Carleton Putnam, in his book Race and Reality, quotes Teddy Roosevelt on America’s founding stock.
“[O]n the New England Coast the English blood was as pure as in any part of Britain; in New York and New Jersey it was mixed with that of the Dutch settlers—and the Dutch are by race nearer to the true old English of Alfred and Harold than are, for example, the thoroughly Anglicized Welsh of Cornwall. Otherwise, the infusion of new blood into the English race [more accurately, English amalgam] on this side of the Atlantic has been chiefly from three sources—German, Irish, and Norse; and these three sources represent the elemental parts of the composite English stock in about the same proportions in which they were originally combined—mainly Teutonic, largely Celtic, and with a Scandinavian admixture. The descendant of the German becomes as much an Anglo-American as the descendant of the Strathclyde Celt has already become an Anglo-Briton . . . It must always be kept in mind that the Americans and the British are two substantially similar branches of the great English race, which both before and after their separation have assimilated, and made Englishmen of many other peoples. . . “
I agree with much of what Roosevelt says above, but the last sentence is something I have reservations about. I’ve bolded the pertinent part. Obviously Roosevelt was more of a ‘civic nationalist’ and judging by what he says about the Americans and British ‘making Englishmen of many other peoples‘ he believed in the melting pot, and in the limitless possibility of assimilating many disparate peoples. He may just have been using a little hyperbole when he says many other peoples were ‘made Englishmen‘ by assimilation. But whether or not he meant that phrase metaphorically, it’s been treated as truth by many people in the years since those words were written.
Oftentimes the civic nationalists in both the United States and in Britain have expressed the belief that if only, say, Moslems ‘assimilated’, learned good English, and ‘moderated’ their religious beliefs and cultures, they will be full members of their host countries. Is everyone assimilable, given the right instructions in how to be a ‘good citizen’ of America or of any Western country? It’s an article of faith in the religion that is civic nationalism, but there seems to be little evidence that it’s true.
One more thing I noticed about the quote from Roosevelt about what makes an ‘Anglo-American’: it seems that his views have become widely accepted in America now; everybody who is of northwestern European stock and who speaks English as their native language is now, for a lot of people, an ‘Anglo’ or ‘Anglo-American.’ Well, that’s very inclusive and all, but doesn’t that deprive those who are actually of English or British descent of their ethnic identity?