Hyphenated Americans

NYT headline, Teddy Roosevelt 1915-8x6

On Columbus Day 1915, Theodore Roosevelt addressed the Knights of Columbus in New York City.  I will be running the entire speech in a post on October 12, but I think this section of the speech is very relevant today:

“There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.”

The Knights cheered TR to the rafters.


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  1. Here’s one of the most fundamental aspects of the Obama reign: all the class and racial hatred he’s inflicted on us. It’s divide and conquer. Fundamental change translates into irreparable harm.

  2. As for me and my family, the tallest peak in America will always be known as Mt. McKinley. God bless our 25th President. A Republican. A Man that earned the respect to have a mountain of significance named after him.

    I know a sink hole in Louisiana befitting the name of our next lame duck.

  3. As for me and my family, the tallest peak in America will always be known as Mt. McKinley.

    The notion that he has the authority to re-christen a geographic feature with an executive order just boggles. And you and I both know that neither his successor nor the useless Republican caucuses in Congress will ever reverse this insult.

  4. Clinton pulled a similar stunt in making the clean burning coal in Utah off-limits to mining.

    I despise the GOP establishment but I really detest the Democrats.

  5. A combat veteran of the Civil War, rising from Private to Major, McKinley was the epitome of a gentleman. After he was shot by his assassin he told the crowd that swarmed the man not to hurt him. His last words:

    “Good-bye — good-bye, all. We are all going. It’s God’s way. His will be done, not ours. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee. We are all going, we are all going, we are all going. Oh, dear.”

  6. Donald thank you. I’m not embellishing, the hairs stood on end as I read his very last words. Incredible man.

    Art. I don’t get it either. President sink hole!

  7. There is a public school in the city of Pittsburgh that was named for Obumbler after he was first elected. I want to name the landfill in Imperial, Pennsylvania after Obumbler. Imagine – the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library. The underground coal fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania can be named for his wife.

  8. Art Deco wrote, “neither his successor nor the useless Republican caucuses in Congress will ever reverse this insult.”
    Indeed. Had not a servile Roman Senate decided to rename his birth-month of Quintilis July in honour of Julius Caesar, we should have had a simple system of alternate 30 and 31 day months. Of course, it would never do for Augustus to have a shorter month than his great-uncle’s. Then October had to be shortened to avoid three 31 day months in succession and November and December were changed to correspond.
    Thus, an emperor’s vanity has left us with an illogical calendar and a piece of doggerel – “Thirty days hath September…”

  9. Penguins Fan wrote, “I want to name the landfill in Imperial, Pennsylvania after Obumble…”
    Prince William Augustus, Dukeof Cumberland (affectionately known as “Butcher Cumberland”) has the rare distinction of having two plants named after him: in England, the flower “Sweet William” (Dianthus barbatus) ; in Scotland, the weed “Stinkin’ Billy.” (Senecio jacobaea)

  10. We have a few dual citizens in leadership positions in America today. Rohm Emanuel has dual passports. So does Michael Chertoff. I believe Teddy was a free mason. Why was he always picking on the Irish, German and Italian immigrants? See the pattern here?

  11. “See the pattern here?”

    No, especially since Roosevelt studied in Germany as a young man and spoke and read the language fluently. He was ever a friend of Catholic immigrants as his good relations with the Catholic hierarchy would indicate, and as typified by his giving the speech before an appreciative group of the Knights of Columbus in New York City. Roosevelt was ever a foe to anti-Catholicism in the US, and you are barking up a very wrong tree if you are implying otherwise.

  12. ” Imagine – the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library.” Brent Bosel said in reference to the bust of Margaret Sanger: “bury it in a pit and apologize to the dirt. ”
    “the Barack Hussein Obama Garbage Dump and Presidential Library” and apologize to the garbage.

  13. Government surveys and forms are offensive when comes to race or ethnicity. Though I am a Caucasian, in the future I will check Other and write in American. For my children I shall suggest to them they check Other and fill in English-German-Austrian-Swiss-Polish-Bermudian-Scottish-Alsatian- Italian-American. If the ancestors were from city states or principalities hypenate those. Sick of the divisiveness of it all. But it’s going to be a moot point because soon the federal government will have the DNA of us all. They already have it from those of us who served in the military from the ’90s on.

  14. CAM wrote, “Government surveys and forms are offensive when comes to race or ethnicity.“
    Indeed they are, which is why, in France they are prohibited as a violation [atteinte] of the unity and indivisibility of the Republic (cf Décret du 25 septembre 1792)
    Similarly, questions about religion.

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