Abendpost -- January 02, 1919Americans of Foreign Origin (Editorial)
Americans of foreign birth deliberately chose the United States as their residence and, by their own volition, became citizens of this great republic. By their own volition and--as must be supposed--with a full understanding of the significance of this step, they renounced allegiance to their own governments to gain citizenship in the American democracy: in the country which, because of its principles, guarantees all the people "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".
All foreign-born citizens, regardless of their nationality or language, like to respect these great principles and like to see them respected. It is necessary that they be in complete unison on this point; it is to their own best interest and that of the republic that they continue to preserve unity in this matter.2
It is to their special interest, because only thus can they hope to preserve intact their right to "life, liberty, and happiness", which includes, among other things, the right to use their native tongue in private intercourse; it is to the general interest of our democratic republic because the native American, who enjoys the blessings of democratic liberty without any active effort, is inclined to regard it as a matter of course and to remain indifferent to any violations or restrictions of it. The loyal foreign-born American is not exposed to this danger in the same way. He appreciates American democracy more, because a previous lack of it has taught him to realize its value; and any attempt to restrict guaranteed liberties he can discover more quickly, and he condemns such attempts with more determination, than the average native.
This makes the foreign-born, naturalized citizen the most zealous guardian and defender of the democratic institutions of our country: He is (or should be) an alert sentry, who warns the native American of approaching 3danger, a fighter in the front lines when it comes to defending natural and personal rights.
The native, puritanical, English-speaking elements of our population, taking advantage of the opportunity which the war afforded them, have made clever use of the old European racial prejudices and animosities, in order to foment enmity and hatred among the foreign-born and foreign-speaking elements of the country, hoping and expecting to gain an easy victory over the true democracy of the country by splitting up their adversaries. These fanatics, fake-democrats and fake-Americans, whisper into the ear of one nationality that another nationality used to be its enemy in Europe a hundred, two hundred, or even five hundred years ago, and by this device turn them aside from the common goal of all good democrats and Americans: namely, the perfecting of the democracy in which we live and which our children will inherit; its liberation from all its present faults and weaknesses, and its development into a real stronghold of all natural human rights.4
The undemocratic, un-American, and prohibitionist rapers of the principle of democracy are intent on causing dissension among the best-qualified defenders of personal rights in America. The latter should beware and not be deceived. They should disregard unimportant things and unite in the fight for the preservation of natural rights, for their own sakes and for those native Americans who are unable to see the perils which threaten their democracy, or who do not realize how serious these dangers are, or who are too indolent to fight against them.
All those who, by their own decision, have made America their adopted country and thereby demonstrated their appreciation of American democracy, should rally together and stick together for the defense of the main principle: "The greatest measure of freedom for the individual which is compatible with the general interest".
I C, III G
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