We Can’t Digest the Scum
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Columbus Dispatch, reprinted in Billy Ireland
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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