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[Detail] Vacuum cleaners on display at the J.C. Harding & Co.

4) Immigration

Although Prosperity and Thrift emphasizes domestic policy, readers have an opportunity to review a few documents regarding the “melting pot” approach to American immigration. Searches on immigration and citizenship, for example, yield Pearl Idelia Ellis’ Americanization Through Homemaking, a primer on homemaking and citizenship for Mexican women immigrating to the United States.

Before discussing topics such as sewing, cooking, childcare, and motherhood (topics that the author acknowledges are applicable to all immigrant women), Ellis addresses the claim that the education of Mexican women will soon be irrelevant.

It has been said that since Mexico is developing irrigation projects to reclaim arid lands, building National highways, and about to furnish free textbooks to pupils, that immigration will decrease and the question of ‘restriction’ will regulate itself. Be that as it may, some will come and many will remain here. As an economic proposition in the Southwest they are a necessity. We who employ them are challenged to raise their standards of living, improve sanitation, and control disease. Strenuous efforts in that direction will redound to the public good. If we expect them to adopt our customs, our ideals, and our country, let us set them a most worthy example.

Americanization Through Homemaking

Compare this guide with A.C. Strange’s article, “Becoming an American” in The United American Magazine of Good Citizenship, a publication declaring itself "devoted to the cause of Americanization, assimilation and group elimination; pointing the way to a constitutional Americanism, to equality in citizenship, and a better understanding between native born and foreign born."

  • What assumptions does Ellis make about Mexican-Americans?
  • How does Ellis’ description of what it means to assimilate differ from Strange’s notions on citizenship?
  • What is the reason for these differences?