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For most of the twentieth century, Americans spoke of a “melting pot” in which immigrants came to this country and adopted an American character whatever their cultural and ethnic differences. Some people today prefer to replace the metaphor of “melting pot” with “tossed salad” for a nation of immigrants, emphasizing that Americans from different kinds of groups retain their distinct characteristics with only loose connections to each other. Which metaphor do you think captures the American experience better?
Americans have always formed a diverse society with different races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. The phrase e pluribus unum—”out of many, one”—captures the genius of the American experiment in liberty. Despite all of the differences among people who came to America from different parts of the world, they have become Americans not by adopting an official religion or being a particular race, but instead simply by embracing the Founding principles of liberty and equality for all.