another obstacle, Nativism; and that the way to attain control of our destiny is by aggressive, not passive Americanism.  When this is under way, it will be easy enough to sort out and deal separately and finally with undesirable races and types or those that have no desire to become Americans.” (66-67).

“Surely we cannot expect the immigrant to distribute himself wisely, to protect himself adequately, to educate himself intelligently, to become a willing citizen without the full cooperation of the native American.: (68). 

We think of our attitude towards the immigrant, but not the immigrant’s attitude towards us.  Immigrants may make up 2/3rds of a town and the institutions still only cater to the needs of the original inhabitants. 

“When will America learn that teaching immigrants English and requiring them to learn it is a fundamental necessity, a condition of national vitality?” (73).   We have a lot of schools but not nearly enough and of high enough quality. Many towns have many immigrants and no education for them.

We call the immigrant a criminal.  We set up the courts for us and leave it at that with no interpreters.  We are unsympathetic.  An immigrant arrives and gets whatever work he can.  No governmental agency takes the trouble to tell him, what restrictions there are on an occupation, what licenses are required and which jobs are only open to citizens.  He does not know about garbage disposal laws.  He may not know that he is obliged to send his child to school.  Breaking these laws he is easily tried and convicted because he has a bad interpreter, or no interpreter, and no knowledge of our legal system.  “His respect for American law and American justice does not outlive many experiences of this kind, and another door to Americanism is closed.” (78). 

Our newspapers are nativistic.  They are helpful to those who are assimilated, but not to anyone else.  “It seems to be assumed that the readers know the form of history, the value, and the significance of American institutions and need only to have them attended to or referred to , the more casually the better.  Some of our most significant journals take apparent pride in being cryptic.  They ignore the presence in this country of millions who need to be informed, who ardently desire information, about our history and our institutions, and who do not know where they can obtain it from an English-speaking source.” (78-79).

9 million folks read foreign language newspapers.  They may do so out of necessity while they transition to English or never intend to learn it at all.  They could help us Americanize but we treat them all indifferently unless one is seen to be disloyal.  These papers get little help from us.   It runs for many reasons, “but it is run very little for the foreign-born citizen or alien who against odds is trying to accomplish his own assimilation.  Yet this is exactly the task in which the newspaper that considered his interests and needs could help him most.” (80). 

Libraries could provide books about America in the immigrant’s own language or in English.  When we do this, the results are enthusiastically received.  (81). 

But native Americans are shortsightedly against providing works in foreign language and consider it better that the immigrant reads nothing at all while they transition to English.

She has been harping on the responsibility of the native born as a corrective.

“This fixing of initial responsibility does not mean that the immigrant has no responsibility.  Far from it.  He must be ready to stay in America, to become a citizen, to adopt American standards, to obey our laws, to meet his obligations, to do his duty, to assume his responsibilities for, as well as to exercise, his rights.  But he must know what these are.  He must realize that the native American knows what they are and will set him a good example.  He must be told that he is expected to meet the requirements or America does not want him and will not keep him.  Our admission and exclusion laws serve no such notice on him.  The literacy test is a plain evasion of the native American’s responsibility and a lazy way of thinking out the problem.  We native Americans in business or in office have never addressed ourselves seriously to the task of making Americans or nationalizing America.  When we do we shall have as strong a nation as we have bridges and railways and banks. 

“Is it possible that we have been admitting too many people of too wide a variety for the native American to Americanize.  It is certainly true that we should hesitate to admit many others until we have demonstrated our ability to provide an assimilation policy for the nation.  We cannot forever depend on the missionary for the Americanization of aliens.  Shall we close the doors as the only way to preserve Americanization?  Will this be a confession of our utter failure to deal in a statesmanlike way with either the international or national situation which confronts us?

“It seems to me that our real enemy is not aggressive foreignism, but a passive, complacent Americanism or Nativism.  What we need to fear is not that we shall be invaded by civilizations and ideals we cannot assimilate, but that we shall fail to develop and perpetuate and extend to all Americans the civilization and ideals we firmly believe to be American.” (84-86). 

We should do everything we can to help the immigrant.  “If under these conditions he prefers his home language to ours, pays his allegiance to a country other than America, sends his savings home to be invested, persists in a second-rate standard of living, asserts his rights but refuses to meet his duties, reads foreign language press instead of American, joins the racial society instead of the city club, - then we shall know the fault is not the native American’s, and we can put up the bars with a clear conscience and with courage in our hearts.” (87-88). 

“Americanism faces the future and is courageous.  Nativism faces the past and is apprehensive.” (88).  It is not too late for the American to face about from his Nativism, from his contentment with considering only the needs and interests of the native born, and to consider the needs of America as a whole.” (89).  Let him but recognize once for all that the foreigner’s needs are the same as his needs, that everyone wants a decent home and a place to sit in.” (89). “Nativism is no substitute for Americanism.” (90).



            Every state has a different standard by which people can become citizens and vote.  And overall we have no standard definition of citizenship.  Were it not for war preparedness “we would still believe that the granting of papers to foreign-born men sealed their loyalty to America.  We hardly yet realize the significance of the fact that no specific way of pledging allegiance is required from the men or women who come of age; even the child born here of foreign parents is not asked to make a choice between the two possible allegiances that may be dear to him.” (93, 94).  Many become citizens for economic reasons or at the behest of a politician.  “How and when did citizenship become so cheap and begin to serve the commercial and not patriotic needs of America?” (95).

            “The naturalization law provides that an alien before becoming a citizen shall have a continuous residence of five years in America, shall  comply with certain rules, shall have a knowledge of the English language and of the constitution, and shall renounce all allegiance to foreign governments.” (96) This is a long and complicated process.  He must also file a declaration of intention at least two years prior to granting his final papers.  And there is more hassle creating paperwork.  This Federal process was started in 1906 on the theory that citizenship was not a state matter. 

            For 9 years the federal government has applied the letter of this law, but not the spirit of it.  We have done nothing to help the immigrant pass his naturalization tests.  NY and CA only created education programs to this end and only Cleveland and LA connected the public schools to the courts and had the school give credit for the naturalization process to the judge.  (101).

            In 1914, the Bureau of Education started the division of immigrant education which began a nation wide campaign of education through the public schools. 

            A big problem was politicians putting people through the courts without English or civics to get their votes. 

            She feels that it will take laws requiring English attainment to get immigrants into the school.  Some night schools are empty.  Why?  “The foreign governments and the bulk of the foreign-language newspapers are against immigrants learning the English language.”  (102-3)  Employers also fear that it will empower employees. 

            In Detroit some far sighted business men have pushed the legislature to increase education spending.  They realize that a steady workforce is good.  The Packard company has made advancement contingent upon getting citizenship. 

            Citizenhship cannot be a paper propaganda -  It must bear a vital relation to the work, play, and living conditions of each citizen and take him not only to the school but to the military training camp; not only to the job but to the polls.  Not only to better conditions in America but to unswerving loyalty to America.” (104). 

            In California only citizens may be employed in any department of the state, county, city, or town.  This law was designed to avoid payment to several Canadian public school teachers.  The law was amended to allow aliens who declared their intent to be citizens.  In most states unskilled labor for the government is forbidden to non-citizens.  Subcontractors are used and the alien learns to break the law.  This should be national.  We need to keep aliens from our waterways and water supply and other public works of importance in defense. 

            “It is sound policy that the instruction in our public schools should be by American citizens with an American point of view and loyalty.” (107). But papers cannot insure this.

            Local temporizing with national honor and fair play has led to too much discrimination.   In some states the alien cannot be an attorney; in other it is open to declarants.  In some he can’t be a printer, in some he can.  In twenty-nine states resident aliens are given the same property rights as citizens; in two other states the same rights are given to white aliens.   In others, no aliens can own land.  In California if it falls via death to an alien who cannot own property, the state sells it. 

            The laws concerning selling to aliens can only be sound if they are uniform in all states.  Dispersing aliens can be effectuated by allowing ownership some places and giving rural credits.  Some insurance companies don’t pay the full amount to alien beneficiaries.  In NY getting the benefits is contingent upon getting citizenship.  If two men contribute equally to the state, only one may get funds to keep him from starving, via work.  That isn’t fair.  In some states aliens can’t have guns.  “One cannot read the hundreds of discriminating laws without a sense of the utter prostitution of American citizenship to prejudice, race hatred, greed, cupidity, and to the selfishness of groups and individuals.” (113-114)

            Companies that will only promote citizens are moved by patriotism and the need for a stable work force and reduced accidents by having English speaking encouraged. 

            Packard Motor Company noted that the workers are divided over the war and it causes friction among the men.  Men of one nationality object to working under men of another.  So the bosses must be Americans.  Whatever they be when they come in.  Having American loyalty and patriotism will make the worker more efficient and happier without old country feuds. 

            We do not want to put citizenship on a commercial basis though.  We should tell all immigrants over school age but under 45 that they have 5 years to learn English or be deported.  But only if facilities for learning English are provided. 

            There are two theories of citizenship.  Ours is Jus Soli or the law of the land.  This makes the person a citizen where he is born.  The second is jus sanguinis, this is citizenship depending on where your parents were born.  This is in Europe. Our laws are as they should be.  “And yet we find it convenient and right to use the opposed law of nationality, the law of blood, in such a case as a child born in China of American parents.” (119). Countries disagree.  We can leave it up to the child when they turn 21 to choose a country.  A person born here went to Italy.  There he was an Italian citizen because of his parents.  A Frenchman of military age cannot throw off his citizenship.  Greeks and Russians too.  If here and not doing military duty in Russia it is illegal.  Congress cannot make treaties that hold because every state is doing something different for different aspects of privileges.  We need to know more of our capability of Americanizing and the attitudes of naturalized citizens and then we can work out a sensible immigration policy. 




            We need to know if the foreign vote will be cast in racial interest.  Will the 1500 foreign-language newspapers influence the foreign towards national goals or racial interest? 

            There will be three levels of preparedness voted upon.  There will be a sincere one including international duty (progressives and republicans), there will be a middle of the road preparedness (democrats) there will be a third part of pacifists (anti-preparedness with a socialist and labor following).  All will bombard with advertising galore.  In addition to information, however, will be ties to the fatherlands of many.  They have family in the old country.

            One way we can ameliorate this is to have business war profiteering by native Americans stop.  What are schools doing and how have they taught about America and its government, institutions, and opportunities?  Will it teach him of the value of the vote?  Girls, for no reason, will be denied the vote in most states. 

            There is no ceremony when the boy casts his first vote, as there should be.  No one makes him welcome as a citizen of the country.  Voting becomes an obnoxious duty that  interferes with his week.  Some schools teach about the world situation, but most have to get their information from newspapers and their fellows.  The vote requires a lot of knowledge.  It is difficult to obtain an impartial and scientific statement on any political controversy.  All is special pleading.  We need training on how to vote. 

            The acquiring of citizenship by aliens should be connected with the vote, not jobs.  The immigrant often sees his vote as something he can sell or is necessary to keep his job.  This is set up by native Americans.  The Padrone gets the contract to make worker housing, he then is supposed to deliver the votes.  The politician then stokes the business.  (136).

            The alien vote can only be controlled by is by controlling preparations for citizenship.  Locals don’t care, no schooling is set up.  You need a lot of assimilation to vote on the issues impartially.  The average voter is too heavily localized.  We need to Americanize the American voter nearly as bad as we need to do so for the foreign voter.  But the foreign voter needs to live a real American life to be fit for the vote. 

            This is why naturalized folk must have good morals, speak English and be attached to the constitution.  To this end the schools have been revising their civics education for aliens.  She wants to see the political forum become a recognized part of American life.  The parties should do political education on national issues.   This should not just be fliers and speeches and such emotional appeals but real education, real debate at a local level sponsored by the parties. (142).  Studies facts and opinions must be disseminated. 

            The natives are voting for socialists at just as great a rate as foreigners.  The talk of foreigners voting radical is incorrect.   When the new immigrants are allowed to vote immediately upon getting their papers, fraud and graft are the result.  In some states you can be there for only 6 months, with an intent to be a citizen coming after three, and you can vote Without knowing any English, anything about the Constitution or the name of the political parties.  These people are citizens of the state, but not of the nation. 

            So long as we have citizens of states that vote who are not citizens of the nation, we have a disrupting force in our national political organization.  In the Constitution citizenship is defined as national. 

            A woman, no matter what her qualifications, becomes a citizen when her husband or father naturalizes.  In 11 states she can vote.  It is too bad that so much civic force is lost to the community. 

            Immigrants get information from their ward boss and foreign-language newspapers.  The circulation of these papers is 9,000,000!  Some are about American affairs, but some editors only look at things from a German or Italian point of view. 

            Via education, “we shall secure Americanism in politics, without which we can have no genuine preparedness.” (152)


CHAPTER SIX – NATIONAL UNITY …………………….. Page 153

            “The decision is called upon to make to-day is whether America shall emerge from this world-wide struggle as a nation of many peoples or whether it will imperil its very existence by remaining half native, half alien; half free and half slave to foreign influences.” (153). 

            “Preparedness means something more than a larger army and navy.  It means also having a united America back of that army and navy.” (154).

            We leave our transportation lines to be manned by immigrants to which we have not shown how to love America and who still have dual allegiance. 

            “Shall we have citizens’ training camps and train to higher efficiency only those already filled with patriotism, or shall we in these same camps bring new and old citizens together and bring up the ranks in discipline and efficiency for a better America?

“Can we become a really strong nation if Americanization is for native-born men and women only, while we do nothing for the millions of foreign-born men and women who constitute our reserve strength?” (154-155)

“We cannot Americanize by legislation or proclamation, but only by the patriotic action of each and every resident in America disciplined for national service.” (156)

Our defense bills are marred in that they assume that all that is needed for defense is weapons.  Preparedness is not weapons alone.  National preparedness must include “military preparedness, industrial mobilization, universal service, Americanization, and international duty.”  (157) 

Our national preparedness measures have been haggling reports and bills that favor a congressperson’s district here and there and disgraceful and pathetic.  Had we done a national program based on information from many sectors we could have avoided this mess and would be coordinated.  we would have an aviation corps and training schools worthy of the name – and Villa would not have raided Texas.” (162). 

We still have no comprehensive plan or action going.  Remedy this.

In addition “The country needs to keep every able-bodied man in America by making him an efficient, loyal citizen and by giving him, not a job, but a stake in the industry and a home stake in the country.” (164).

The railroads and the War department need an understanding and agreements. 

The weakest part of preparedness is that of the labor supply. (170).  This weakness is partially shown by an interview of 2 million foreign-born persons on steamships.  The questions being put to them concerned what the immigrants guessed migration patterns would be like after the war.  They are worried that people will go back to look for loved ones.  They have been having conferences with industrial leaders concerning keeping immigrants in America and stabilizing the labor market.  But this discussion should also include military preparedness. 

Volunteer service camps are being filled with cooperative employers that are willing to give people vacation, with pay, during the training period.

“No military system can operate successfully without understanding effort on the part of production and transportation of men.  The pursuit of Villa showed the absence of this, and to date it seems to be largely a moral victory.” (173)
            For preparedness we must realize that the job of the industrialist does not stop when his workers leave the plant.  Workers must have, “the right kind of recreation and getting a home stake in the country to defend is important.  There are minimum standards in separation of the sexes, family privacy, sanitation, and cleanliness which no American workmen can fall below and be a loyal citizen fit for defense.  It is part of the mobilization of industry to see that conditions do not prevail which give American defense men unable or unwilling to defend it.” (174)

There can be no preparedness without the nationalization of industry.  We must inventory all.  The labor market must be allocated accordingly.  This is not a matter of legislation, “it is a duty and obligation of each responsible person in industry – all working together on a national cooperative basis instead of a on a local, sectional, competitive basis.  It means a new spirit abroad in business – patriotic nationalism.” (175).

We now see military training only as a war time quick thing.  The up and running training camps have taught us two things: individual proficiency, and a national spirit and point of view. 

“The American factory and the American city have failed as a melting pot. – The dog tent may succeed.  It may become the best school of practical civics there is – a place where all Americans can meet together for the common good of America.

‘It may restore the balance to our triumvirate of the Declaration of Independence – Liberty, opportunity, and obligation.  We have demanded and used the first two – we have neglected the third.” (176). 

“It could not bestow any greater favor upon its young men than to give all of them the benefits of military methods of drilling and education.  It would “set them up” physically; they would acquire a knowledge of hygiene, sanitation, prevention of disease, etc., and they would also learn, to their great advantage, obedience, promptness, precision, regularity of habits, abstinence, economy, avoidance of waste, and respect for authority, all of which would make them more competent in their daily tasks – whatever they may be.” (177).

“Many of our young men, in their desire to remain “independent.” Are inefficient, unreliable, and irresponsible.” (177).

“Inevitably all of this leads to slovenly work; to indifferent to citizenship; to play in which entertainment, not participation, is the rule; and to a shifting responsibility in all walks of life.  In the supplementing of individual by social ideals; in the transition from individual to social conscience; in the great change from personal to social control of many individual affairs, we have somehow lost the finer traits of character and those ancient Christian virtues which make for strong nations as well as for strong men.”

“I believe the training camp is unparalleled in its power to develop social consciousness and social control, and to show men the means by which they can work together for a common end.  America needs sportsmanship in the best sense of the word, and the training camp can give it.  America needs the abolition of its foolish class lines, now drawn in industry and in society; emphasized among races and by creeds, and nowhere worse than in the army itself.  There is no place it in the training camp.  American industry has failed to Americanize the foreign-born citizens through its pay envelope; the training camp may succeed through the dog tent.” (178-179).





            Many want to serve that cannot go into the dog tents. 

            As a whole the civilian defense movement is confused and incoherent, not nationally coordinated, having no national guidance or even suggestions.  The “preparedness organizations in combination could work out the mobilization of civilian resources and activities throughout the country.  In some way all of these efforts should be brought into relation with each other under control and direction and discipline.  They should be associated with the training camps and recognized as volunteer corps and be given thee standing necessary to perfect their organization and administer their control.  We have passed the stage of propaganda; we now need organization and administration of volunteer efforts if we are not to waste the precious patriotism and enthusiasm for Americanism throughout the country.” (182).  the American religion of individualism in arrogant array against a critical national need.” (183).  Americans must rediscover their sense of duty.  With the immigrant it is different.  “. . . here we need to assume a constructive and painstaking task – that of interpreting the principles of Americanism and the obligation as well as the privileges of American citizenship to the men we invite to come here to do American work, and permit to be a large percentage of the population of many American industrial towns.” (184). 

            “Immigration is a great force in American life.  It is not, as has often been hitherto been regarded, a labor subject or a health subject.  It is primarily a citizen subject, to be administered along the broad lines of nationalism and the future best interests of all America.  It is properly an interior subject, and all of our dealings with it should proceed from a consideration of conditions in America.  We admit or reject people because of the effect on America; we distribute them to avoid congestion, misery, and bad conditions in cities and to develop America; we educate them for citizenship in America; we protect them, looking again toward a better citizen.”  (184). 

            “What does Americanization mean in national defense? 

            It means putting the American flag above all others, abolishing dual citizenship, and pledging open allegiance to America.

            It means American citizenship for every alien within our borders, or deportation and closing our doors to political scouts and birds of passage.  We can no longer endure as a “polyglot boarding house.”  Citizenship will give us an intelligent body of voters, for it will mark the end of the “voting the hunkies” by ward bosses.  This desecration of American citizenship cannot exist on the part of the public schools of the country to instruct the foreign born, adults as well as children, in the real meaning of citizenship.  It means, finally, economic stability.”  (185-186)

            It means one language for all and the elimination of illiteracy.  Confusion of tongues and ignorance of American institutions and opportunities are foes of efficient preparedness.  This means the end of “Little Italys,” “Little Hungaries,” and the end of flilthy, remote foreign villages on the outskirts of our towns and cities, inhabited by foreign-speaking men and women with no way of learning American standards of living and American customs, and with no way to protest against standards of living which in many cases they do not “lower” at all, but which they accept only because they are too ignorant to protest when the conditions are forced upon them.”  (186-187). 

            It means the abolition of class prejudices and of racial hatreds and of the intolerance of the old stock for new stock which stand in the way of United America.” (187),

            It means the American standard of living.” (188),  People that are unable to speak English and are not Americanized are ghettoized and subject to foreign radicals speaking their own language. 

            It means the Americanization of women.  Now women automatically become citizens with their fathers and husbands, although in some states they vote.”  “We must reach foreign-born women in their homes, and we must go to them.  They are now isolated forgotten, ignored and constituted the greatest single backward factor in the progress of citizenship among women.”  (189). 

            “The figures for 1910 tell us that America has about thirty-three million foreign-born people and persons of foreign-born parentage.  One third have, therefore, in our immediate environment foreign traditions and standards.  The problem is to keep the best of these and make them serve America.” (189).