Imagine a small family of four living in a mansion the size of the Pentagon. That was the United States in the early 19th century. Upon buying the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, an already-enormous America doubled its size. With only 5 million residents, there was enough space in America for every resident to have more than 200 acres. Early America desperately needed immigrants.
And because of cheap land, high wages and low taxes, immigrants came—in droves. Most of America’s earliest immigrants migrated from Great Britain and Ireland. After 1820, however, that started to change. From all across Europe, Germans, French, Swedes and Norwegians flooded America’s shores. America admitted more than 5 million immigrants between 1820 and 1860—40 percent of them Irish. During that 40-year period, America’s 9.6 million residents more than tripled to 31 million.
Not even the Civil War stemmed the tide of immigration. More than 2 million foreigners settled in America between 1860 and 1870. The overall population increased by more than 20 percent (from 31 to 38 million).
After the Civil War, there was a remarkable growth spurt in industry and urbanization. Big business not only needed immigrants, it relied on them. So more came—Germans, English, Irish, Chinese, Russians, Italians, Canadians. By 1880, the population reached the 50 million mark—by 1900, 75 million. Between 1900 and 1930, almost 19 million immigrants settled in America—as many as did throughout the 1800s. The U.S. population nearly doubled during that 30-year span—ballooning from 76 to 123 million.
The people of the United States, through natural increase and mass immigration, were multiplying faster than any other nation in history.
Cracks in the Melting Pot
At the dawn of the 20th century, audiences across America applauded Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play, The Melting Pot. It was the story of a youthful Russian-Jewish composer in New York named David Quixano. His life’s ambition was to write a symphony lauding America’s multi-ethnic diversity. Calling America the melting pot where everyone reforms to blend in, Quixano cried, “God is making the American!” Zangwill dedicated the play to President Theodore Roosevelt, who, after viewing it in Washington, shouted, “That’s a great play!”
Roosevelt, like presidents before him, welcomed large-scale immigration into the United States, as long as the newcomers became American. “Either a man is an American and nothing else,” he said, “or he is not an American at all.” Years earlier, another U.S. president, John Quincy Adams, said that for immigrants to succeed in the land of the free, they must “cast off the European skin, never to resume it.”
For nearly 200 years, that’s what immigrants did.
Two events in the 1920s finally restricted the surging flow of immigrants: the Immigration Act in 1924 and the Great Depression in 1929. As historian Paul Johnson put it, “The era of unrestricted mass immigration was over” (A History of the American People). Between 1930 and 1960, only 4 million immigrants made it to the United States—barely one fifth the level for the previous 30 years.
When the choke hold finally loosened during the 1960s, a new phenomenon emerged. Once again, immigrants came in droves—only this time they didn’t come from Europe. Prior to 1970, 80 percent of America’s immigrants were European. Since 1970, 80 percent have come from non-European regions—mostly Asian and Latin American countries. “Unlike the Ellis Island generations,” Patrick Buchanan writes in his new book, Day of Reckoning, “all of whom came from Europe, those pouring in today come from countries, continents, and cultures whose peoples have never before been assimilated by a First World nation. And they are coming in far greater numbers than any nation has ever absorbed. History has never seen an invasion like this. For there are more illegal aliens in the United States today than all the Irish, Jews, and English who ever came, and the total number of immigrants here now almost equals the total number who came in the 350 years from the birth of Jamestown to the inauguration of jfk.”
Today’s immigrants not only come from different places than they did several generations ago, they’ve set foot in a different America. During the 1960s, the younger generation turned American culture upside down. High standards in dress and conduct, sexual restraint, strictures on drug use, the Protestant ethic, traditional values and customs, patriotism, individual achievement and obedience to law all came under fire. Students of the 1960s emerged from this immoral revolution as “enlightened” educators bent on destroying America’s melting pot idea. “Popular faith in the melting pot,” Peter Salins wrote in Assimilation American Style, “survived both the Great Depression and World War ii. But it did not survive the 1960s.”
Post-modern educators have replaced the melting pot metaphor with a multiculturalism doctrine. This ideology, as Don Feder called it in one of his syndicated columns, teaches that “all cultures are equal except for white-male-dominated Western culture, which is inherently evil.” Evidence of this new curriculum is now abundant, as many conservative critics have pointed out. Books like Arthur Schlesinger’s The Disuniting of America, Richard Bernstein’s Dictatorship of Virtue and Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus have exposed the many follies in multicultural education.
Far from drawing together America’s varied ethnic groups, multiculturalism is driving them apart. And nowhere is that polarity more evident than on campuses across America. D’Souza writes in Illiberal Education, “Universities are a microcosm of society. But they are more than a reflection or mirror; they are a leading indicator. In universities, an environment where students live, eat, and study together, racial and cultural differences come together in the closest possible way.” Yet, as he goes on to prove convincingly, college campuses are more divided than ever.
And so is America.
The Welfare State
In his critique of American society in the mid-19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville considered America’s most dominant national taste a love of comfort. He wasn’t the first outside observer to note America’s penchant for materialism. Not that Americans were lazy. It was our taste for physical pleasure that drove us to work harder, Tocqueville said.
Max Lerner, who wrote America as a Civilization in 1957, considered manpower America’s richest resource. “Without the immigrants,” he wrote, “America could not have found quickly enough the manpower to build the railroads, mine the coal, man the open-hearth steel furnaces and run the machines.”
Immigrants learned quickly that hard work paid off. By 1869, America had attained the highest per capita income in the world—a milestone of wealth no other nation has yet surpassed. Ever since, Americans have enjoyed living standards unprecedented in mankind’s history. That phenomenal wealth, together with our burgeoning population, helped create the world’s first consumer society. There were plenty of jobs, workers, money and goods—everything immigrants needed to assimilate into American society.
The Great Depression, however, marked the beginning of the end for this American experiment. Paul Johnson wrote, “Far from trusting to the traditional American ability to fend for oneself, the children of the slump turned trustingly, almost despairingly, to the state, to big government, to save, nourish, and protect them. This was a sea change, and fdr, the embodiment of smiling state geniality, was its beneficiary” (op. cit.).
The New Deal marked the first time in American history when federal money went to individual citizens. The Social Security Act of 1935 made the federal welfare system permanent. By the end of fdr’s second term, the government had developed a food stamp program.
Lyndon Johnson, who became president in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, was one of the New Deal’s most faithful disciples. “During the five-year Johnson administration,” Paul Johnson writes, “federal spending on education, for instance, rose from $2.3 billion to $10.8 billion, on health from $4.1 billion to $13.9 billion, and on the disadvantaged from $12.5 billion to $24.6 billion. In current dollars, the rise of federal spending under Johnson was enormous—to $183.6 billion by fiscal 1969. Thanks to Johnson and a free-spending Congress, by 1971, for the first time ever, the federal government spent more on welfare than defense. In the 30 years 1949-79, defense costs rose 10 times, from $11.5 billion to $114.5 billion, but remained roughly 4 to 5 percent of gnp. Welfare spending, however, increased 25 times, from $10.6 to $259 billion” (ibid., emphasis mine).
Today’s government-sponsored, trillion-dollar entitlements simultaneously increase incentive for more immigrants to come while reducing their incentive to work once they get here. It’s a heavy price to pay for American citizens. In early April, Edwin Rubenstein released a 70-page study which found that each immigrant in the U.S. costs American taxpayers $9,000 per year.
Survival at Stake
In 1915, Theodore Roosevelt warned, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities ….”
That has happened. In fact, God said that it would happen! In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong identified the early American immigrants as being descendants of the biblical tribe of Manasseh. In passing the birthright promises to the two sons of Joseph in Genesis 48, Jacob said Ephraim’s descendants (Britain) would become a company of nations in these latter days and Manasseh would become a single great nation. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). Joseph’s descendants were to be a colonizing people in these latter days, branching out from the British Isles all over the Earth.
“But how can we be Manasseh when a large part of our people have come from many nations besides England?” Mr. Armstrong asked. He answered, “A large part of Manasseh remained with Ephraim until the separation of New England. But our forefathers were to be sifted through many nations, as corn through a sieve, yet not a grain to fall to the earth or be lost (Amos 9:9). Our people did filter through many nations. Ephraim and much of Manasseh finally immigrated to England together, but many others of Manasseh who had filtered into and through other nations did not leave them until they came, as immigrants, to the United States after the New England colony had become the separate nation. This does not mean that all foreigners who have immigrated into this country are of the stock of Manasseh, but undoubtedly many are. Israel, however, always did absorb Gentiles, who became Israelites through living in Israel’s land and intermarrying.
“Thus we have become known as the ‘melting pot’ of the world. Instead of refuting our Manasseh ancestry, this fact actually confirms it. The proof that we are Manasseh is overwhelming.”
The fact that the melting pot has now cracked wide open and we are being overrun by foreigners who are not descendants of Manasseh only adds to the overwhelming proof of our biblical identity! As Mr. Armstrong proved in his book, the very blessings God bestowed on us because of Abraham’s faithful obedience are now being withdrawn because of our sins. One of the curses God promises to send because of our disobedience is found in Deuteronomy 28: “The stranger [or foreigner] that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (verses 43-44).
God said this would happen! Even well-known commentators who disregard these prophecies or who reject America’s biblical identity can see that we are on a disastrous course. America is splitting apart at the seams. As Buchanan wrote, “[T]he likelihood of her survival as one nation through mid-century is improbable—and impossible if America continues on her current course. For we are on a path to national suicide” (op. cit.).
In fact, the timetable for our demise is much shorter than he realizes. But he’s right about the fatal course we are on.
To understand why we are on that path and how it will ultimately lead to Jesus Christ’s return, study The United States and Britain in Prophecy. If you would like a free copy of the book, send us a request.