Ohio History Journal

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Ethnic Identity in Industrial

Cleveland: The Hungarians



Melting pot and Americanization, assimilation and acculturation,

accommodation and integration are traditionally popular terms used

to describe the processes of interaction between immigrants to the

United States and American society. Exploiting the country's vibrant

economy, having access to cheap and expanding communication

facilities, and enjoying their freedom from centuries' old political and

social constraints, immigrants frequently have been portrayed as

trading away their European values and identities and assuming

American cultural and behavioral norms. Although some peoples

experienced greater difficulty than others, scholars have suggested

that ultimately immigrants achieved socioeconomic mobility, adapted

their attitudes in imitation of the larger societal goals, and were

assimilated into the American community.1

However, such judgments, and the assumptions underlying them,

have been the subject of an increasingly critical reappraisal of

America's immigration and ethnic history. Employing new research

techniques, especially statistical quantification methodologies, and

posing new questions, a growing number of scholars have challenged


Dr. Weinberg is Associate Professor of History and Director of the San Diego

History Research Center, Love Library, San Diego State University, San Diego,

California. An earlier draft of this essay, entitled "Greenhorns: The Autobiography of

Buckeye, An Hungarian Community," was presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of

the Organization of American Historians, April 16-19, 1975, in Boston, Mass.


1. See, for example, Humbert Nelli, Italians in Chicago, 1880-1930: A Study in

Ethnic Mobility (New York, 1970); Carlton Qualey, "Ethnicity and History,"

Ethnicity: A Conceptual Approach, ed. Daniel E. Weinberg (Cleveland, 1976); Timothy

Smith, "New Approaches to the History of Immigration in Twentieth Century

America," American Historical Review, LXXI (July 1966), 1265-79; Will Herberg,

Protestant, Catholic, Jew, an Essay in American Religious Sociology (Garden City,

NJ, 1955); Stanley Feldstein and Lawrence Costello, eds., The Ordeal of Assimilation:

A Documentary History of the White Working Class, 1830's to 1970's (Garden City,

NJ, 1974); Andrew Rolle, The Immigrant Upraised (Norman, OK, 1968); W. I.

Thomas, R. E. Park, and Herbert A. Miller, Old World Traits Transplanted, reprint ed.

(Montclair, NJ. 1971); Frederick Luebke, Bonds of Loyalty: German Americans and

World War I (DeKalb, IL, 1974).