Our national founding documents talk about all men being created “equal,” and many see the history of the country as a gradual expansion of “all men” to include black men—14th Amendment, 1868; women—19th Amendment, 1920; and, in 1924, when they were finally given citizenship in the country that had swallowed up their native lands, Indians. Read The Article
In junior high in the 1950s we read secreted copies of Battle Cry on the bus—there were four-letter words—and watched movies of war heroics. I remember real war hero Audie Murphy in “To Hell and Back,” actors William Holden and Alec Guinness in “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” I watched my first war movie, “God is My Co-Pilot,” with my dad. It was in black and white, and flying “the hump” from India over the Himalaya to China and the Flying Tigers was what my Uncle Sid did during the war. Read The Article
|American Progress, by John Gast 1872|
Manifest Destiny was an idea long before it had a name, and what it was really about was not the “white man’s burden,” but an Anglo-American one, the idea that the arrow of civilization and mantle of world leadership had passed from the British Empire to the emerging Anglo-American Empire. The accession of Mexican lands and the Philippines, adventures in Central America, and most importantly for our own national history, the Westward Expansion that displaced Indians and seized tribal lands across the continent, were all part of a grand idea that Anglo-American civilization was destined to lead the entire world.
From the founding of the United States forward, Anglo-Americans were in political control: immigrants from other European places grouped themselves in Eastern city neighborhoods and on Midwestern farms—Greeks, Irish, Scandinavians, Bohemians, Slavs and Jews from Central Europe and more. German immigrants—the largest share of all immigrants between 1850 and 1900—built factories and Midwestern cities. Read The Article
In this election year, African Americans and Latinos are getting a lot of attention. Immigrants too. We are a “nation of them.” Oops—Indians were here when the first European immigrants arrived, and are still. (But their voting numbers are small, and they are spread out over 500 reservations and scores of cities across the country.)
Indians don’t even speak the same language—or didn’t. Most of them speak English now, except for French speaking Metis who are mostly in Canada, and Spanish speaking Indians across South and Central America and Mexico. And the Mayan language speakers and others which are still strong enough to hold their own with Spanish and Portuguese south of our border. Linguists say there were some 2500 mutually unintelligible languages when the first Europeans arrived.
Or, you might want to count the Norse in Newfoundland as first new arrivals, or maybe some stray kon tiki boat from the Pacific that brought Islanders or Africans to the New Read The Article