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What is the melting pot theory?

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Quick Answer

The melting pot theory is a metaphor for describing the assimilation of immigrants into American culture. It relies on the image of people from different cultures and backgrounds mixing and melting together into one big cultural pot. The melting pot metaphor comes from the fusing together of melted metal material.

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What is the melting pot theory?
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Full Answer

The United States is often referred to as a melting pot of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It is an assimilation of cultures, ethnic origins, religions, ideas and traditions. This concept relies on the idea that everyone who lives in the United States becomes a part of a larger culture that is uniquely American.

In the days when heavy metal cooking pots were made in mills, several metals were melted down and fused together to create one strong pot. This is where the melting pot metaphor originated. Some melting pot theorists contend that the United States is a stronger country in large part because it welcomes people from all parts of the world. Each culture brings something unique to the mix, which makes for a much richer and more diverse country.

Some people are moving away from the traditional melting pot theory to adopt the pot of stew theory. In this view, people of various backgrounds add unique contributions that create a diverse cultural stew.

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