The Melting Pot that is America

In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on a new continent and blah, blah, blah…… You can go on and on about how America was discovered, about how (while ignoring the Spanish, the French, and the Native Americans) England settled North America and created a new nation with its 13 colonies (even though it only officially planned and established one colony, Georgia (the others were on their own)), and you can also talk about how our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence but that’s all the usual and everyone-knows-about-it stuff. How’s that any fun? So here’s the gist of it: America wouldn’t even be called America if it weren’t for the people who came here.

Think of it like this, it’s 300 years ago and you are poor, live in dirt, and have no where to go. Suddenly a new continent surfaces with absolutely no system, no country, and most of all, can give you the means to restart your life. Focus on the fact that the Americas are basically a blank canvas (at least to the Old World people because they gave little consideration to the Native Americans). With so much promise, though of course with certain uncertainties, of religious freedom, land, freedom, the prospect of a new political system, freedom, a new way of living, freedom, freedom, and did I mention freedom? If you wouldn’t have to be an in debt farmer anymore, if you wouldn’t have to be chased out of your country just because you’re catholic, even if you wouldn’t have to have nothing just because your brother’s the oldest, doesn’t America really seem like the land of opportunities? So many people came to the US because of chances they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

It’s not just that the opportunities attracted so many people to America, it also attracted a variety of people here. Think about the English Puritans who built New England, the Dutch who traded fur along the Hudson River, the Scots-Irish who settled the frontier, the French who colonized Canada and the Mississippi delta, the Spanish who conquered much land in central America and South America. So many different races of the Old World  collided when they arrived in America. When the Spanish landed in southern North America, they married the Native Americans there and the new generation became the Mexicans. When the French Acadians migrated to present-day Louisiana, they became the Cajuns. America isn’t just a mix of Old World cultures, it’s the birthplace of a new race of people. That’s why Mexicans celebrate Columbus Day as Dia de la Raza, or as the birthday of a new race of people. The minute Columbus set foot on here, the birthday of the American race (I guess you can call it that) became inevitable.

In fact, it’s still happening now. The people of the Old World continue to immigrate to the New World everyday. This flow of people is incessant. It didn’t stop once the 13 colonies were founded. That’s why there are millions of people in America. That’s why we have that Korean neighborhood by Northside. That’s why school applications (all applications really) say check all that apply: African-American, white, Asian/ Pacific Islander, Latin American, others. That’s why pretty much everyone I know give me a long list of all the countries they’re from. I mean sure there are people like my friend who is just Polish, like my neighbors who are just Philipino, or like me who is just Chinese. That’s why I say the flow never stops. The people of the Old World continue to come here. Eventually, their children will become Americans. So sure, you can say the US was created because of the Declaration of Independence. But I think that the millions of Americans, not Europeans, not Asians, not Africans, AMERICANS here now are much more of a proof of the foundation of America than some old piece of paper.


That’s why we have Chinatown.

Work cited:
– The American Pageant (11th edition)
– Chinatown, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/06/Chicago_Chinatown_night.jpg/1024px-Chicago_Chinatown_night.jpg

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15 thoughts on “The Melting Pot that is America

  1. I LOVE that you mention Dia de la Raza. It’s such an important cultural study beyond the scope of our own American history but resides so close to us (and, of course, in American land that is formerly Mexican land).

  2. I really enjoyed how you took the perspective of the immigrant to describe the foundation of America. You’ve explained so many different cultures present in the foundation of America, and seamlessly transitioned to the present day. You have done a great job!

  3. I like how you say that eventually we all turn into Americans by staying here. The application of many cultures and races in your story is very impressive, but did Columbus actually set foot in North America? Also off-topic, does that sign say Fat Lee Grocery?

  4. I like the fact that you mention that American culture is basically a mix of so many different cultures. I also like that you included different people and cultures. Great job!

  5. I really like how you explained your point using the perspective of an immigrant and it was very accurate as well. You also explained how that’s still applicable today and it didn’t just stop once the 13 colonies were founded. This was very impressive.

  6. I think you make a really good point that america is really made up of so many people other than the British and that there are still constantly people coming here from different places. I don’t know if I even know anybody who descends from the Brits who founded this country. I certainly don’t descend from them. Just like how you said that the children of the people who come here will eventually become Americans, I’m very much an American seeing as it was my great grandparents who came here, but they came here relatively recently compared to when America was founded. Also they cam from Eastern Europe, not western Europe.

  7. It’s interesting that you say living in America is what brings all of us together and makes us similar. Personally, I’d always thought the diversity of this country is what makes it interesting, and the people who live in it so unique. I feel lucky to have been exposed to so many different people and cultures and experiences – this sort of environment is something that is hard to find anywhere else.

  8. It’s interesting how you call it a “melting pot”- a term that is often shunned upon because “melting” is often associated with losing your own identity. My grammar-school teacher always encouraged us to use the term “salad” instead of “melting pot”, because in a salad you can maintain an individual identity and mix with others. (Enough rambling about food for now.) I agree with Lina on how America’s diversity is what really makes unique. We can recall from our textbook a French Jesuit missionary who claimed to have counted up to 18 different languages being spoken on one street. America’s intensely mixed heritage asks us to question, “What does it really mean to be American?”

  9. I think you make a great point – that America is not only a mix of diverse groups of people, but also the birthplace of a somewhat new people. I think that as you describe it, the term melting pot can be quite accurate. Although a new culture emerges, some of the old cultures are consequentially lost. The new race of people is less an entirely new thing than it is the convergence and interaction of many people with a common goal.

  10. I completely agree how you made Americans a completely new race of people. People in America do not lose their former identity, but rather melted together into a completely different people who are dependent on the mixing of cultures.

  11. I agree that America truly is a “melting pot” of different cultures from all over the world. The diversity of America gives it a unique culture of its own. Our culture is always changing because new people bring new traditions and customs. Chinatown (which you mentioned) was a great example of this because everyone who visits gets to experience some of the Chinese culture.

  12. I like how you said it was the birth of a new race of people. This may sound redundant because almost every comment has said this but I have to say that I like how you mention different races and ethnicity coming together to form America because America really is a very diverse country.The article is very organized and informative but it still kept my attention.

  13. Exactly! Being American does not split a person into more specific and narrow nationalities, rather it is a uniqueness of its own with the blending of many cultures and the mixture to be so great and fine that the blend is truly American in its own way.

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