Immigrant Backgrounds

Immigrant Backgrounds

Immigrant Backgrounds

Immigrant Backgrounds

Excerpt

By HENRY PRATT FAIRCHILD, Professor of Sociology , New York University ; author of "Immigration" and "The Melting Pot Mistake."

THE central fact in immigration is the transfer from one social group to another. In all true immigration this transfer involves the crossing of a political boundary line. But the significance of this political factor may be, and very frequently is, greatly overestimated. In fact, the new political orientation is scarcely more than an incident in the problem that the typical immigrant has to face. He experiences a complete change in his environment, both human and physical, and political institutions form only a minor portion of this environment. It is the environment in its entirety which he has left behind that constitutes the background of the immigrant.

Anything, then, that tends to give coherence, unity, character, and self-consciousness to a human group is a part of the background of the immigrants who go . . .

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