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Did America become culturally diverse in only the past quarter century, or has the country in fact been diverse since its beginning? During a Bradley Lecture at AEI on Monday evening, AEI's own Michael Barone revealed how surges of migrations to and within America shaped the political and socioeconomic spheres of the nation, topics which he explores in his just-released book, "Shaping Our Nation."
According to Barone, the four surges of migration were the Scots-Irish, who arrived before and after the Revolutionary War; the Irish and German migrations that began with the 1846 potato famine; the early–20th century Ellis Island migration of Southern Europeans, Slavs, Slovaks, and Jews; and finally, the recently tapered migration of Latin Americans that began in the 1970s. Aside from those surges, stressed Barone, internal movement also altered the landscape of America.
Barone predicted that in the future, there will be a surge in Asian or Sub-Saharan African immigration. As in the past, these immigrants will struggle to assimilate, but Barone suggested a ready-made solution to this challenge: the US Constitution. Cohesion was something the founders grappled with when forming a union out of 13 disparate and culturally diverse colonies. Because of this, they created what Barone calls a "ready and useful template" for bringing all types of people together to form a unified yet multicultural nation.
Michael Barone’s newly released book, “Shaping Our Nation” (Crown Forum, October 2013), is the story of how America was peopled in very large part by surges of migration, internal and immigrant, which each lasted only one or two generations. Almost no one predicted when they would start, and few predicted when they would suddenly end. While these surges have built a strong nation, they have also caused conflicts.
In this Bradley Lecture, Barone will discuss how these migrations shaped America’s history. Books will be available for sale at the event.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Karlyn Bowman, AEI
Michael Barone, AEI
Adjournment and Reception
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Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at AEI. He is a contributor to Fox News Channel, author of “Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics (Crown Forum, October 2013), and coauthor of “The Almanac of American Politics.” Over the years, he has written for many publications in the United States and several other countries, including The Economist, the Times Literary Supplement, the Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Times of London. Barone received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2010, the Barbara Olsen Award from The American Spectator in 2006, and the Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association in 1992. Barone lives in Washington, DC. He has traveled to all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts. He has also traveled to 54 foreign countries and has reported on recent elections in Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and Mexico.
Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, she has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.