The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America
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As the 2000 census resoundingly demonstrated, the Anglo-Protestant ethnic core of the United States has all but dissolved. In a country founded and settled by their ancestors, British Protestants now make up less than a fifth of the population. This demographic shift has spawned a "culture war" within white America. While liberals seek to diversify society toward a cosmopolitan endpoint, some conservatives strive to maintain an American ethno-national identity. Eric Kaufmann traces the roots of this culture war from the rise of WASP America after the Revolution to its fall in the 1960s, when social institutions finally began to reflect the nation's ethnic composition.
Kaufmann begins his account shortly after independence, when white Protestants with an Anglo-Saxon myth of descent established themselves as the dominant American ethnic group. But from the late 1890s to the 1930s, liberal and cosmopolitan ideological currents within white Anglo-Saxon Protestant America mounted a powerful challenge to WASP hegemony. This struggle against ethnic dominance was mounted not by subaltern immigrant groups but by Anglo-Saxon reformers, notably Jane Addams and John Dewey. It gathered social force by the 1920s, struggling against WASP dominance and achieving institutional breakthrough in the late 1960s, when America truly began to integrate ethnic minorities into mainstream culture.
inaugurate the study of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Virginia in the early nineteenth century, to Henry Adams, who instituted a program in Anglo-Saxon studies at Harvard in the 1870s, and finally to Adams's student, Henry Cabot Lodge, who helped defend the Anglo-Saxon character of America on the floor of the U.S. Senate and led the movement toward ethnic quotas in U.S. immigration policy. At the mass level, although no polls were conducted on the subject until 1937, editorial opinion suggests
academy combined a belief that the United States was an Anglo-Saxon country which ought to defend its ethnic boundaries with the universalist idea of the United States as a refuge for the world's oppressed and a composite melting pot (Saveth 1948: 1314). Theodore Roosevelt exemplified these contradictions, stressing the importance of preserving the dominance of the "native stock" while enthusiastically embracing non-WASP immigrants and even nonwhites (Gerstle 2001: 47-65). To reiterate, it is
Convention held in Boston in 1904 and it is always a pleasure to recall the hearty assent given to it by Professor William James. (Addams 1910: 307) Addams's background helps to explain her attitudes. The daughter of the richest man in the Illinois town of Cedarville, Addams was brought up in a liberal Qual(er household in which secular learning was encouraged. Like Vida Scudder and Ellen Gates Starr, two other cosmopolitanminded Settlement pioneers, Addams traveled to Europe and attended a
Progressives wielded limited influence within the movement, they represented a solid humanitarian opposition to the prevailing consensus. As Lissak observes, The crucial issue ... when examining the Liberal Progressives' views in relation to the Americanization movement is what role they expected the Anglo-American strain to play in the harmonious orchestra of America. Liberal Progressives clearly rejected Anglo-Saxon racism and chauvinism, prejudice and ethnic discrimination; they criticized the
Publications and through Reeves Lewenthal's Associated American Artists' lithographs (Doss 1991: 156-162, 170-175). As Charles Alexander writes, More than in any other area of American culture, nationalistic attitudes dominated American visual art in the thirties.... The thirties was probably the last decade in which a majority of America's painters and sculptors struggled to communicate with a broad, unsophisticated public. More than at any time since the Armory Show [of 1913], Americans painted