Revisiting Horace M. Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism:

A Comparative Analysis



Erika Sunada*



Summary in Japanese: ユダヤ系アメリカ人の哲学者Horace M. Kallenは1920年代を中心に、アメリカ国内での多様な民族性の存続と共存を理想とするcultural pluralismを唱えた。保守化する当時の風潮の中、彼の主張は大きな影響力をもたなかったが、1980年代以降「multiculturalismの先駆的存在」として注目をあびるようになった。現代の多様性をよしとするmulticulturalism的な視点から見て、Kallenの説は「先見の明があった」と評価されるようになったのだ。が、その一方で「民族性をあまりに根源的なものとみなしている」「黒人について語ることが無く、無視している」として批判を受けることにもなった。Kallenの説は現代の視点から評価されたり批判を受けたりしているがために、その実態がつかみにくくなってしまっているのも事実ではないだろうか。本稿では、Kallenと同時代に生き、同じくユダヤ系だった二人の作家の発表した作品と、彼の主張とを比較し、分析を試みた。Kallenと同じようにアメリカの民族的多様性と統一について考え、自分たちなりの理想のアメリカ社会を描き出そうとしたMary AntinとIsrael Zangwillと対照させることで、当時の社会的文脈の中でのcultural pluralism像とその意義を考えたい。







Since the early 1980s, the term as well as the concept of multiculturalism came to be discussed vigorously in various spheres of the society in the United States.[1]  Because the term multiculturalism was newly coined in the late seventies, it seems as if the term describes a new phenomenon.  However, the United States has a long history of struggle to find a right balance between the unity of the nation and the diversity of its people.  Cultural Pluralism, a phrase coined by Horace Meyer Kallen (1882-1974), a German-born Jewish-American philosopher, was also a product of such a search for the ideal image of America. 

Horace Meyer Kallen first expressed his idea regarding Cultural Pluralism in 1915 in an essay, entitled “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot,” published in The Nation.[2]  Although his idea of Cultural Pluralism did not become widely known immediately after the publication of the essay in 1915, nor after the release of a book on Cultural Pluralism in 1924, it came to attract considerable attention in the late eighties and nineties, particularly within the context of the discussion over multiculturalism.  Today, Kallen's Cultural Pluralism has been recognized by many as an insightful prescience into today's multicultural society.  For example, in 1995 David Hollinger argued in his book on the study of multiculturalism that “[t]he ‘cultural pluralism’ associated with the name of Horace Kallen is an important precursor to multiculturalism.”[3]  Kallen and his theory of Cultural Pluralism have also been studied by such prominent scholars as John Higham in Send These to Me (1975), Philip Gleason in “American Identity and Americanization” (1980) and in Speaking of Diversity (1992), and Werner Sollors in “A Critique of Pure Pluralism” (1986).[4] 

Many scholars who have studied Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism generally write positively of Kallen’s pluralistic thinking.  At the same time, however, some have criticized the way he conceptualized his notion of race and ethnicity in his theory of Cultural Pluralism.  Philip Gleason writes that even though Kallen’s “cultural pluralism came to be understood as liberal, anti-Anglo-Saxon, and antiracialist,” it was also the fact that “Kallen shared the kind of romantic racialism represented by Anglo-Saxonism before it was absorbed into biological racism.”[5]  Other scholars also point out that Kallen’s notion of Cultural Pluralism excluded blacks from its image of the ideal society.[6]  According to John Higham, this disregard for blacks was “a fatal elision” in Kallen’s theory.[7] 

Because Kallen's theory of Cultural Pluralism has often been discussed in relation to today's call for multiculturalism, it tends to be praised or criticized from the standpoint of the requirements of today's society.   While it is certainly useful to judge the merit of Cultural Pluralism in light of today’s social needs, it is also important to understand Kallen's theory in its original social context before applying these critiques.  In this paper, I hope to gain a better grasp of the significance of Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism theory by comparing and contrasting his idea with other ideas presented by two of his contemporary Jewish writers, Mary Antin (1881-1949) and Israel Zangwill (1864-1926).  These three writers all shared the sense of being a “minority” in a non-Jewish society.  They also agreed that America could become a society where people of various ethnic backgrounds, including the Jews, lived in harmony.  However, they proposed different ways to reach that harmony, and, as a result, had different images of the ideal American society.  In other words, even though these contemporary writers shared the same ethnic background and the same desire to discover a way for peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups in American society, their solutions were different.  While Kallen claimed that immigrants should maintain their ethnic tradition for generations, Antin insisted on their total and quick assimilation into the larger American culture to the extent that their original ethnic cultures became invisible.  Zangwill, on the other hand, described America as a “melting pot,” in which different cultures were melted into one large culture while, at the same time, that large culture was consistently being enriched by different “small” cultures. 

Because Kallen emphasized his Jewish ethnic identity in his scholarly work, his theory of Cultural Pluralism is often regarded as a result of his Jewish identity.[8]  Scholars tend to treat Kallen as a Jewish philosopher and that it was his Jewish identity that made him claim Cultural Pluralism.[9]  However, a comparison of Kallen's ideas with those of such writers as Antin and Zangwill shows that it was not simply his Jewish identity that led him to Cultural Pluralism.  Although they were contemporary Jewish writers, their personal contexts were very distinct.  While Kallen grew in a relatively affluent family and received the best kind of education American society could offer, Antin, who lived in a poverty, had to give up her college degree to marry a German-born scholar.  Kallen and Zangwill were both Zionists’ leader.  However, they did not agree with each other’s vision of America.  By putting Kallen's theory into its historical context and placing it within the larger framework of the contemporary society, this paper explores the limits as well as the potentials of Cultural Pluralism.



1.      Kallen and Cultural Pluralism


Kallen first advocated the idea of Cultural Pluralism (although he did not use the term, “Cultural Pluralism,” at that time) in an article entitled “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot,” which appeared in the magazine The Nation on February 18th and 25th in 1915.[10]  Kallen’s article was later reprinted as the second chapter of Kallen’s book, Culture and Democracy in the United States: Studies in the Group Psychology of the American People, which was published in 1924.[11]  The essays in the book were written on various occasions during the years from 1914 to 1924, which were, according to Kallen, “in the history of the American mind, one of the most critical ten-year period that the Republic has ever passed through.”[12]  The second chapter was particularly important because, according to Kallen, it best exemplified the idea he sought to advocate and promote in this book—“Cultural Pluralism.”[13]  In this section, I will provide an overview of his Cultural Pluralism theory and discuss how it was received at the time of the publication and how it came to be adopted by those who wished to advocate multiculturalism.  

For Kallen, Cultural Pluralism was a notion that promoted equality among different cultural groups.  He assumed every culture was equally valuable, and the difference had to be respected.  Cultural Pluralism was indispensable to his notion of a truly democratic society, “whose institutions encourage individuality in groups, in persons, in temperaments, whose program liberates these individualities and guides them into a fellowship of freedom and cooperation.”[14]    He argued that such a society could be achieved through establishing “the federal republic,” in which people of diverse ethnic backgrounds could work happily together in public life (i.e. political, economic, and commercial activities), while peacefully retreating back to their own ethnic worlds in their private lives.[15]  The federal republic’s substance was “a democracy of nationalities, cooperating voluntary and autonomously through common institution in the enterprise of self-realization through the perfection of men according to their kind.”[16]  Under this social system, people should speak English in public because it was “the language of great tradition,” but at home, they should use in their own languages, since “each nationality would have for its emotional and involuntary life its own peculiar dialect or speech, its own individual and inevitable esthetic and intellectual forms.”[17]   

The premise of Kallen's idea of Cultural Pluralism was based on his belief in the absolute nature of ethnicity.  He believed that ethnic features were something fundamental and thus it could not be altered.  One’s ethnicity was genetically inherited and, therefore, it was difficult, if not impossible, to renounce an ethnic identity.  Accordingly, a society composed of multiethnic groups like United States had to respect the differences and maintain each group’s native culture if it wished to achieve a harmony among people of different backgrounds.[18]  

Kallen argued that his “Cultural Pluralism” stood in sharp contrast with such concepts as “the Melting Pot,” “Americanization,” “standardization,” “assimilation,” and “Kultur Klux Klan,” while it agreed with the notion of “American Democracy,” which he believed, protected each person’s liberty.[19]  In an essay entitled “Culture and Ku Klux Klan” which served as introduction of Culture and Democracy, he wrote that “Cultural Pluralism is possible only in a democratic society whose institution encourages individualities and guides them into a fellowship of freedom and cooperation.  Based on this kind of belief, he vigorously attacked the notion of the “Melting Pot,” as the title of his essay “Democracy the Melting-Pot” suggests.[20]  As will be discussed later, the concept of the "melting pot" was advocated by a Jewish-British playwright Israel Zangwill in a play entitled The Melting Pot.  The play opened in Washington D.C. in 1908 and gained wide popularity in the United States.  By the time Kallen was writing his essay, the image of assimilation associated with the melting pot had generally become accepted as the symbolic representation of American liberalism, which urged the acceptance of immigrants from various backgrounds into the U.S..[21]  To Kallen, however, the melting pot signified undesirable form of assimilation because it seemed to embrace an unreserved degree of Americanization and standardization of the people.  Moreover, it was tantamount to Anglo-Saxonization, something that could not be tolerated by a Jewish intellectual like Kallen.  He wrote:


“Americanization” signifies, in short, the disappearance of the external differences upon which so much race-prejudice often feeds.  It appears to imply the fusion of the various bloods, and a transmutation by the “miracle of assimilation” of Jews, Slavs, Poles, Frenchmen, Germans, Hindus, Scandinavians and so on into being similar in background, tradition, outlook and spirit to the descendants of the British colonists, the “Anglo-Saxon” stock.[22]   


Not only did Kallen criticize Zangwill, but he also attacked other fellow Jewish writers who seem to have "Americanized" too much by putting themselves in the melting pot.  He criticized some “Americanized” Jewish-American writers, such as Jacob Riis and Edward Steiner who also wrote on the issue of immigrants.  As I will discuss later, he also attacked Mary Antin (1881-1949), a prominent Russian-born author who wrote an autobiographical novel The Promised Land (1912) and had become a best-seller in the United States, selling almost 85,000 copies.  He argued that these writers were “the biographical testimony” to the melting pot because they were “intermarried, ‘assimilated’ even in religion, and more excessively, self-consciously flatteringly American than the Americans.”[23] 

Even though Kallen believed in the value of his idea of “Cultural Pluralism” theory, it was not favorably received at the time of the publication of Culture and Democracy in the United States.  “It cannot be denied that he is a partisan himself,”[24] one critic said.  Another reviewer complained “Cultural Pluralism” proposed by Kallen would “Balkanize America.”[25]  The year Kallen published the book was not an opportune time for Kallen, as it was the year when the toughest immigration restriction law in the history of the United States was passed.  The American public sentiment was decidedly against the immigration and whatever that seemed alien to “American” culture and tradition.  Although some were attracted to Kallen's vision of American society, most, including those who approved the play The Melting Pot, regarded “Cultural Pluralism” as too extreme.[26]

Under such circumstances, Kallen's contribution as a philosopher and an advocate of Cultural Pluralism was soon forgotten by all but handful of sympathizers.  For example, according to the Current Biography published in 1953, Horace Meyer Kallen was not so much a philosopher as an educator.  He was described as “[o]ne of the founders of the New School for Social Research in New York City,” which was established in 1919 “to seek an unbiased understanding of the existing order, its genesis, growth and present working.”  As an important member of the school, he was “an outstanding leader in the adult education movement in America.”[27]  The entry, however, did not refer to his philosophical works except for some brief references to the titles of his books.  Neither was the name of his theory of “Cultural Pluralism” ever mentioned.  Similarly, when Kallen died in 1974, his obituary in New York Times did not mention the term “Cultural Pluralism.”[28] 

On the other hand, the article on Kallen written in 1994 in Dictionary of American Biography devotes a half of its portion describing his theory of Cultural Pluralism, while spending only one paragraph to refer to Kallen’s contribution to New School for Social Research as an educator.  The article also emphasizes the central significance of Cultural Pluralism to Kallen’s career by noting that “[d]espite the catholicity of interest exhibited in his more than two dozen books, he is indelibly associated with only one idea, ‘cultural pluralism,’ a phrase that he first used in 1924 in Culture and Democracy in the United States.”[29]  

Today, Kallen is almost exclusively known as the philosopher who coined the term “Cultural Pluralism.”  This is because Kallen and his Cultural Pluralism theory began attracting considerable attention as the concept of multiculturalism gained prominence in American society in the late twentieth century.  The rise of multiculturalism was a result of much heated discussion over how Americans should understood the national unity in an increasingly diverse nation.  And Kallen’s notion of Cultural Pluralism, which struggled with the same kind of issue more than half a century earlier, attracted the attention of scholars looking for a useful precedence.  In 1980, Philip Gleason wrote an article entitled “American Identity and Americanization” in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups and devoted a major portion of his essay discussing Kallen's Cultural Pluralism theory and its legacy.  Reflecting on the condition of the American society at the beginning of the 1980s, Gleason concluded, “the very popularity of the term [cultural pluralism], as well as the vigorous assertion of ethnic claims, bespeaks a real change in the Americans' sense of who they are and who they want to be.”[30]   Although Gleason’s article was written before the term “multiculturalism” came into general use, its attempt to call for a more culturally diverse society by invoking Kallen's theory would be repeated more and more later by other multiculturalists.[31]  Kallen's Cultural Pluralism theory provided a starting point for exploring the possibility of a “real change” those seeking for a more multicultural vision of America.

The recent trend to appropriate Kallen's theory within the discourse of today's multiculturalism has directed our attention away from the original context as well as the significance of his ideas.  However, in order to gain a better understanding of his ideas, it is important to remember their social context.  In particular, I believe the unique aspects his theory becomes clearer when it is compared and contrasted with the writings of other contemporary Jewish authors who shared similar concerns with Kallen and yet reached different conclusions.



2.      Pluralism and Assimilation in the Promised Land


In this section, I will compare Kallen’s thoughts with those of Mary Antin (1881-1949), a writer who was his contemporary, and examine the differences in their notion of ethnicity as well as their visions of ideal America society.  Both Antin and Kallen were Jewish immigrants, but what they expected of the United States was very different.  By comparing and contrasting their ideals, I will explore how and why these two Jewish writers came to advocate two opposing positions—assimilation and cultural pluralism.  I argue that Cultural Pluralism did not simply derive from Kallen’s Jewish identity but it was also intimately related to his social position as a member of the privileged elite.  In contrast to Kallen, Antin, whose social background differed considerably, felt compelled to renounce her Jewish identity and call for a quick assimilation so that she could escape from her underprivileged position in the society.

Kallen and Antin were mutual acquaintances.  Although Kallen criticized Antin’s assimilationist stance in his Culture and Democracy, he knew her well enough to exchange letters from time to time.  Antin was an immigrant who moved to the United States from a Pale (an area enclosed by a boundary) of Jewish settlement in Polotzk when she was thirteen years old.  In 1912, three years before Kallen published the first essay on Cultural Pluralism in Nation, she published her autobiography, The Promised Land, and described what it was like to immigrate to the United States and be “Americanized.[32] 

As the title of her book suggests, the United States was “the Promised Land” for Antin even before she arrived there, and after her arrival, it remained her beloved land.  She had dreamed of immigrating to the United States and, once her dream was realized, she tried her best to become a good American.  She portrayed the life in America as full of excitement.  She wrote that “[i]n America, everything was free, as we had heard in Russia.”  She and her family happily found out that, “light (on the street) was free, . . .music was free, . . .education was free.”[33]  She willingly gave up her Hebrew name, Maryashe, and quickly shed off the “despised” immigrant clothes.  She went to a public school to receive education so that she could transform herself into a good American.  She praised the schools in the United States and proudly wrote that “[i]t is not worth while to refer to voluminous school statistics to see just how many ‘green[horn]’ pupils entered school last September, not knowing the days of the week in English, who next February will be declaiming patriotic verses in honor of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with a foreign accent, indeed, but with plenty of enthusiasm.”[34]        

The differences between the ideas of Kallen and Antin are clear in their views regarding ethnicity.  To advocate pluralism, it was important for Kallen to emphasize the rigid nature of ethnicity.  In contrast, Antin claimed that she could give up her ethnicity entirely to turn herself into a good American.  Kallen considered that ethnicity would remain forever in the blood of immigrants and their descendants.  Antin, on the other hand, described that one’s ethnicity was something that she or he could forsake through Americanization.  While he emphasized the notion of ethnicity as something biological and fundamental to human quality, Antin experienced “miracles,” which transformed her from a Jew to a “Freethinker” and to an “American.”[35]  

Kallen emphasized the rigidity of the nature of ethnicity when he wrote the following passage in “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot.”  No matter how much an immigrant tried to become like an American, Kallen said, he remained “still the Slav, the Jew, the German, or the Irish citizen of the American state.  Again, in the mass, neither he nor his children nor his children’s children lose their ethnic individuality.”[36]  In other words, he believed in the perpetual nature of one’s ethnic identity and considered one’s ethnicity as something natural, biological, and immutable.  Although Kallen did not give a clear and convincing reason why ethnicity remained persistent among the immigrants and their descendants, he believed in the perpetuity of ethnic heritage.  This perpetuity was a critical element for his Cultural Pluralism theory.  Kallen believed that whatever people did, they could not change their ethnicity.  Precisely because of that, America needed to become a culturally pluralistic society so that people from different ethnic backgrounds could live in harmony and peace.  He attributed the strength and perpetuity of the forces of ethnicity to its natural, biological origin.[37]

Mary Antin’s handling of her ethnic identity sharply contrasted with that of Kallen.  She spent one whole chapter in The Promised Land describing the years of drastic changes she experienced within herself.  In a chapter entitled “Miracles,” she discussed the years of significant change she experienced as a child.  As young Mary downplayed her ethnicity to emphasize her American-ness, she also became indifferent to her religion.  One day after immigrating to the United States, her Jewish schoolmates mocked her because she was not sufficiently religious as a Jew.  Reflecting upon the dispute in the schoolyard, she wrote “[t]he actual point at issue was as little as ever to me, but I perceived that a crowd of Free Americans [her schoolmates] were disputing the right of a Fellow Citizen [Antin] to have any kind of God she chose. . .. ‘This is a free country’ I reminded them in the middle of the argument.”[38]  This was when she was about fifteen and was in the sixth grade, less than two years since she had come to the United States.  While Kallen emphasized the stability of ethnicity, Antin, even when she was young, consciously denied her ethnic identity.  It is ironic that Antin, who initially refused Jewish religion strongly to become a better American, became increasingly religious later in her life.  However, no matter how religious she became, she did not return to the Jewish religion. 

It should be noted that despite these differences in their understanding of ethnicity, Kallen and Antin both believed in the importance of American democracy and tried to emphasize their notion of ethnic identity to promote democracy in the United States.  Kallen believed in the maintenance of separate ethnic identities because the act of Americanizing immigrants was undemocratic.  He argued that America should be a “symphony of civilization” in which all kinds of ethnic groups lived in harmony while maintaining their own distinct ethnic cultures.[39]   For Antin, however, American democracy meant the freedom to deny and denounce one’s own ethnicity and to simply become an American.  Ethnicity was not something essential for individual members of the society as long as they could become Americans.  Both firmly believed in the need to promote American democracy and yet differed sharply in their visions for realizing that democracy. 

These differences were intimately related to their personal, biographical experiences that shaped their thoughts.  Despite the fact that both were Jewish immigrants from Europe (Kallen had immigrated from Berenstadt, Silesia of Wilhelmine Germany, and Antin was from Polotzk in imperial Russia) and were similar in their ages (Kallen was born in 1882, and Antin in 1881), their lives differed considerably.  In the following, I will indicate three primary differences in their lives—their economic backgrounds, their educational backgrounds, and their social—personal—lives.  These differences made them assume a different stance to the significance of ethnic identity and the idea of unity. 

Antin devoted half of the book portraying her childhood in Polotzk, and another half to describing how her family managed to settle in the United States.  Her account of the childhood in Russia describes the dreadful threat of “pogrom,” and how cruelly Jews were treated by Gentiles in every sphere of their lives.  Although she also talked fondly about the rural life in an orthodox Jewish community, the fear and anger toward anti-Semitism was strong.[40]  Although Antin wished to go to America, to “the promised land,” as soon as she could, her family did not have enough money allow the whole family immigrate to America at the same time.  So Mary Antin needed to wait till her father had settled there.  She was thirteen-year-old when she finally arrived in America. 

On the other hand, compared with most other Jewish immigrants who were poor, Kallen was born to a relatively affluent family and received a good education and later had an impressive career as a teacher and philosopher.  He came to America from Germany when he was only five years old, before he was old enough to really understand the culture and society of his native country.  He attended American public schools and then Harvard.  Later, he became a member of the intellectual elite in the United States.  True, Kallen was a member of a minority group in American society.  Kallen’s father was an orthodox Rabbi, and Kallen, like many other Jewish immigrants, attended Cheder as a boy and learned Torah.  However, he was raised as an American from almost the begging of his life.  Since young Horace Kallen felt his father was overly “proud, demanding, [and] domineering,” he did not turn to his Jewish identity until one of his college professor, Barrett Wendell, encouraged Kallen to return to his religious beliefs and Jewish ethnicity.[41]  In any case, Kallen was able to lead a relatively wealthy and comfortable life, thanks to his family background.

The immigration experiences of Kallen and Antin were very different, but they were not the only events that made them take different positions to the notion of ethnicity and stance toward the nation.  Their education and career backgrounds were also very different.  The Antins were too poor to send all their children to school.  Although sending all his children to school was their father’s most ardent wish, his oldest daughter, Frieda had to give up going to school to support the family.  While Frieda went to work, Mary and the other two children went to school.  On the other hand, as noted above, during the years the Antins struggled with poverty in Boston’s poor neighborhood, Kallen was attending Harvard.  He proved himself a brilliant student, and graduated from the college magna cum laude three years later.  He then received post-graduate education at Princeton, Oxford, and Sorbonne.  Mary Antin was also a bright student, and even attended Teachers College of Colombia and Barnard College.  But she was not able to finish and receive a college degree.  She gave up her college education, and she married a non-Jewish college professor when she was twenty. 

Finally, the personal lives of Kallen and Antin sharply contrasted with each other.  They were both “inter-married” with someone who had different ethnic backgrounds.  While Kallen was happily married to a devoted wife from a Methodist family, Antin, who married a son of a German-born immigrant, was later abandoned by her husband.  Antin’s husband, Amadeus William Grabau was a son of a Lutheran minister and was a well-known geologist teaching at Colombia University.  As a scientist Grabau admired German science, and refused to give up his pro-German attitude even after the start of World War I.  Because he was a German sympathizer, his professorship at Colombia became increasingly uncomfortable.  In those years, Mary Antin suffered from neurasthenia and she never recovered completely.  The two finally separated in 1919, when Grabau was dismissed from Colombia.  In the following year, Grabau went to China, where he stayed the rest of his life.[42]

Antin first devoted her life praising American idealism through writing.  After her husband left her, her main interest shifted to the religious and spiritual life.[43]  She suffered from illnesses from time to time and was often prevented from writing.  In 1917, after moving out of her husband’s house, Antin wrote to Kallen and said, “I’m just emerging after a long illness.”[44]  She described her illness as “a nervous breakdown,” “a psyco-neurosis,” and “a deep soul-sickness.”[45]  Throughout the latter half of her life, she sought spiritual quest through various venues including Christianity, Indian mysticism, and occult mysticism which was called “illuminations.”  On the other hand, Kallen never became particularly religious.  Although he became a Zionist when he was a graduate school student, his main concern was Jewish ethnicity rather than religion.  Kallen was a secure and secular modern intellectual elite living comfortably in New York City.

Thus, although Antin and Kallen were both Jewish immigrants from Europe and became popular writers, their personal experiences were almost diametrically opposed to each other.  And these differences seemed to have had an important impact on how they viewed themselves as well as the American society.  Antin, whose life remained insecure, devoted her life advocating the importance of assimilation so that she may enjoy more stability and security.  In contrast, Kallen, who was enjoying a comfortable life, espoused the value of Cultural Pluralism.  Antin accommodated herself to the American way, and Kallen advocated ethnic diversity.  Antin, whose social position was weak, willingly tried to conform with the value of the established society, while Kallen, a powerful man who was a part of the elite and established society, criticized that society even though he enjoyed many of the privileges it offered.  Antin’s vision of America was a nation of monolithic cultural value in which she became a part like everyone else.  Kallen’s vision allowed for more differences even though he was not that different from many other non-Jewish white elite men of the time. 

In short, Kallen’s life was “secure,” while Antin’s life remained rather “insecure.”  Mary Antin’s experience in life involved official persecution in her native country.  The experience of immigration, even though it was considered a joyous event for her, resulted in drastic changes, including poverty and unhappy marriage.  What she wanted to acquire through Americanizing herself might have been the same thing as what she sought in mysticism: security, stability and confidence.  For her, becoming a better American meant getting more security.  While insecurity made Antin devote herself to Americanization, Kallen’s secure life as an elite American intellectual made him resist assimilation.  She described Jews as convertible people who would make good Americans.  For Kallen, on the other hand, claiming Jewish-ness was nothing that harmed his class, career, and citizenship, or any other rights he enjoyed in the society. 

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, two most serious crises that threatened American Jews were “assimilation” and “anti-Semitism.”[46]  Those who thought their crisis was “assimilation” wanted to protect their Jewish-ness.  Those who had suffered from persecution were concerned with “anti-Semitism.”  Horace Kallen regarded that “assimilation” was the crisis that threatened and challenged American Jews.  Thus he advocated pluralism to protect Jewish-Americans and other hyphenated Americans from assimilation.  On the other hand, for many Jewish immigrants like Anitn, the most serious threat was “anti-Semitism.”  In contrast with Kallen, Antin’s wish was not to remain different and conspicuous but to assimilate into the American society as much as possible.  Even though they shared the same ethnic background, differences in their personal backgrounds resulted in different visions of ethnicity ant America. 

Kallen’s advocacy of pluralism was based on his secure life as an elite in America.  Kallen could essentialize the notion of ethnicity because he was powerful and privileged enough to do so.  The stability he enjoyed enabled him to claim “Cultural Pluralism” theory.  This suggests that Cultural Pluralism was a theory that could be advocated by a socially privileged class, rather than by people of underprivileged minority who were doing their best to become a part of American society.  Antin’s life was a sharp contrast to Kallen’s life, and it suggests his privileged social status was one of the key factors that enabled Kallen to advocate Cultural Pluralism.



3.      Pluralism versus the Melting-Pot: Gender in Cultural Pluralism


In the previous section, I discussed Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism by comparing him with Mary Antin.  In this section, I will compare Cultural Pluralism with the ideas expressed in The Melting Pot, which was written by a popular Jewish-British author Israel Zangwill (1864-1926).  As the title of his famous essay, “Democracy versus the Melting-Pot,” suggests, Kallen was far from impressed by The Melting Pot, which was first staged in 1908.  According to Kallen, the image of the United Sates as a “melting pot” was “a delusion” and “its imputed harmony with democracy” was “a snare.”[47]  Zangwill was “at best. . . the obverse of Dickens,” and “at worst. . . a Jew making a special Plea.”[48]  Kallen believed in the kind of democracy that promised the people freedom to maintain their ethnicity rather than the one that dissolved their identities.  Despite the fact that both Kallen and Zangwill explored the ideal form of American democracy, their visions and conclusions differed considerably.[49]

The plot of The Melting Pot is simple, but the message is complex.  It is a love story which takes place in early twentieth-century New York.[50]  David Quixano is a Russian born Jewish American who has a genius for music.  He falls in love with Vera Revendal, a Russian immigrant who, despite her noble heritage, feels independent of her past and family background.  She is an idealist who works in a settlement that cares for the newly arrived European immigrants.[51]  The two become close, but they soon learn that Vera’s father was an officer who led soldiers to massacre Jews in Russia, including David’s family.  David, who is obsessed with the memory of the massacre, refuses Vera, by claiming that she is “the butcher’s daughter,” and “[t]here is a river of blood between us.”[52]  However, the ending of the play is left rather ambiguous.  Daniel Walden argues that ultimately “Vera forgives David as she realizes that he must go his way and she hers.”  He concludes that even though that “they do not marry, they are united in the spiritual love that Zangwill hoped would come to unite all Americans.”[53]  Despite the ambiguity of the conclusion, at the very least, it seems the two reconcile with the tragic incident that took place in the Old World.  Rather, they look toward the future.  What binds the couple together is not a romantic love, but a spiritual love of human “brotherhood.”  Thus, according to Zangwill’s vision, the America as the “melting pot” was even capable of reconciling the most profound hatred among different ethnic groups.  

The image of the United States as the “melting pot” had been “a metaphor for the process of fundamental transformation” in conventional English usage even before Zangwill’s play became a big hit.[54]  After its successful long run in New York in 1909, the phrase “melting pot” became a widely known slogan to promote and celebrate the unity of the Americans.  As mentioned above, Kallen did not view this popularity of the melting pot image favorably and he positioned his “Cultural Pluralism” theory as a counterpart to the message embodied by Zangwill’s play.  He argued that the concept of the “melting pot” was synonymous with Americanization, standardization, assimilation, Anglo-conformity, and the ideology of the Ku Klux Klan.  Such a notion of “melting” into an American was antithetical to Kallen’s ideal that emphasized the plurality and coexistence of different ethnic groups.  However, it should be noted here that Kallen, like most other viewers and readers of the play, simplified the message represented in Zangwill’s play.  Although Zangwill’s representation of the melting pot was (and is today) often understood as a happy dissolution of ethnic identity to create a unity among people, his play was in fact full of agony and dilemma.  As Neil Shumsky writes, the message of the play was more than “the simple notion that Americans can create a homogeneous culture.”[55]  Rather, the play included struggles over control and independence between fathers and children, men and women, Americans and immigrants, and Christians and Jews.  In particular, Zangwill’s handling of the relationship between men and women deserves.  In the following, I will focus on how Kallen and Zangwill understood the role of women in making an ideal society.

One of the metaphors Kallen frequently used in explaining his notion of ethnic identity was the image of a grandfather.  He repeatedly argued that the ethnic identity of an immigrant remained the same because “whatever else he changes, he cannot change his grandfather.”[56]  No matter how much the immigrants tried to change their traditional clothing and religions, they could not change the identity of their grandfathers, which, according to Kallen was passed down from generation to generation.[57]  In contrast, he never invoked the image of a grandmother when discussing the significance of ethnic identity.[58]  This is rather curious because women in Jewish communities are generally given important roles.  As is widely known, Jewish identity is inherited maternally.  A person is regarded as a Jew if his or her mother is a Jew.  Thus, the Jewish Messenger, a traditionalist Jewish newspaper asserted in 1876 that “[t]he women of Israel have at all times been the conservators of our hallowed creed.”[59]  However, Kallen’s writing hardly recognized the women’s role in keeping the ethnic identity.

In contrast, Zangwill’s play gives a significant role to the figure of a grandmother in Frau Quixano.  She is David’s grandmother and serves as a symbol of the old Jewish tradition which David tries to abandon so that he could throw himself into the American melting pot.[60]  Frau Quixano is an old, traditional Jewish woman, still wearing a black wig (like many Russian Jewish women did).  She speaks only Yiddish, which is “the language of the Russian Pale.”[61]  However, even though she is somewhat awkward with her language and cultural behaviors, she is not depicted as a comical figure.  Rather, Zagnwill portrays her in a dignified and venerable manner.  Although she has lived in the United States for a decade, she remains very religious, as many Russian Jews used to be in Russia, and acts as the keeper of a traditional Jewish household in the American society.  Although David wants to become more like other Americans, he cannot abandon his ethnic background entirely because it is going to hurt the feeling of his sweet grandmother.  To marry a non-Jewish woman and to become more like American, David leaves his home and grandmother without telling the truth.[62] 

In contrast with Zangwill’s portrayal of woman, Kallen’s writings failed to position women as an independent being with their own sense of ethnic identity.  He once wrote that “[m]en may change their clothes, their politics, their wives, their religions, their philosophies, to a greater or lesser extent: [but] they cannot change their grandfathers.”[63]  According to this logic, when a man married a woman of different ethnic background, it was the man who should retain his ethnic identity.  He argued that when a couple of different ethnic backgrounds got married and made an inter-cultural household, such a family “tend[s] to be unstable ones, inclined to sterility.”[64]  Therefore, unless the wife changed her ethnic identity to conform with that of her husband, the couple couldn’t make a good family.  Indeed, Kallen retained his sense of Jewish identity when he married a non-Jewish woman.  Rachel Kallen, who came from a Quaker-Methodist background, changed her religious practice and, in a way, changed “her grandfather” because she had to renounce her ethnic and cultural heritage she had inherited from her family.  And Rachel “practiced the rituals of Judaism more carefully than her secular husband, who ought to have wondered how his credo that ancestry was fixed applied to her.”[65]  The couple had two children, and they were brought up Jewish.  Historian Arthur Mann writes, “[t]heir son, despite a Quaker grandfather and a Methodist great-grandfather, was brought up in the tradition of his Jewish grandparent.  This genealogical footnote reveals that the boundaries of cultural pluralism were more fluid in life than in theory.”[66]  Despite the fluidity, however, Kallen was able to keep his “grandfather,” thanks to his wife.  

The characters in Zangwill’s The Melting Pot stand sharply in contrast with Kallen’s image and handling of women.  Vera is presented not as a helpless little girl but a mature independent woman who can control her own life and ethnic identity.  When given a chance to return to Russia, she refuses and willingly forsake her claim to the Russian nobility status.  She explains to her father that she would not accept his orders.  “In Russia, I fought against the [in America] I fought against poverty.  No, father, a woman who has once heard the call will always be a wild creature.”[67]  Even when her father finds out Vera’s husband-to-be is Jewish, the ethnic group he feels very hostile to, there is nothing he can do to stop her from marrying him.  The father bitterly says, “what influence have I on Vera?”[68]  Neither does David have any control over Vera’s understanding of her ethnic identity.  Vera says she will not consider living with David’s traditional Jewish household even when they get married.  When Vera and David are thinking of get married, it is David who has to leave the home, though the move does not necessarily signify his conversion to Christianity.  Nor does Vera convert to Judaism either.  When her father asks Vera whether she became a Jew, she answers “[n]o more than David became a Christian.”[69]  Vera and David influence each other, and the interaction creates new values and orders rather than assimilation into the identity of one or the other.

Just like in the play (and just like Kallen), Zangwill married a non-Jewish woman.  His wife turned out to be very different from someone like Rachel Kallen and similar to Vera Revendal.  His wife, Edith Ayrton, was a feminist, novelist, and social activist, who valued her independence.[70]  The partnership with Ayrton led Zangwill to become more concerned with equal human rights between men and women as well as among various ethnic groups.[71]   

Perhaps because of Zangwill’s social background, he took women’s role seriously in The Melting Pot.  Even though Kallen criticized the play harshly as undemocratic—and today the “assimilationist” idea expressed in Zangwill’s play is no longer regarded favorably by most scholars—it should be noted that Zangwill’s treatment of women was far more sensitive and understanding than that of Kallen.  In contrast with The Melting Pot, which took the role and agency of women seriously in bringing about the ideal American society, Cultural Pluralism theory did not include women as integral agents.  Kallen’s definition of ethnicity was colored by his masculine and paternalistic.  His claim also contained a logical problem because he argued that ethnicity was something that was not alterable, and yet at the same time, he assumed that women would simply acquiesce to changing their ethnicity to conform to their husbands’ identity.  “Cultural Pluralism,” which was supposed to enhance sensitivity toward cultural differences, was surprisingly oblivious to gender sensitivity.     

Kallen and Zangwill were both successful Jewish intellectuals who were married to non-Jewish women.  They were also Zionists who led Jewish movements in the early twentieth century.  Kallen became one of the founding members of the first American Menorah association founded at Harvard University in 1906.  He became a life long Zionist from that time.  Zangwill began his Zionist activities in Europe around 1895 and continued his activism.  As a successful Jewish author, he was a member of the first World Zionist congress held in Switzerland in 1897.  Both Kallen and Zangwill wrote many articles on Jewish questions on various occasions.[72]  As turn-of-century Zionists who faced the threats of anti-Semitism and assimilation, both Kallen and Zangwill saw America as a New Jerusalem or the “Promised Land” for Jewish people.  And one wrote essays advocating Cultural Pluralism theory and the other wrote The Melting Pot.

Kallen argued that the American society ought to become a “commonwealth of national cultures,” “orchestration of mankind” that would make “the symphony of civilization.”[73]  Zangwill also drew an analogy between American diversity and “symphony.”[74]  He stated that American can become “the Mosaic Commonwealth,” “new Land of Promise,” and “a land of liberty...[that] should preserve that spirit of William Penn which President Wilson has so nobly characterized.”[75]  The words they used were similar, but their meanings were very different.  Kallen’s vision of ideal America was a “federal republic,” where people retreated to their own ethnic communities without really seriously interacting with people of different background.  In his version of idealized America, there was very little space for different people to be influenced by each other and gain new values.  For Kallen, democracy in the United States was supposed to provide “freedom of association of the people, among the people, with the people” in each ethnic group.[76]  However, Kallen actually downplayed the individuals’ possibility for associating with and joining different social groups.  Although he called for “a voluntary association” of people, he assumed that “ancestry and familial connections,” which bound people as a social group, were a “fate” and “not choice.”[77]  Zangwill, on the other hand, considered that more intimate human interactions were inevitable in a multi-ethnic society like the U.S.  His idea of the “melting pot” represented the dynamic process of making people of “fifty groups. . . with fifty languages and histories. . . and fifty blood hatred and rivalries,” into “Americans,” while trying best to recognize and respect mutual differences.[78]  He explained the ideal Americanization process by arguing that “[t]he process of American amalgamation is not assimilation or simple surrender to the dominant type, as is popularly supposed, but an all-round give-and-take by which the final type may be enriched or impoverished.”[79]

The difference between Kallen and Zangwill is best symbolized in the two men’s attitudes toward the roles of women.  Kallen did not recognize women’s role in maintaining ethnic identity.  Neither did he regard women as independent being who should control their own ethnic identity.  In contrast, man’s ethnicity and his ethnic heritage were always stable and unchanging in the idea of Cultural Pluralism.  On the other hand, Zangwill emphasized mutual recognition of each other’s ethnicity and values between men and women while also searching for a larger framework that encompassed all the differences.  He treated ethnicity as something rather elusive and transformable, out of which a new sense of identity can be constructed.  And for Zangwill, the role of women was critical in this process as they played an instrumental role in bringing about changes.  Today, Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism has been hailed by many who regard it as an innovative precursor to today’s multiculturalism.  In contrast, the idea of the “melting pot” promoted by Zangwill has fallen into disrepute because it is considered as a concept that lacks sufficient attention to the value of differences among ethnic groups.  However, the comparison between the two shows that both were very much product of the time.  True, Zangwill simplified the new values and reduced them into what he called the “American way.”  As many critics point out, his rendering of America was almost too idealistic.  It was not so much a possible reality as a projection of a desire of a writer who was struggling to find the meaning of Jewishness in a hostile world.  And moreover, despite its attempt to find a balance between the value of ethnic identities and the need for a larger unifying value, it certainly did not solve the question of how one could achieve that balance, as is best exemplified in the conclusion of his play that remained ambiguous about the future of the two young lovers.  At the same time, Kallen’s theory of Cultural Pluralism also revealed its limits, particularly in its treatment of women.  Unlike Zangwill, who was unusually sensitive to women’s issue because of his family background, Kallen shared the social bias against women of the time despite his concern for the need to find a “place” for minority groups in the American society.





Kallen’s theory of and stance on Cultural Pluralism were soon forgotten in the United States after his first article appeared in 1915.  The publication of his book in 1924, the same year the law restricting immigration was passed, did not significantly change the situation.  The xenophobic atmosphere of the post World War I era was strong.  The Ku Klux Klan became powerful in the twenties.  Although Kallen was still remembered as an educator, his significance as a philosopher of Cultural Pluralism was ignored.  In the end of the twentieth century, however, Kallen and his Cultural Pluralism theory are remembered as one of the important keys for thinking about the right balance between the national unity and the cultural diversity.  From the current perspective, the most notable feature of Kallen’s idea is his advocacy of the pluralistic way of thinking, which seems to have clear resemblance with the current call for multiculturalism. 

However, I believe it is important to explore the differences as well as the similarities between Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism and today’s multiculturalism.  Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism ideal, which emphasized ethnic diversity rather than national unity, was supposed to bring democracy and egalitarianism to the society, just like much of the current multiculturalist efforts.  At the same time, as this paper has shown, his Cultural Pluralism theory was conditioned by historical as well as personal circumstances in which he lived.  The comparison of his ideas with those of Antin and Zangwill shows that Cultural Pluralism was a theory that could be advocated by a socially privileged minority who shared social bias against women of the time.  He essentialized ethnic boundaries and denied the wishes of those who simply tried to become “Americans” such as Mary Antin.  And his masculine perspective of the time prevented him from recognizing the transformative character of ethnic identity which Zangwill emphasized. 

The contextualization of his theory makes it clear that every theory is conditioned by the social and cultural circumstances in which it was shaped.  Although Cultural Pluralism and multiculturalism explored the same kind of issues, it is important to remember there were also significant differences.   When compared and contrasted with other contemporary writers who share the same ethnic background and the similar goal of making America into a “Promised Land” for Jews, Kallen’s unique contributions as well as his limits become more visible.  While we must recognize that Cultural Pluralism was a product of Kallen’s admirable effort to create the ideal American society, we should embrace it with some care and caution if we were to create an even more inclusive and understanding society.



* Graduate School of Sociology, Hitotubashi University, Tokyo, Japan

[1] Regarding multiculturalism, David Hollinger writes: “[m]ulticulturalism grew rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s by directing itself in simple terms against an evil widely resented, the narrowness of the prevailing culture of the United States.”  David Hollinger, Post Ethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 2.

[2] He later explained how he came up with the term “Cultural Pluralism.”  He first used the term “around 1906 or 1907,” about a decade before he wrote the essay in The Nation, “when Alain Locke was in a section of a class at Harvard.”  Horace Meyer Kallen, “Alain Locke and Cultural Pluralism,” The Journal of Philosophy 54 (1957), 119.  At that time, Kallen was a teaching assistant at Harvard for George Santayana (1863-1952), a prominent Spanish-born philosopher and poet, while Alain LeRoy Locke (1886-1954), one of the first black students in Harvard, and who later became a noted philosopher as well as a great educator of black people, was an undergraduate student.  Although Kallen did not mention in detail how Locke influenced the coining of the term “Cultural Pluralism,” it seems that Kallen came up with the phrase while in some kind of contact with Locke.  See Stephen J. Whitfield, “Introduction to the Transaction Edition,” in Horace Meyer Kallen, Culture and Democracy in the United States (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1998), ix-lxix.  See also, William Toll, “Horace M. Kallen: Pluralism and American Jewish Identity,” American Jewish History 85, no.1 (1997).

[3] Hollinger, Post Ethnic America, 11. 

[4] John Higham, Send These to Me: Jews and Other Immigrants in Urban America (New York: Atheneum, 1975).  Philip Gleason, “American Identity and Americanization,” in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Stephen Therustrom, ed., (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980).  Philip Gleason, Speaking of Diversity: Language and Ethnicity in Twentieth Century America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).  Werner Sollors, “A Critique of Pure Pluralism,” in Reconstructing American Literary History, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986): 250-279.     

[5] Gleason, “American Identity and Americanization,” 44.  

[6] See, for example, Sollors, “A Critique of Pure Pluralism,” 262. 

[7] Higham, Send These to Me, 208.

[8] Horace Meyer Kallen, “Philosophy Today and Tomorrow,” in American Philosophy Today and Tomorrow, Horace M. Kallen and Sidney Hook, eds., (Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1968), 250.  

[9] Sollors, “A Critique of Pure Pluralism,” 264-265. 

[10] According to Philip Gleason and John Higham, Kallen was driven to write the article because of Edward Alsworth Ross's (1866-1961) publication of The Old World in the New in 1914.  Ross, a “progressive” sociologist and Kallen’s colleague at the University of Wisconsin, advocated immigration restriction in The Old World in the New.  He argued that recent immigrants coming into the U.S., such as Jews and Irish, were inferior races, and they would destroy the great Anglo-Saxon tradition of the American nation.  According to Gleason, “[t]he appearance of The Old World in the New prompted him to set forth a radically antiassimilationist interpretation of American nationality in an article entitled ‘Democracy versus the Melting-Pot.”  Philip Gleason, Speaking of Diversity, 51.  John Higham relates Kallen’s article with Ross’s book more directly.  He writes that “When the prominent Wisconsin sociologist Edward A. Ross published a scathing assessment of the harm the newer foreign groups were doing to the United States, Kallen replied with a famous article in the Nation in 1915.”  Higham, Send These to Me, 206-207.

[11] Horace Meyer Kallen, Culture and Democracy in the United States: Studies in the Groups Psychology of the American People (New York: Anro Press and New York Times, 1970).  Original work published in 1924. 

[12] Ibid., 10.

[13] Kallen wrote that “[t]he standpoint of these essays can be described briefly as Cultural Pluralism.  The outcome of the observations they embody is the view that democracy is an essential prerequisite to culture, that culture can be and sometimes is a fine flowering of democracy, and that the history of the relation of the two in the United States exhibits this fact.”  Ibid., 10-11. 

[14] Ibid., 43. 

[15] Ibid., 124. 

[16] Ibid., 124.

[17] Ibid., 124.

[18] It must be noted, however, that what Kallen meant by “harmony” was “harmonies of European civilization.”  Ibid., 124. 

[19] “Kulter” is “culture” in German and it often denotes the spiritual culture that Nazis utilized for totalitarianism. 

[20] Kallen suggested four elements which led people to advocate the idea of the melting pot.  Those elements were industrialized mass consumption in an industrial society, mass media, peoples’ mobility, and the education in public schools, all of which were strongly present in the contemporary American society.  Kallen lamented that Americans wore “ready-made garments,” furnished their homes with “factory-made furniture,” watched the same movies, listened to the same radio programs, and generally conformed to the same “American” standard.  He was concerned with American peoples’ mobility because it led “to the propinquity of the different stocks, thus promoting intermarriage and pointing to the coming of a new ‘American race.’”  Kallen criticized public schools, saying they were “the instrument” of Americanization or Anglo-Saxonization.  Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 85. 

[21] Philip Gleason explains the popularity of the play as follows: “The play was popular, the title was known to hundreds of thousands who never saw it performed, the times required discussion of immigration and there was need for a handy and generally accepted symbol for the whole complicated business—more favorable circumstance for launching the new symbol could hardly imagined.” Philip Gleason, “The Melting-Pot: Fusion or Confusion?” American Quarterly 16 (1964), 24.

[22] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 79.

[23] Ibid., 86.

[24] Outlook 137, no.2, 14 May 1924, 70.

[25] The New York Times Book Review, 20 April, 1924, 3.

[26] Gleason, Speaking of Diversity, 52-53.  Although Kallen’s essay published in 1915 failed to attract much attention, it stimulated Randolph Bourne (1886-1918), an essayist, to write “Trans-national America.”  Randolph Bourne, The Atlantic Monthly 118 (July 1916): 86-97.  Bourne stated Kallen’s influence on his idea of “transnationalism” in a speech he gave before the Harvard Menorah Society in 1916.  Bourne said “my own mind was set working on the whole idea of American national ideals by the remarkable articles of Dr. Kallen in The Nation last year.”  Randolph Bourne, “Toward a Transnational America” (1916), in The Menorah Treasury: Harvest of Half a Century, Leo W. Schwarz ed. (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1964), 852.

[27] “Kallen, Horace Meyer,” Current Biography October 1953: 46-48.

[28] “Dr. Horace Kallen, Philosopher, Dies,” New York Times, 17 February 1974, 66. 

[29] Stephen J. Whitfield, “Kallen, Horace Meyer” (1994), in Dictionary of American Biography [CD-ROM] (New York: Charles and Scriber’s Sons, 1997).

[30] Philip Gleason, “American Identity and Americanization,” in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephen Therustrom (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980): 31-57, 57.

[31] Hollinger says “[t]he ideas of both Kallen and [Randolph] Bourne enjoy a revival within multiculturalism, but this new movement is much more popular than cultural pluralism had ever been.”  Hollinger, Post Ethnic America, 12.   In his book of study on multiculturalism and American nationality, Michael Lind calls Kallen and Bourne “[t]he two saints of American cultural pluralism.”  Michael Lind, The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution (New York: Free Press, 1995), 80.

[32] Mary Antin, The Promised Land (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin Company, 1969), 5.  Original work was published in 1912.  

[33] Ibid., 186.

[34] Ibid., 206.

[35] Ibid., 242.

[36] Horace Meyer Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 96.

[37] Warner Sollors points out “[d]espite his claim for static ethnic persistence Kallen was ethnicized in a modern environment, as a result of reading and by an act of will rather than in the spirit of his own father.  His ethnicity was a product of a transethnic experience of modernism, not of any tradition of ‘ethnic experience.’”  Sollors, “A Critique of Pure Pluralism,” 275.  Stephen Whitfield suggests Kallen, who immigrated when he was very young and assimilated in the American society, did not have stable Jewish cultural experience.  Unlike other Jewish Americans who had stronger Jewish ethnic background, Kallen was “grown up in a home that spoke neither Yiddish nor Hebrew, but German,” Whitfield says.  Stephen J. Whitfield, “Introduction to the Transaction Edition,” in Horace Meyer Kallen, Culture and Democracy (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1998), xxiii-xxiv.

[38] Antin, The Promised Land, 243.

[39] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 125.

[40] Although Mary Antin had never seen the “pogrom,” she knew it because she had heard about it quite often.  According to Antin, “Jews who escaped the pogroms came to Polotzk [where the Antins lived] with wounds on them, and horrible, horrible stories, of little babies torn limb from limb before their mothers’ eyes.  Only to hear these things made one sob and sob and choke with pain.  People who saw such things never smiled any more, no matter how long they lived; and sometimes their hair turned white in a day, and some people became insane on the spot.”  The image of pogrom haunted little Antin, and on one Christian holiday, she thought a pogrom had broken out in her neighborhood.  She said, “I never was in an actual pogrom, but there were times when it threatened us, even in Polotzk; and in all my fearful imagining, as I hid in dark corners, thinking of the horrible things the Gentiles were going to do to me, I saw the cross, the cruel cross. . ..  The Gentiles were going to tear me in pieces, with axes and knives and ropes.  They were going to burn me alive.  The cross—the cross!  What would they do to me first?”  Antin, The Promised Land, 8, 9.  

[41] Sollors, “A Critique of Pure Pluralism,” 263.   Kallen wrote of the influence he received in the following way.  “Wendell’s history crystallized in my mind into a new outlook, the results of which were: first, discovery of the meaning of “equal” as used in Declaration; second, recognition of the social role of freedom and of individual and group differences, later to be expounded at length in my own philosophy; and finally, such a reappraisal of my Jewish affiliations as required an acquiescence in my Jewish inheritance and heritage, an expanding exploration into the content and history of both, and a progressively greater participation in Jewish communal enterprises.”  Milton M. Gordon, Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), 143.     

[42] Antin’s biographical information is taken from Lina Mainiero, ed., American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, vol. 1: A to F (New York: Fredric Unger Publishing Co., 1982): 61-62, Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard, 1951): 57-59, and Dictionary of American Biography [CD-ROM] (1974) (Charles and Scriber’s Sons Reference Books, 1997).  Mary Antin’s biographical information is also found in Evelyn Salz, “The Letters of Mary Antin: A Life Divided,” American Jewish History 84, no.2 (1996), and Oscar Handlin, “Forward,” in Mary Antin, The Promised Land, second ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969): v-xv.    

[43] Iseael Zangwill provided “a forward” to the first book of Antin, which was published when she was sixteen.  In the forward, Zangwill predicted Antin’s nervous break down.  He said, “[l]ike most modern Jewesses who have written, she is, I fear, destined to spiritual suffering.”  Mary Antin, From Plotzk to Boston, with a forward by Israel Zangwill (Boston: W.B. Clarke & Co., Park Street Church, 1899), 9.  Antin’s birthplace was spelled as “Plotzk” in 1899.  However, it was spelled as “Polotzk” in The Promised Land published in 1912. 

[44] Salz, “The Letters of Mary Antin: A Life Divided,” 75.

[45] Ibid., 75.

[46] Seth Kerelitz, “ The Menorah Idea: From Religion to Culture, from Race to Ethnicity,” American Jewish History 85, no. 1 (1997), 80.  

[47] Horace Meyer Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 126. 

[48] Ibid., 86.

[49] However, as I will show later in the text, Kallen and Zangwill had similar Zionist ideas.  For example, Zangwill emphasized the presence of Jewish elements in American Puritanism, just like Barrett Wendell who was Kallen’s teacher.  Kallen argued the same later.  In the play, David Quxano, the main character, tells a son of an American millionaire who is anti-Semitic that he is “a Jew who knows that your Pilgrim Fathers came straight out of his Old Testament, and that our Jew-immigrants are a great commonwealth than some of you sons of the soil.”  Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot: A Drama in Four Acts (London: William Heinemann, 1915), 87.    

[50] Zangwill noted that the Quixano residence was in “the Richmond or non-Jewish borough of New York.”  Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 1.

[51] Vera works at a settlement where “Miss Andrews” is in charge.  “Miss Andrew” echoes the name of Jane Addams, who ran a settlement in Chicago.  Zangwill quotes Addams in the “Afterwoed” of the book The Melting Pot.  According to him, she told him that The Melting Pot offered “a great service to America by reminding us of the high hopes of the founders of the Republic.”  Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 216.  

[52]Ibid., 155. 

[53] Daniel Walden, “Israel Zangwill,” in Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 10: Modern British Dramatists, 1900-1945 Part 2 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1982), 241.  

[54] Gleason, “American Identity and Americanization,” 38.

[55] Neil Larry Shumsky, “Zangwill’s The Melting Pot: Ethnic Tensions on Stage,” American Quarterly 27, no. 1 (1975): 29-41, 30.       

[56] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 94.

[57] Ibid., 124.

[58] True, it must be acknowledged here that Kallen did not disagree with the significance of the role of women in cultural tradition.  He admitted “the cultural tradition was left largely to its women” since the colonial era.  He said while men were at field working and adventuring as the pioneer, women had “the adventure of pioneer in culture.”  But his belief in the women’s role in maintaining the tradition was not necessarily related to maintaining ethnic identity.  Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 18.  

[59] Paula E. Hyman, Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History: The Roles and Representation of Women (Seattle: The University of Washington Press, 1995), 29.

[60] Frau Quixano “symbolizes everything that David is trying to reject.”  Shumsky, “Zangwill’s The Melting Pot,” 33.   

[61] Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 20.

[62] Ibid., 98.

[63] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 122.  My emphasis. 

[64] Ibid., 189.

[65] Whitfield, “Introduction to the Transaction edition,” xlviii-xlix. 

[66] Ibid., xlix. 

[67] Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 119.

[68] Ibid., 108.

[69] Ibid., 124.

[70] Walden, “Israel Zangwill,” 240.  Zangwill’s biographic information is also found in Meri-Jane Rochelson, “Israel Zangwill,” in Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 135: British Short Fiction Writers, 1800-1914, the Realist Tradition (Detroit: Gale Research, 1994): 362-378.

[71] Elsie Bonita Adams, Israel Zangwill (New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1971), 23.  In addition, Zangwill’s biographer also points out that he inherited his political activism and fearless independence from his mother, Ellen Marks Zangwill, who was more assertive and freethinking than her husband.  Rochelson, “Israel Zangwill,” 364. 

[72] See, for example, Leo W. Schwarz, ed., The Menorah Treasury: Harvest of Half a Century.  See also, Israel Zangwill, Speeches, Articles, and Letters of Israel Zangwill, selected and edited by Maurice Simon, with a Foreword by Edith Ayrton Zangwill, (Westport: Hyperion Press,Inc., 1976).

[73] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 116, 124-125.

[74] Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 32.

[75] Ibid., 203 and 208.

[76] Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 198. 

[77] Ibid., 198.

[78] Zangwill, The Melting Pot, 33.

[79] Ibid., 203.