International Migration Review
Ellis Island Nation develops new arguments about belonging, citizenship, and the social construction of American identity between 1924 and 1965. The book is a political and intellectual history that interweaves discussions of policy debates, public discourse, and educational curriculum to analyze changes in immigration law, societal reactions to immigrants and ethnics, and notions of pluralism. The author's conceptualization of “contributionism” melds two positions that have been at the heart of immigration debates for 200 years. Contributionism, as Fleeglar defines it, “emphasized that the cultural and economic assets of immigrants enriched America by celebrating the unique benefits of immigrants’ native cultures to American life” (12).
As he makes clear, however, contributionists rarely included Asian, African, or Latino immigrants in their definition. Contributionism is distinct from universalism (peaking in the 1940s) and later twentieth-century ideas about multiculturalism. Tracing how and why advocates of contributionism waged and won ideological and legal fights over the course of the twentieth century is the centerpiece of this noteworthy book.
Copyright © 2016, John Wiley & Sons
John Wiley & Sons
Merithew, Caroline, "Review: 'Ellis Island Nation: Immigration Policy and American Identity in the Twentieth Century'" (2016). History Faculty Publications. 127.