Catalogue


Americanizing the West : race, immigrants, and citizenship, 1890-1930 /
Frank Van Nuys.
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2002.
description
xv, 294 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0700612068 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2002.
isbn
0700612068 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4736219
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-273) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Spur Awards, USA, 2003 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-05-01:
Americans have long struggled with the "other" in their midst. Drawing on extensive research, Van Nuys explores this theme as he superbly narrates and analyzes the assimilation of immigrants during the early 20th century. Although the author focuses his study on the West and emphasizes how some of its unique characteristics influenced particular developments, his work nonetheless provides keen insight into national efforts to resolve what contemporaries colloquially called the "immigration problem," and his choice of venue allows him to discuss reactions to Asians and Mexicans as well as Europeans. As Van Nuys correctly concludes, the story of immigrant interaction with "white society" was complex and complicated, including a host of often-contradictory components. An epilogue notes that many of the same issues that bedeviled westerners 100 years ago have once again become the topics of emotionally charged debate. The work joins Matthew Frye Jacobson's Whiteness of a Different Color (1998) as one of the finest recent studies of the US historical response to immigration. A valuable addition to the overall understanding of US ethnic history. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All academic and general readers. R. F. Zeidel University of Wisconsin--Stout
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2003
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Summaries
Main Description
The arrival of immigrants on America's shores has always posed a singular problem: once they are here, how are these diverse peoples to be transformed into Americans? The Americanization movement of the 1910s and 1920s addressed this challenge by seeking to train immigrants for citizenship, representing a key element of the Progressives' "search for order" in a modernizing America. Frank Van Nuys examines for the first time how this movement, in an effort to help integrate an unruly West into the emerging national system, was forced to reconcile the myth of rugged individualism with the demands of a planned society. In an era convulsed by world war and socialist revolution, the Americanization movement was especially concerned about the susceptibility of immigrants to un-American propaganda and union agitation. As Van Nuys convincingly demonstrates, this applied as much to immigrants in the urbanizing and industrializing West as it did to those occupying the ethnic enclaves of cities in the East. In Americanizing the West he tells how hundreds of bureaucrats, educators, employers, and reformers participated in this movement by developing adult immigrant education programs-and how these attempts contributed more toward bureaucratizing the West than it did to turning immigrants into productive citizens. He deftly ties this history to broader national developments and shows how Westerners brought distinctive approaches to Americanization to accommodate and preserve their own sense of history and identity. Van Nuys shows that, although racism and social control agendas permeated Americanization efforts in the West, Americanizers sustained their faith in education as a powerful force in transforming immigrants into productive citizens. He also shows how some westerners-especially in California-believed they faced a "racial frontier" unlike other parts of the country in light of the influx of Hispanics and Asians, so that westerners became major players in the crafting of not only American identity but also immigration policies. The mystique of the white pioneer past still maintains a powerful hold on ideas of American identity, and we still deal with many of these issues through laws and propositions targeting immigrants and alien workers. Americanizing the West makes a clear case for regional distinctiveness in this citizenship program and puts current headlines in perspective by showing how it helped make the West what it is today.
Unpaid Annotation
The arrival of immigrants on America's shores has always posed a singular problem: once they are here, how are these diverse peoples to be transformed into Americans? The Americanization movement of the 1910s and 1920s addressed this challenge by seeking to train immigrants for citizenship, representing a key element of the Progressives' "search for order" in a modernizing America. Frank Van Nuys examines for the first time how this movement, in an effort to help integrate an unruly West into the emerging national system, was forced to reconcile the myth of rugged individualism with the demands of a planned society.In an era convulsed by world war and socialist revolution, the Americanization movement was especially concerned about the susceptibility of immigrants to un-American propaganda and union agitation. As Van Nuys convincingly demonstrates, this applied as much to immigrants in the urbanizing and industrializing West as it did to those occupying the ethnic enclaves of cities in the East.In Americanizing the West he tells how hundreds of bureaucrats, educators, employers, and reformers participated in this movement by developing adult immigrant education programs -- and how these attempts contributed more toward bureaucratizing the West than it did to turning immigrants into productive citizens. He deftly ties this history to broader national developments and shows how Westerners brought distinctive approaches to Americanization to accommodate and preserve their own sense of history and identity.Van Nuys shows that, although racism and social control agendas permeated Americanization efforts in the West, Americanizers sustained their faith in education as a powerfulforce in transforming immigrants into productive citizens. He also shows how some westerners -- especially in California -- believed they faced a "racial frontier" unlike other parts of the country in light of the influx of Hisp
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
"The Stuff from Which Citizens Are Made"p. 9
Progressives, Americanization, and Warp. 33
"Sane Information on Capital and Labor"p. 70
"Education for Citizenship"p. 111
"Our Government Thinks We Can"p. 148
"Our Own House Needs Readjustment"p. 172
Epiloguep. 196
Notesp. 203
Selected Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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