Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt-- Hyphenated Americans


Thanks to reader Brad for pointing this out in a comment on an earlier POST:



Teddy Roosevelt: "No Room in This Country for Hyphenated Americans"

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.”
Theodore Roosevelt 
Address to the Knights of Columbus 
New York City- October 12th, 1915


  1. I'm half-OK with what he said.

  2. Thanks, I was looking for this. We had a bit of a dust up when I said either you are an American or you are not to a Person who proudly said he was African American. I told him NO. I then explained in my paultry way. This is what I wanted. Thanks.

  3. I don't care what Theodore Roosevelt said. Neither Theodore Roosevelt nor you get to decide what I call myself. My allegiance is to my own folk, not to some greaseball who swam the river and magically became an 'American.'

  4. There is a great song by the patriotic rock band "Madison Rising" called "Before the Hyphens Came" that is a modern application of this thought.



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