Evolution of Multiculturalism in the United States essay sample

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Although in the United States of America multiculturalism is not established as the official politics on the federal level, race, ethnic and cultural diversity was proper to the country, especially due to a strong concept of American Dream brought and supported by a self-made person, which considerably contributed to the development of the national American myth rooted in the belief that the United States is the country of liberty, and equal opportunities where everyone can find means to build one’s prosperity. In particular, this national representation contributed to the flaw of immigration at the beginning of the 20th century. As a matter of fact, mass immigration was a distinct feature of the American economy, culture, and social discourse even earlier, since the first half of the 19th century (Isaacs, 2003).

It should be admitted that the idea of liberty and cultural diversity had the legislative basis from the very beginning with the idea that the United Stated embrace cultural diversity as an amalgam of ethnic identities, epitomized by a metaphor of a ‘melting pot’, without state intervention (Isaacs, 2003). Admittedly, already in the second half of the 20th century America did not have a developed philosophy or designed policies of multiculturalism as Canada did (notably, the term itself appeared in 1970th due to a philosophical discourse implied by Charles Taylor, a Canadian thinker, and social achiever). Contrastingly, in America, the melting pot theory implied that all immigrants were supposed to be assimilated into American society with preserving their language and cultural identity. In such a way, initially, the American version of multiculturalism excluded the full assimilation and was rather based on a moderate integration (Suárez-Orozco, 2005).

Another feature of the multicultural model in America is a political one, since the idea of diversity is supposed to be correlated with the concept of national unity that was proclaimed to be a national founding background by the American father-founders: "...an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties" (Jay, 1787).

In 1997, the US President Bill Clinton launched a multicultural and interracial initiative entitled One America in the 21st Century, the main purpose of which was to prepare the country for embracing an intensively growing diversification of America through encouraging community towards a mutual and prospective intercultural dialogue. As a particular conception and worldview, multiculturalism is rooted in the pragmatism, a philosophy developed in the United States and Europe in the nineteenth century notably by William James. The core principle of the philosophy that lasted in the 20th century was cultural pluralism and diversity and was reinforced by a mass migration from sub-Saharian and Eastern European countries to America (Caputi at al., 2006). In particular, eminent philosophers, historians, and psychologists were influenced by the work Pluralistic Universe (1909) written by William James, in which the idea of the pluralistic world was closely …

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