History Final Paper

MLA format: a sample paper in MLA format, MLA template and MLA tips are available on the History Library Page.

Three reliable, primary or secondary sources (note that Wikipedia and Google are not reliable sources).  Note: the type of sources you choose will be ranked … use of at least 1 Primary source will count for more points and for the secondary source/sources, a book earning most points.

12-point Times New Roman Font (like this font)


Three full pages of writing.  In text citations must be used within the body of your paper.

Visual Medium – you must use at least one chart, graph, photo, political cartoon, collage or other visual representation to interpret, explain or comment on your paper. This visual representation is required and is not part of the three full pages of writing.


Immigration in the late 1800s: Discuss the “melting pot” vs. “salad bowl” metaphors.

Your  thesis statement is your answer to the question you chose.


Immigration in the late 1800s: Discuss the “melting pot” vs. “salad bowl” metaphors

The United States has been a melting pot of diverse cultures and nationalities since its inception. The late 1800s saw a massive influx of immigrants, primarily from Europe. This wave of immigration has been a subject of discussion and debate for years, with two primary metaphors used to describe how the newcomers integrated into American society: the melting pot and the salad bowl. This paper will explore the similarities and differences between these two metaphors and their implications for understanding the complex nature of American identity.

The melting pot metaphor, which gained popularity in the early 1900s, describes the process of blending diverse cultures to create a homogeneous society. According to this metaphor, immigrants shed their cultural identity and assimilate into the dominant American culture, resulting in a unified and harmonious society. This metaphor has been challenged by many who argue that it promotes cultural erasure and ignores the contributions of immigrants to American culture. The salad bowl metaphor, on the other hand, emphasizes the preservation of cultural identity while also promoting integration into American society. In this metaphor, immigrants maintain their cultural heritage, but also contribute to the larger American culture. This metaphor has gained popularity in recent years and is seen by many as a more inclusive and respectful approach to immigration.

To understand the implications of these metaphors, it is important to examine the historical context in which they emerged. The melting pot metaphor was popularized during a time when the United States was experiencing a significant wave of immigration, and the dominant culture was concerned about maintaining a unified society. The metaphor was used to promote assimilation and to discourage immigrants from maintaining their cultural identity. The salad bowl metaphor, on the other hand, emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, during a time of increasing multiculturalism and diversity. This metaphor emphasizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating diversity, while also promoting integration into American society.

In conclusion, the melting pot and salad bowl metaphors offer two distinct ways of understanding the complex process of immigrant integration into American society. While the melting pot metaphor emphasizes assimilation and a homogeneous society, the salad bowl metaphor promotes diversity and the preservation of cultural identity. Both metaphors have their strengths and weaknesses, and their implications have evolved over time in response to changing cultural and political contexts. Ultimately, the choice of metaphor reflects a larger debate about the nature of American identity and the role of diversity in shaping that identity.

Works Cited:

Bail, Christopher A. “The Cultural Environment: Measuring Culture with Big Data.” Theory and Society, vol. 45, no. 2, 2016, pp. 167-195.

Jacobson, Matthew Frye. “The Metaphor of the Melting Pot: Still Relevant?” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 21, no. 3, 2002, pp. 3-16.

Ngai, Mae M. “The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law: A Reexamination of the Immigration Act of 1924.” The Journal of American History, vol. 86, no. 1, 1999, pp. 67-92.

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