Earlier Immigration to the United States: Historical Clues for Current Issues of Integration

  • Stanley Lieberson
Part of the Migration, Minorities and Citizenship book series

Abstract

The historic experience of the United States with respect to immigration from Europe is strikingly positive. The number of immigrants was extraordinarily large relative to the size of the existing population. These immigrants came from diverse sources — often from sources that the earlier settlers looked down on. The process was remarkably successful, leading to substantial acculturation in a relatively short span of time, in such critical dimensions as loyalty to the new nation, linguistic assimilation, productive participation in the economy, and cultural and organizational adaptations. Over the years, discrimination declined, gaps between the groups diminished, and intermarriage increased. Indeed, the ethnic labels and categories themselves have changed and, although hardly gone, are less rigid than they once were. There is evidence that ethnic ties are declining, with the categories and ties in flux. The high levels of intermarriage between various white groups (and also including several of the non-European groups as well) suggests that this process is likely to continue in the years ahead and include as well other ethnic/racial subsets of the population (Lieberson and Waters, 1988, chapters 6 and 7). As an example of the successful incorporation of diverse European groups into the nation, consider that the United States participated in two world wars with Germany, without serious opposition, despite the fact that a substantial proportion of the American population are of German origin (Lieberson, 1992, p. 301).

Keywords

Migration Europe Income Assimilation Argentina 

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Lieberson

There are no affiliations available

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