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Question 1

What was the origin of the term "melting pot" as a metaphor for the assimilation of immigrants into a common American culture?

a) Popularity of the peasant dish fondue, from the French fondre, "to melt."
b) A play with a Romeo and Juliet style plot.
c) Derived from the steel industry, it refers to molten iron.



The term melting pot came from a 1908 play by English writer Israel Zangwill. The melodrama transposed the plot of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to New York City, with the star-crossed lovers now from Russian Jewish and Russian Cossack backgrounds. In the play's climactic moment, the hero proclaims: "Understand that America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming! A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians—into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American."

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Charlie Chaplin with co-star Edna Purviance

With co-star Edna Purviance at his side, Charlie Chaplin takes in the sight of the Statue of Liberty in 1917's The Immigrant. Underlying the movie's slapstick comedy was a perceptive tale of the challenges faced by newcomers in getting to America and in adjusting to life in their new country.

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Sources: Trinity Test-AP, Mormon trumpeters-Bettmann/CORBIS, Book : Destination America

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