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U.S. Citizenship Is Based on Principles, Not Heritage

October 1, 2011

Adams wasn't the only one of the founding fathers to make this points

note: this is a piece written by colleague Lynn Holland from the Korbel School of International Studies. It appeared in History News Service (Sept 8, 2011). In it she challenges the ideas of conservative politican from Colorado Tom Tancredo.

Besides the fact that Tancredo, who once suggested that the U.S. bomb Mecca, has fashioned his appeal to the country’s extreme right wing, when it comes to cultural or `identity’ questions about the United States, he is essentially completely wrong. Legally as defined by its constitution, legal system and its broader cultural heritage, the United States from the outset has never been, nor never intended by the founding fathers (and mothers) to be a `Christian nation’ but something much more inclusive for all its worts and bumps.

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by Lynn Holland

To inspire Western youth to organize on the basis of identity, with pride in their heritage and their history, and counter radical multiculturalism on campus.”
– Mission Statement, Youth for Western Civilization, Tom Tancredo, national chair

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo tells us to be proud of our western civilization. As a legacy of European culture, he says, “Western Civilization is our history.”  And, he adds ominously, that civilization is now under attack.  The countries of Western Europe are being invaded by “Islamo-fascists,” while here in the United States we face “multiculturalism.”  The danger of multiculturalism, says Tancredo, is that it prevents us from assimilating American values. “Be Americans First,” he beseeches his audiences, meaning be “western.”

But Tancredo misunderstands the fundamental nature of American citizenship.  In this country, citizenship is not about cultural identity; it is about constitutional principles.  From the beginning, Americans embraced a new definition of citizenship and a new process of naturalization that set the nation apart from its European heritage. (to read the whole piece, click here)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2011 5:08 am

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  2. October 4, 2011 10:22 am

    Super post. Some good points you mention in there.

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