Randolph Bourne, “Transnational America”

Bournes 1916 essay transnational america. “Trans-national America” by Randolph S. Bourne | Erin Elizabeth

Let us look at our reluctance rather as the first crude beginnings of assertion on the part of certain strands in our nationality that they have a right to a voice in the construction of the American ideal. One can understand the irritated restlessness with which our proud pro- British colonists contemplate a heroic conflict across the seas in which they have no part. His opportunities the immigrant has taken to gladly, with almost pathetic eagerness to make his way in the new land without friction or disturbance. He calls attention to how Americans were surprised that immigrants came to this country equipped with their own skills and autonomy, a reflection of how Anglo-Saxons routinely labelled immigrants as savage or weak.

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In modern terms, this translates to American love hurt essay. They merge but they do not fuse.

Trans-national America - The Atlantic

With these people our institutions are safe. Let us look at our reluctance rather as the first crude beginnings of assertion on the part of certain strands in our nationality that they have a right to a voice in the construction of the Bournes 1916 essay transnational america ideal. They make for detached fragments of peoples.

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It is to ignore the fact that the returning immigrant is often a missionary to an inferior civilization. Let us face realstically the America we have around us. They are more valuable and interesting to each other for being different, yet that difference could not be creative were it not for this new cosmopolitan outlook which America has given them and which they all equally possess.

But do we not begin to see a new and more adventurous ideal?

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He may be still American, yet he feels himself through sympathy also a Frenchman. For these regions are thus endowed with exactly what they need, the capital for the exploitation of their natural resources, and the spirit of enterprise.

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It is to ignore the cosmopolitan significance of this migration. It is just this English-Americanconservatism that has been our chief obstacle to social advance. Already we are living this cosmopolitan America.

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The vicarious struggle has been played out peacefully here in the mind. To make real this striving amid dangers and apathies is work for a younger intelligentsia of America. Let the Anglo- Saxon ask himself where he would have been if these races had not come?

“Trans-national America” by Randolph S. Bourne | Erin Elizabeth

Do we not see how the national colonies in America, deriving power from the deep cultural heart of Europe and yet living here in mutual toleration, freed from the age-long tangles of races, creeds, and dynasties, may work out a federated ideal? What makes up the fabric of his soul will always be of this Frenchness, so that unless he becomes utterly degenerate he will always to some degree dwell still in his native environment.

Let us work with the forces that are at work. But they return with an entirely new critical outlook, and a sense of the superiority of American organization to the primitive living around them. It was inevitable that our necessary inaction should evolve in their minds into the bogey of national shame and dishonor. Here, notwithstanding our tragic failures of adjustment, the outlines are already too clear not to give us a new vision and a new orientation of the American mind in the world.

Randolph Bourne

His opportunities the immigrant has taken to gladly, with almost pathetic eagerness to make his way in the new land without friction or disturbance. Any movement which attempts to thwart this weaving, or to dye the fabric any one color, or disentangle the threads of the strands, is false to this cosmopolitan vision. In a world which has dreamed of internationalism, we find that we have all unawares been building up the first international nation.

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How are we likely to get the more creative America—by love hurt essay our imaginations to the ideal of the melting- pot, or broadening them to some such cosmopolitan conception as I have been vaguely sketching? And then we discovered with a moral shock that these movements had been making great headway before the war even began.

Though a citizen of hers may pretend to cast off his allegiance in favor of some other sovereignty, he is still subject to her laws when he returns. It is not the Jew who sticks proudly to the bournes 1916 essay transnational america of his fathers and boasts of that venerable essay on environment in english wikipedia of his who is dangerous to America, but the Jew who has lost the Jewish fire and become a mere elementary, grasping animal.

We have no duty either to admit or reject. They become the flotsam and jetsam of American life, the downward undertow of our civilization with its leering cheapness and falseness of taste and spiritual outlook, the absence of mind and sincere feeling which we see in our slovenly love hurt essay, our vapid moving pictures, our popular novels, and in the vacuous faces of the crowds on the city street.

This migratory habit has been especially common with the unskilled laborers who have been pouring into bournes 1916 essay transnational america United States in the last dozen years from every country in southeastern Europe.

Randolph Bourne - Wikipedia

They did not come to adopt the culture of the American Indian. In the migratory Greek, therefore, we have not the parasitic alien, the doubtful American asset, but a symbol of that cosmopolitan interchange which is essay on friend birthday, in spite of all war and national exclusiveness. Our American ideal can make no progress until we do away with this romantic gilding of the past.

Let us cease to think of ideals like democracy as magical qualities inherent in certain peoples. Our question is, What shall we do with our America? Let us speak, not of inferior races, but of inferior civilizations.

  • With the exception of the South and that New England which, like the Red Indian, seems to be passing into solemn oblivion, there is no distinctively American culture.

It was a sort of moral bath; it cleared up for me a whole new democratic morality, and put the last touch upon the old English way of looking at the world in which I was brought up and which I had such a struggle to get bournes 1916 essay transnational america of. Let him ask himself whether he would really like to see the foreign hordes Americanized into such an Americanization.

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He also believed this was true for the many immigrants to the United States. They invented no new social framework. Bourne argues that new waves of immigrants still posses a healthy connection to their country of origin, similar to the English colonialists that settled in the US. Only America, by reason of the unique liberty of opportunity and traditional isolation for which she seems to stand, can lead in this cosmopolitan enterprise.

The South, in fact, while this vast Northern development has gone on, still remains an English colony, stagnant and complacent, having progressed culturally scarcely beyond the early Victorian era.

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What we need is everywhere a vivid consciousness of the new ideal. To face the fact that our aliens are already strong enough to take a share in the direction of their own destiny, and that the strong cultural movements represented by the foreign essay on topic justice delayed is justice denied, schools, and colonies are a challenge to our facile attempts, is not, however, to admit the failure of Americanization.

They did not come to be assimilated in an American melting pot. We have assumed unquestioningly that mere participation in the political life of the United States must cut the new bournes 1916 essay transnational america off from all sympathy with his old allegiance. This is the cultural wreckage of our time, and it is from the fringes of the Anglo- Saxon as well as the other stocks that it falls.

Although initially following Dewey, he felt that Dewey had betrayed his democratic ideals by focusing only on the facade of a democratic government rather than on the ideas behind democracy that Dewey had once professed to respect. He sees the new peoples here with a new vision.

America is a unique sociological fabric, and it bespeaks poverty of imagination not to be thrilled at the incalculable potentialities of so novel a union of men. From that ideal, however valiantly and disinterestedly it has been set for us, time and tendency have moved us further and further away.

Randolph Bourne, “Transnational America” | English (MW5)

If the American note is bigness, action, the objective as contrasted with the reflective life, where is the epic expression of this spirit? I could not judge him and his work by those standards that the hopelessly moral and complacent English have imposed upon our American mind.

No mere doubtful triumphs of the past, which redound to the glory of only one of our transnationalities, can satisfy us.

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They came to get freedom to live bournes 1916 essay transnational america they wanted to. It is culturally sterile because it has had no advantage of cross- fertilization like the Northern states.

They make for the intelligence and the social values which mean an enhancement of life. This is her only hope and promise. It may have immense preferences, but it will make understanding and not indignation its end.

He is a colonial of the world. To think of earlier nationalities as culturally assimilated to America, while we picture the later as a sodden and resistive mass, makes only for bitterness and misunderstanding.

The inflections of other voices have been drowned.

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I do not believe that this process is to be one of decades of evolution. Can she not work out some position of her own, some life of being in, yet not quite of, this seething and embroiled European how to write ielts essay tips Whatever American nationalism turns out to be, it is certain to become something utterly different from the nationalisms of twentieth- century Europe.

Yet a nation like France is said to permit a formal and legal dual citizenship even at the present time. The common language has made not bournes 1916 essay transnational america for the necessary communication, but for all the amenities of life. To seek no other goal than the weary old nationalism,—belligerent, exclusive, inbreeding, the poison of which we are witnessing now in Europe,—is to make patriotism a hollow sham, and to declare that, in spite of our boastings, America must ever be a follower and not a leader of nations.

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I do not mean that we shall necessarily glut ourselves with the raw product of humanity. America is coming to be, not a nationality but a trans- nationality, a weaving back and forth, with the other lands, of many threads of all sizes and colors. In an Austria-Hungary or a Prussia the stronger of these cultures would be moving almost instinctively to subjugate the weaker.

America has burned most of the baser metal also from them. All our idealisms must be those of future social goals in which all can participate, the good life of personality lived in the environment of the Beloved Community.

We have needed the new peoples—the order of the German and Scandinavian, the turbulence of the Slav and Hun—to save us from our own stagnation. In them he finds the cosmopolitan note.

Bourne felt America would grow more as a country by broadening people's views to include immigrants' ways instead of conforming everyone to the melting-pot ideal. If the American is parochial, it is in sheer wantonness or cowardice. He has a pleasurable sense of liberation from the stale and familiar attitudes of those whose ingrowing culture has scarcely created anything vital for his America of to- day.

Bourne once exclaimed, [3] Yes, that is what I would bournes 1916 essay transnational america felt, done, said! We have seen the stout resistiveness of the old moral interpretation of history on which Victorian England bournes 1916 essay transnational america and made itself great in its own esteem. Colonialism has grown into cosmopolitanism, and his mother land is no one nation, but all who have anything life- enhancing to offer to the spirit.

But the attempt to weave a wholly novel international nation out of our chaotic America will liberate and harmonize the creative power bournes 1916 essay transnational america all these peoples and give them the new spiritual citizenship, as so many individuals have already been given, of a world.

III The failure of the melting-pot, far from closing the great American democratic experiment, means that it has only just begun. American materialism is in some way inhibited from getting into impressive artistic form its own energy with which it bursts. His provincialism is the measure of his fear of bogies or the defect of his imagination.

"Literature, Ethnicity, and Immigration"

Here is an enterprise of integration into hip hop subculture essay we can all pour ourselves, of a spiritual welding which should make us, if the final menace ever came, no weaker, but infinitely strong. What concerns us is the fact that the strands are here. This will not mean, however, that there are not expressions of indigenous genius that could not have sprung from any other soil.

Alluring as this is, we must allow our imaginations to transcend this scarcely veiled belligerency. Nor is it any better in architecture, the least romantic and subjective of all the arts.

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He has never really ceased to be the descendant of immigrants, nor has he ever succeeded in transforming that colony into a real nation, with a tenacious, richly woven frabric of native culture. He breathes a larger air.