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We Can’t Digest the Scum

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We Can’t Digest the Scum

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Billy Ireland


Columbus Dispatch, reprinted in Billy Ireland

Publication Date:
March 4, 1919


Following the end of World War I, in 1919 and over the next few years, the United States experienced an economic recession and a large number of labor strikes. Meanwhile, the 1917 Russian Revolution had brought the anti-capitalist Bolsheviks, or Communists, to power. The result was a “red scare” in which many Americans feared that radical immigrants and home-grown revolutionaries threatened the U.S. government and capitalist economy. There was a particular concern that immigrants would not fit into America. This fear was a reversal of the traditional American ideal of the “melting pot,” the view that American society and culture dissolved the differences among immigrants to create a unified society.

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