What Are Benefits of the Americanization Movement?

The Americanization movement, also called naturalization, provided foreign-born residents of the United States with training in American history, the English language and American customs to facilitate job placement and cultural assimilation. The concept of Americanization started during the early 1900s, before the U.S. engaged in World War I. Americans realized the dual benefits of receiving immigrants into the American workforce and providing training and education for those workers.

At the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. placed fairly loose restrictions on immigrants; the nation received travelers en masse from around the world. Some arrived in the U.S. with basic or advanced knowledge of English while others did not. The Americanization movement, generated primarily by libraries, businesses and bureaus, provided training sessions for immigrants to facilitate and expedite transition to the American society and work culture. Naturalization trained large numbers of immigrants in various areas, such as industrial work and manual labor. Immigrants, in turn, boosted the American economy by filling job vacancies in warehouses and production facilities.

Despite benefiting the economy, enthusiasm for the Americanization movement waned after World War II. Immigration laws tightened, imposing limitations on the quantity of immigrants accepted into the U.S. and countries of origin. Native-born Americans questioned the value of forcing conformity, arguing that imposing assimilation contradicts the American values of freedom and liberty.