Friday, March 22, 2013

E Pluribus Unum

Great Seal of the U.S.
The United States of America has had, and still has, several mottos.

How many of you knew that?

In 1782, Congress approved "E Pluribus Unum" as the motto to be engraved on the first Great Seal of America.

It was originally proposed by Pierre Eugene DuSimitiere, who was a "Swiss-American," even though there was no such thing as a hyphenated American in those days.

"E" is actually Latin for "out of," or "from."

"Pluribus" is Latin for "many."

"Unum" means "one."

So the motto means: "From among many, one."

How often have you heard the United States of America referred to as "a melting pot."

This is where the idea comes from.

Regrettably, we have spent the last twenty or so years turning this around.

A melting pot is a large metal container in which one places two or more elements which are heated until they melt together making one substance, no part of which bears any resemblance to the original elements placed in the pot.

For instance, if one puts candle wax in a pot with food coloring, the result is a candle, not two separate hunks of wax and color.

That is what we are supposed to be, as a nation.

We are not to be Mexicans, Italians, Frenchmen, Irishmen, Iranians, Latvians, Ugandans and others, all living in their diverse cultures in one country, rather we are supposed to be an amalgamation of different cultures into one great culture called "Americans."

When my ancestors migrated to this country, some from Russia, they did not form a Russian neighborhood, with Russian culture, Russian language, Russian schools, etc.

No, they learned the English language, moved south, set up shops and learned how to melt and meld into a unified society.

My Irish ancestors, likewise moved south, set up shops and learned how to melt and meld into a unified society.

One of the ways they melded was through inter-marriage...with each other!

Otherwise, I would not be here.

Some might have preferred this.

But I digress.

"E Pluribus Unum" has, by design, 13 letters in it, representing the original 13 colonies.

Did you know that congress also approved three other mottos, which remain to this day?

They are: "Annuit Coeptis," which means, "God Favors Our Beginning," "Novus Ordo Seclorum," which means, "A New Order of the Ages," and "In God We Trust," which means, "In God We Trust."

The latter was adopted by Congress in 1956 under Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A, Chapter 3, Section 302 of the Congressional Record.

It is the law of the land.

See, that we are to be a united nation, not a nation of diverse cultures, is the reason we call ourselves "The United States of America."

The first job of our government, including the President, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, is to take steps to insure that we are UNITED.

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect state of cultural diversity..." is NOT a part of our Constitution's preamble.

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union..." IS.

18 comments:

Spidey said...

Having different opinions on the Israel/Palestine conflict: okay. Has any president ever shown such a complete change of position on a central matter of American foreign policy as Barack Obama has this week in relation to Israel and the Palestinians? NOT OKAY. Today's reason why liberals suck: Obama pretends to make a friendly visit to Israel,gets blowback from the Palestinians,then tells Israel all the problems are their fault.

I would love to say that obama is a communist jackass, but it's not as simple as that!
Bottom line: Obama stabbed Israel in the back again

Craig said...

What is your point. "E Pluribus Unum" meant "From among many", 13 colonies, "one", the U.S., under the umbrella of a strong but limited central govt. It had nothing to do with some amorphous "American culture". As long as you obey the rules and work hard, you're an American. Yeah, we've got a problem with undocumented workers, but the problem is with employers. I've been in the construction business for 40 years and in the last 15, or so, there's been an influx of Mexican workers, especially in roofing and drywall. They get hired because they are extremely hard workers, they're here for a better life, and the employers can pay them less because they are un documented.

They pay taxes, including SS and Medicare, which they will never collect. They aren't eligible for food stamps or TANF, contrary to popular belief. They're no different than your Russian and Irish ancestors who didn't need to wait in line to come here. If they made it here, they were in. They were no different in the way they were treated with suspicion and discriminated against, either.

When my ancestors migrated to this country, some from Russia, they did not form a Russian neighborhood, with Russian culture, Russian language, Russian schools, etc.

Then they were the exception, not the rule. In Minnesota, the culture is strongly influenced by Scandinavians, Germans, Czechs and Poles. The state is littered with towns that have names like New Ulm and New Prague. These towns printed newspapers in their native language. Official election instructions in the state at the turn of the 19th century were printed in 9 languages. Immigrants to the U.S. in the 19th and most of the 20th centuries didn't learn English until the 3rd generation, it's now the 2nd.

People still hold to their native culture. I can drive 5 minutes to the American Swedish Institute. It's huge and all things Swedish. If you like blonds, I recommend a visit. I can walk 6 blocks to the Museum of Russian Art. You might like that one, Joe. With the new Mexican immigrants, there are now dozens of places I can get a good tamale.

Ask Ducky about walking the Freedom Trail in North Boston to the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house. It runs right through Little Italy. How many big cities have a Chinatown or Koreatown. How about Little Havana in Miami. None of them gave up their culture and they are no less American than you and I.

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect state of cultural diversity..." is NOT a part of our Constitution's preamble.

Nope. It also doesn't say that you must give up your cultural identity to live here. "More perfect Union" didn't mean "more ideal", it meant "more complete". From the vernacular of the time, a "perfect" baby meant it had 10 fingers and 10 toes. A "perfect" bill meant it had completed all the necessary steps to become law.

There is something unique about America and it has nothing to do with abandoning one's heritage. We can be "exceptional" but not just because we're Americans. It's when we do things collectively (no, I'm not a commie) not as rugged individual sovereigns. We've always been a diverse nation. We've also always had people who believe there was once a fantasy, harmonious "American Culture" and live in constant fear of the "other".

Anonymous said...

Schmuck!

Ducky's here said...

Ask Ducky about walking the Freedom Trail in North Boston to the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house.

----

Also runs through the site of the old West End Ukrainian ghetto where my father grew up.

Joe, pick up a copy of Herbert Gans' "The Urban Villagers". Classic chronicle of the destruction of a thriving neighborhood to so called "urbsn development"

Shaw Kenawe said...

I live in Boston's North End, which at one time was the home of many of our colonial patriots, then came the Irish, the Jews, and finally the Italians who've been the main cultural group (95%) until about 30 years ago; now there's only about 20% Italian here.

Boston's North End now is a mixture of Italians, students from nearby colleges, Latinos, senior citizens, and young couples who chose to move here and raise their children in this charming, and sometimes maddening, neighborhood.

Craig got it just right. We are all Americans, but we've managed to keep our cultural traditions.

Having just come through another St. Patrick's Day celebration (yes, it's celebrated here in the Italian section of Boston), the idea that no one forms enclaves of their cultural compadres is just wrong.

Joe, you've apparently never seen Chicago, New York, and Boston on March 17th with Irish flags flying and Irish music playing during the parades?

Where you been?

Anonymous said...

Listen to Chaw, she knows best! Damn it!

Anonymous said...

In NY where I live, the religious Jews HATE Onama.

Joe said...

Spidey: That Israel still maintains friendship with the US is a testament to their sense of fairness.

Craig: My ancestors came to this country in 1830 (from Ireland) and 1865 (from Russia). They came in through Ellis Island.

"People still hold to their native culture."

Holding on to one's cultural background is not the same as failing to assimilate.

Many became wealthy because they were able to assimilate. Check out the history of Bank of America.

Shaw: "Joe, you've apparently never seen Chicago, New York, and Boston on March 17th with Irish flags flying and Irish music playing during the parades?"

I've been to them all, including their various neighborhoods. Your opening paragraph gives evidence of the assimilation of those groups into American society.

Ducky's here said...

But have they lost their ethnic identities, Joe?

In many cases, no.

Xavier Onassis said...

Jo Joe - "Craig: My ancestors came to this country in 1830 (from Ireland) and 1865 (from Russia). They came in through Ellis Island.

No they didn't.

Ellis Island didn't become an immigration ingress point until 1892.

"The first federal immigrant inspection station was an enormous three-story tall structure, with out-buildings, built of Georgia pine, containing all of the amenities that were thought to be necessary. It opened with celebration on January 1, 1892."

If your ancestors came to America in 1830 and 1865 they did so with no documentation or legal justification. Your ancestors were illegal aliens.

They just showed up and started "faking it until you make it".

Exactly like the Mexicans crossing the border who hope that working harder than every single American citizen will be recognized and rewarded.

Why are you so hell bent on denying modern immigrants who come to this country with the same legal standing that your ancestors came here with the same opportunities that resulted in you being an American Citizen?

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Anonymous said...
In NY where I live, the religious Jews HATE Onama."

No surprise there on religious folks hating on other folks. It's what religion does...very well.

Joe said...

XO: My bad. I copied those dates from a family tree website, but in my haste, copied the wrong lines.

My grandfather on my father's side and his family came here when he was 14 in 1894. My grandmother on my mother's side came with her family in 1895, when she was 13.

My father's side of the family settled in Atlanta and my mother's family in Macon.

Either way, though, the principle remains. I know you have a hard time with principle, but it was pretty wide-spread in those days.

We are a melting pot, and given a few years, most people, or their progeny, assimilate into the society.

No one is suggesting that before they fully "Americanized" they did not associate with their former culture, but ultimately they molded the over-all culture of the country into a land of opportunity.

Italian, German, Asian and other kids became bankers, movie directors, janitors, businessmen and all sorts of other things in other states. They moved to suburbs, cities and towns across the country (otherwise we would all still be in New York).

As a person of Irish descent, I still celebrate St. Patrick's Day. It's part of my culture. I don't celebrate May Day, though.

David said...

Thank you for posting this! Obama is a fool..he does not belong in the White House .go back to Chicago
We need to use the world’s most advanced technology – ours. We need developed the world’s richest gas and oil supplies – ours. Our fossil fuel resources are larger than Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia combined !
Benefits -

No dependence on unfriendly suppliers
No unnecessary wars
Massive economic boom - pulling us out of debt
Save Medicare
Save Social Security
Millions of American Jobs
Stop allowing the radical leftists and environmentalists from leading us around by the nose. Turn America loose to remain the true World Leader she was destined to be !

Xavier Onassis said...

David - You clearly have no idea how the world oil and gas markets work.

Let's say we removed all restrictions and regulations and told the energy companies "If you find any domestic oil or gas deposits you are free to extract them at will. Go for it!"

The gas and oil that they extract won't stay in the United States and be sold to Americans at below market prices.

It won't be energy independence by any means.

All of the gas and oil extracted in America would go on the world market just like every other countries gas and oil and it would be bought by whoever wants to buy it at market rates.

Most of it would probably go to China.

Sure, it would provide jobs and an economic boost lasting maybe a couple of decades until those resources are depleted.

During those decades we would suffer serious environmental degradation while helping China grow even faster and doing absolutely nothing to help us become "energy independent".

The only way increased domestic production would make us "energy independent" is if Congress passed legislation saying any domestically produced energy can ONLY be sold to and used buy domestic consumers and banning the import of any foreign produced energy sources.

Instead of benefiting from participation in a world wide energy market, we would isolate ourselves through increased federal government regulation and create an American energy market where there would be fewer resources, less competition resulting in higher prices and limited supply.

If you are going to stake out a position on a subject as complex as national energy strategy you really should think things through before tossing out some regurgitated conservative sound bites digested from talk radio pundits who have no idea what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

XO = idiot

Xavier Onassis said...

Anonymous - OUCH! You have completely invalidated everything I just said by calling me an "idiot".

I've never had an intellectual argument so completely eviscerated by such a surgically precise logical dissection.

Well played, genius. Well played.

Ducky's here said...

@XO --- The gas and oil that they extract won't stay in the United States and be sold to Americans at below market prices.

------
You can keep pounding on that one, XO but the free marketeers on the right are profoundly ignorant of market mechanisms.

We are EXPORTING petroleum products and the price is up in America. Joe thinks that increased supply would necessarily reduce domestic prices but admitting he is wrong would force him to severely restructure his views.

Nice knockout on the Ellis Island post, also. You have to admire their ability to get up and take some more.

Xavier Onassis said...

Ducky - " Joe thinks that increased supply would necessarily reduce domestic prices..."

Joe is partially correct.

If we opened up every single gas and oil deposit in the United States and let the energy companies go nuts with no regulation, the increased supply on the world market might reduce prices a little, but it wouldn't just be domestic prices, it would be world wide prices since gas and oil are commodities traded in a global market.

It would be like walking to the edge of an Olympic sized swimming pool and pouring in another couple of buckets of water.