Melting Pot

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The Metaphor of the Melting Pot Peggy Ruth Geren The melting pot has been used metaphorically to describe the dynamics of American social life. In addition to its descriptive uses, it has also been used to describe what should or should not take place in American social life. How did the term originate? How was it used originally? How is it used in contemporary society? What are some problems with the idea of the melting pot? How is public education connected to the idea of the melting pot? How does the melting pot function in American cultural and political ideology? These are some of the questions considered in the following discussion. The Statue of Liberty is by now a universally recognized symbol of American political…show more content…
102).The common school was seen as an avenue for the assimilation of immigrants into American society. Formal schooling was not systematic in America in the mid-1800s, despite the regional efforts of strong advocates for public education. There were wide regional and cultural differences in attitudes toward the idea of tax-supported, systematic formal schooling based upon a common curriculum. Various religious groups had established schools for the perpetuation of their theology and culture, especially in the mid-Atlantic and Northern states. These groups were fearful of relinquishing responsibility to political authority. In the Southern states, slavery and a strong caste system were impediments to the development of public schools (p. 97). The influx of huge numbers of immigrants exacerbated religious and cultural tensions and engendered conflicts with American workers who were fearful for their jobs. This volatile situation created even more support for systematic public education as a socializing agent. Public education became part of a wider humanitarian movement addressing all kinds of social ills created by urbanization, industrialization, and immigration (p.105). A diverse group of largely middle class reformers called for action to abolish slavery, to improve the conditions of the
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