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American Identity

             In American Mind, by Henry Steele Commager, the book talks about the Past from a rural to urban setting. It deals with common sense and family with small time values as well as a boot strap mentality. An example of being a ruralist was Andrew Carnegie who was a self-made man from small town ethics and morals, but changed to being an urbanite becoming materialistic, a capitalist and greedy. Many of the people living during this time desired mobility and lived in an atmosphere of independence. The political system during this time was a 2-party system with a Democracy in America theme. This time period was very pragmatic and agrarian which meant that men were very skilled in business especially pertaining to their fields, lands the division of said lands. The people in this time period were very unique in their values because of their aspirations in progressing into the future.
             In the second excerpt from David Potter, People of Plenty, and an excerpt from Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart, the era was more of a sitcom era. Many of the people began to think of European equality with in the class of American society, such as the American dream of a happy life, a white picket fence, 2.2 kids and a dog. Many of the people in the 1950s were very opportunistic and thought the way to a good life was paved in gold. An example of this way of life is in the many shows that were on Television at the time, My Three Sons, The Donna Reed Show and this historian's personal favorite, Leave it to Beaver. These shows I believe represent the feelings of many Americans in the 1950s. With this realization however, many people were not prepared for the onslaught of ethnic diversity to hit America in the late 50s and early 1960s.
             According to David Hollinger's Postethnic America, both in Major Problems in American Immigration and Ethnic History, this was a time of race and ethnicity, which brought in immigrants from war-torn countries.

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