Bourne defines “transnational America” as a country that is a mix of cultures and people and that America would be able to become a “transnational nation” and have connecting cultural links with all the other countries. Bourne believes a “transnational America” is more desirable than a culturally homogenized America because he believes that immigrants won’t assimilate easily to another culture. Since they won’t assimilate easily, he argues that the US should accommodate the immigrant cultures instead of forcing them to assimilate (Bourne, 44). Bourne's view on nationality is related to the connection between a person and their country of origin, or the immigrant’s spirit. This “country spirit” referred to a person's culture and not the country of where they resided. Bourne’s view limits the possibility of immigrants from all over the globe assimilating to the American traditions. Bourne argued that America would prosper more as a country by including the immigrants' traditions and cultures instead of making them conform to being part of the “melting-pot.” His argument also reveals that he believes people’s views will change and broaden to include the notion of a united nation that will bring the country to greatness.
I feel that Bourne responds adequately to Roosevelt’s concerns about divided loyalties and more because Roosevelt contradicts himself in his argument. Roosevelt states that as long as you are “devoted to the Republic,” you are American even if you are not a naturalized American. When Roosevelt states that a “hyphenated American is not an American at all (Roosevelt, 37),” he contradicts his other statement. America was built on immigrants and even though they may hyphenate their cultural origin with being an American, it doesn’t divide their loyalty from being an American. A “hyphenated American” is just displaying what country they came from and showing loyalty to America as well. Roosevelt states “each man is to be treated on his worth as a man without regard to the land from which his forefathers came (Roosevelt, 35),” so why judge them if they are “hyphenated Americans?”
I don’t think the immigrants of Paterson want to become “Americanized” because they feel that it will be stripping them from their cultural identity. They had this unspoken agreement with each other that they knew they were working illegally and were in the same boat. One of the women, Waldina Jimenez, specifically states in an audio clip that she doesn’t consider herself an American, she also went as far to say that her children are on two different wavelengths of thought when it comes to being an American or not. Her son won’t speak Spanish and considers himself an American because he fits in with the image and her daughter considers herself Hispanic. Being an American to them seems to be completely assimilating to the look and language of America and ignoring their own cultural roots. Their “American dream” is that of being able to succeed in America while still retaining their heritage and identities. I believe that the immigrants of Paterson would probably be more receptive to Bourne’s arguments than that of Roosevelt because it would fall closer to the immigrant’s beliefs and what they have stated in interviews. They would probably argue against Roosevelt’s arguments though they do display some of the divided loyalties Roosevelt argued against because they would take it negatively.
Library of Congress. Paterson, NJ Interview Tapes. Web.