Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Italian Niche: Immigration (5)

Assimilation: The Early Italian Immigrant's Dilemma
(Continue from Page: 4)

What is Assimilation?
It is the process of growing alike or a "process of growing resemblance."

"The process of assimilation depended largely on the individual's decision to leave the immigrant culture behind and to embrace American ways.

So now, without any further ado, here are several quotes for you to contemplate reflecting on Assimilation and American Democracy which I hope will prove grist for the mill of your curious mind.

"That the American of Italian extraction has absolutely nothing to lose because there is a gradual mingling of the influences of two civilizations in his life and he profits from them both."
Cavalier Benefico

"Whatever the individual does is recognized and American Democracy gives him a fair chance and reasonable opportunity."
Assemblyman Chas. Novello of New York City 1921

"The result is that such men advance, and eventually become owners of establishments. Instead of returning to italy to live on their lands, they become infused with the American spirit of enterprise, they begin to love the ideals of a purely democratic country, and soon become American citizens. By hard work under adverse circumstances they acquire a competence and while they do not lose touch with their fatherland they become to all intents and purposes good citizens and take an intelligent interest in all political questions of the day, both local and national." Luigi Criscuolo 1921

"Whether a person of italian extraction loses or gains thru his contact with American democracy depends mostly upon the spirit with which he comes to this country and also, although much less, on circumstances." Dr. Felice Ferrero

"The chief contribution that the American of Italian extraction may make to our democracy is to remember that while his goal is AMERICA, his starting point is Italy; that he is not to submerge his Italianism in America but to merge it with Americanism at its highest. He is to bring to America consciously and of purpose that latin reverence for law which must underlie the democratic order." Rabbi Stephen S. Wise

To contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

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