The Melting Pot





America has been called the "crucible" or the "melting pot" of nations,

because many peoples of many races and many countries come together

here, and in the heat of life and struggle are molded into Americans.

President Wilson said, in a speech at Cincinnati in 1916, "America is

not made out of a single stock. Here we have a great melting pot."



As soon as we entered the war against Germany, the question arose in

the minds of most people as to how the large number of Germans in the

United States would act. Germany had taught them that even though they

became naturalized and took the oath of allegiance as American

citizens, such action was not binding, but was like "a scrap of paper"

to be destroyed and forgotten whenever necessity demanded, and that

"once a German" meant "always a German." It seems now that Germany

actually expected the Germans, who had left their native land to seek

opportunity, freedom, and citizenship under the Stars and Stripes, to

fight against their new and adopted home; but events have proved that

most German-Americans have higher ideals of right. A leading

German-American has written a book entitled "Right before Peace"; its

title carries the thought that has guided most of his fellow-countrymen

and their children in the United States during the World War.



A few months after the United States had declared that a state of war

existed with Germany, many leading men of this country of foreign birth

and parentage, signed, with others, a declaration drawn up by Theodore

Roosevelt. This declaration, somewhat abbreviated but not altered in

thought, is as follows. It makes very clear what America should mean to

her adopted children.



We Americans are the children of the crucible. We have boasted

that out of the crucible, the melting pot of life, in this free

land, all the men and all the women who have come here from all

the nations come forth as Americans, and as nothing else, like

all other Americans, equal to them, and holding no allegiance to

any other land or nation. We hold it then to be our duty, as it

is of every American, always to stand together for the honor and

interest of America, even if such a stand brings us into

conflict with our fatherland. If an American does not so act, he

is false to the teachings and the lives of Washington and

Lincoln; he has no right in our country, and he should be sent

out of it; for he has shown that the crucible has failed to do

its work. The crucible must melt all who are cast into it, and

it must turn them out in one American mold, the mold shaped one

hundred and forty years ago by the men who, under Washington,

founded this as a free nation, separate from all others. Even at

that time, these true Americans were of different races; Paul

Revere and Charles Carroll, Marion, Herkimer, Sullivan,

Schuyler, and Muhlenberg were equals in service and respect

with Lighthorse Harry Lee and Israel Putnam. Most of them,

however, were of English blood, but they did not hesitate to

fight Great Britain when she was in the wrong. They stood for

liberty and for the eternal rule of right and justice, and they

stood as Americans and as nothing else.



So must all Americans of whatever race act to-day; otherwise

they are traitors to America. This applies, especially to-day,

to all Americans of German blood who, in any manner, support

Germany against the United States and her Allies.



Many pacifists have during the last three years proved

themselves the evil enemies of their country. They now seek an

inconclusive peace. In so doing they show themselves to be the

spiritual heirs of the Tories, who, in the name of peace,

opposed Washington, and of the Copperheads, who, in the name of

peace, opposed Lincoln. We look upon them as traitors to the

Republic and to the great cause of justice and humanity. This

war is a war for the vital interests of America. When we fight

for America abroad, we save our children from fighting for

America at home beside their own ruined hearthstones. To accept

any peace, except one based on the complete overthrow of Germany

as she is under the ideals of Prussia and the Hohenzollerns, we

believe would be an act of baseness and cowardice, and a

betrayal of this country and of mankind.



The test of an American to-day is service against Germany. We

should put forth as speedily as possible every particle of our

vast, lazy strength to win the triumph over Germany. The

government should at once deal with the greatest severity with

traitors at home.



We must have but one flag. We must also have but one language.

This must be the language of the Declaration of Independence, of

Washington's Farewell Address, and of Lincoln's Gettysburg

Speech.



Of us who sign, some are Protestants, some are Catholics, some

are Jews. Most of us were born in this country of parents born

in various countries of the Old World--in Germany, France,

England, Ireland, Italy, the Slavonic and the Scandinavian

lands; some of us were born abroad; some of us are of

Revolutionary stock. All of us are Americans, and nothing but

Americans.





THE AMERICAN'S CREED[8]



I believe in the United States of America as a government of the

people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived

from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a

sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and

inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality,

justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their

lives and fortunes.



I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support

its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend

it against all enemies.



FOOTNOTES:



[8] COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY E.J. WYATT, BALTIMORE.





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