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Assimilation - Colonial Period, Responses To Crisis, Bibliography

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In 1964 Milton M. Gordon (b. 1918) produced a groundbreaking book called Assimilation in American Life. He informed readers that three different theories of assimilation existed in the United States: "Anglo-Conformity," the "Melting Pot," and "Cultural Pluralism." Gordon acknowledged, though, that Anglo-Conformity was "the most prevalent ideology of assimilation in America throughout the nation's history" (p. 89). The other two theories, proposed by members of minority groups who wanted to "fit in" but who were unwilling to accept the cultural demands of the dominant society, suggested that all people who came to the United States ultimately mixed together and formed a "new American," or that individuals could "assimilate" while maintaining aspects of their own culture. History has shown, however, as Gordon himself noted, that to be accepted by others as an American, one had to conform totally to the values of Anglos in the United States. ("Anglo" values are sometimes referred to as WASP—white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant—characteristics.)

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