The American Citizen

Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

THEODORE ROOSEVELT'S IDEAS on immigration, immigrants, and on being an effective American in 1907 were once considered sane, profitable, and good for both the country and the people. Some of us still think it is a brilliant sketch of American inspiration, and are astonished that some people have the audacity to disagree:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.

—Theodore Roosevelt, 1907

Every American citizen needs to devour this advice, and not reject it!

In an 1894 article on immigration, Roosevelt said, "We must Americanize in every way, in speech, in political ideas and principles, and in their way of looking at relations between church and state. We welcome the German and the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such. He must revere only our flag, not only must it come first, but no other flag should even come second."

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