Americanization is a major aspect of American Exceptionalism. The fact that a nation can contain people from all major world powers, and flow evenly, together in peace, is an enormous accomplishment. When its people accepts this feat, when this melting pot is known to the immigrants, who still flood ships with their arrivals, it is extraordinary. Americanization through education is one genre of this sameness of identity, and whether it is ideal or devastating, is up for interpretation. Who were these people who needed to learn the American way? What did they learn from Citizenship and Americanization classes? What does Americanization truly consists of? This melting pot of ideals, theories, and education, runs much deeper and less superfluous than exterior acceptance. This hypothesis has been proved, to the best of a high school senior’s research and knowledge. Many tools have been explored, such as School Committee reports and the 1930 census, and many resources, such as the archives at Beverly High School, and the Gutman Library at Harvard, have been excessively picked through. Although this topic is not unique, its relation to Beverly High School is. Many books have been written on Americanization, for example, Robert A. Carlson’s The Americanization Syndrome: A Quest for Conformity, and The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, edited by Stephan Thernstrom. The significance of Americanization through education in Beverly and New York City, is the comparison from the small town to the big city. The differences are surprisingly not great; it is their similarities which make them interesting. The sustained dream of achieving a totally Americanized nation is a wonderful concept, but will it nevertheless always linger as a dream, given that individuality and freedom remain the hallmarks of Americanization?
“A nation consists of its citizens. It is they who make up the body politic, who determine its future, and who insure its perpetuation. It is of the utmost importance to the nation to assimilate into its blood stream those foreign elements that can add to its vigor and maintain its standards.”  Before jumping to conclusions, one must ask, who are these ‘foreign elements’ who make up the majority of the future of America, the land of all opportunities big and small? How is it possible for a single nation to assimilate the immigrant so willingly? The answer to this seemingly complex question, is however, quite simple. It is a force that lives among us all, that drives us to do the unthinkable from the moment we are first put in contact with others of our own kind: peer pressure. However, when speaking of this force in context of an entire nation, an American nation, we refer to it as Americanization.
In theory, Americanization is simply the yearning to be like all those who are successful and amalgamated; to effectively live in America, is to be American. As the infamous historian/philosopher, Crèvecoeur remarked, as he came to study social mobility in America, the immigrant who comes to this nation, comes with his own beliefs and values, but as he remains in America, he is “melted into a new race of men.”  This melting pot of ideals, theories, and education, runs much deeper and less superfluous than exterior acceptance.
Late in the 19th century, with the influx of the new immigrant, American Nativists who were third or fourth generation native-born began to become weary of the sea of new un-American faces. Between 1860 and 1900, there were over 14,000,000 people immigrating to the United States. Over 18 1/2 million more arrived between 1900 and 1930, with a peak arrival of 1,285,349 in 1907 alone.  The new immigrant from Southern and Eastern Europe, was usually uneducated, was of a different religion, and did not speak English. How then would he be assimilated? Cities nation-wide were overburdened by demand for proper Americanization programs, that would help prepare foreigners for the American way of life. Beverly, Massachusetts, a former fishing village, which developed into an industrial town by the opening of a shoe machinery corporation, was of no exception.
According to the Beverly School Committee, “for the accomplishment of this result, the solution of the problem of the Americanization of the foreigner, the attention of the general public was focused on the evening school.”  The assimilation of the non-English speaking person was not the major problem, but rather the recruiting of non-citizens. When an immigrant first decided that he/she wanted to become an American Citizen, a Declaration of Intention was to be filled out, followed by a Petition for Naturalization. Most adults, who were not naturalized, were working parents who did not have the time or energy to attend voluntary evening schools. The earlier courses taught, such as Civics, History, English, Bookkeeping, and Penmanship, were not deemed as necessary subject matter, which would help put food on the table. Beverly understood that “there is no Americanization until the foreigner becomes a conscious part of America.”  In order to recruit people for the evening schools, there must have first been an incentive for them to join.
In 1915, the Beverly Department of Education organized a Citizenship program, which would prepare immigrants for citizenship, and provide him/her with first and second papers in order to naturalize. The class became an instant success. This movement of Citizenship Education was the first step towards an evolution of Americanization Education. Another reason for the high enrollment in Citizenship classes was the patriotic peer pressure felt during wartime. As in the cases of Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians, it was almost vital to prove loyalty to America. This is not so evident in Beverly as seen through Adult Education records, as there were not very many Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians enrolled previously. However, when compared to the percentages of diverse ethnic backgrounds found in the New York City evening schools, it is more evident that immigrants of from Axis-power countries during WW1 felt a great need to show their loyalty to America. Out of 73,042 students in NYC evening schools, Austrians held 10.02% of enrollment, Germans 6.11%, and Hungarians 3.95%, during the school years between 1913 and 1915. On the other hand, it was the allied forces of Russia (46.35%) and Italy (14.63%) who made up the majority in both the big city and, of 8.80% and 33.77% out of 303, in the small town evening school. (See “Analysis of Foreign Attendance in Evening Elementary Schools during Two Successive Years” & Evening School Attendees, Birthplaces (1913-1915) )
Political leaders were hard at work, analyzing the solutions available to Americanize the immigrant, and in 1917, a conference was held in Washington D.C., which addressed the issue of, “What is Americanization?”  In 1918, the director of the Beverly Evening School made a significant remark: “ It is evident that school departments cannot handle the problem of Americanization without help; the industries must co-operate.”  Beverly was not alone in this concern. In 1919, an Act of Congress was passed stating that instruction must be provided for foreigners in English, Government, and Citizenship. Finally, in 1920, a Supervisor of Americanization was appointed for the Beverly evening schools, under the University Extension and the State Department of Americanization. Information Bureaus were set up to secure passports, naturalization forms, and to help immigrants with their handicap in language. It was also in the fall of 1920, that the very first Americanization classes were available in the Beverly Evening School curriculum.
Shortly after this great educational enhancement, came the help needed from the local industries. In the 1921-22 Annual School Report, the United Shoe Machinery Corporation was given recognition for their co-operation in supporting weekly Americanization and Citizenship classes during their noon-hour break. In January of 1922, two newspaper articles were written for the Beverly Evening Times addressing the “Splendid work… being done in the Americanization classes in this city… ”  and that “the classes in Citizenship at the plant of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation are worthy of mention just now. ”  It was believed at this time of reinstatement of a totally American society, that control over the immigrant could once again be reached.
According to the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, “the Americanization movement tried to submerge the complex relationships between ethnic backgrounds and national identity… most educators sought to promote cultural homogeneity and the work ethic of industrial capitalism”. But some like Julia Richman and Jane Addams, believed that Americanization through education would separate families, because it is primarily the youth who is Americanized first, and the immigrant parent second.  There were, of course, other means to Americanize the adult foreigner, the more instinctive of which would be inter-marriage. If an Italian and Armenian were to fall in love, would they not yearn to learn a language the two of them could understand? And while living in America, would that not entice them to join the local evening school? However, who would be the first to join, the man or the woman? According to registration records for Beverly’s citizenship classes, immigrant men would more commonly advance to the highest-level classes, while women would continuously remain under beginner or intermediate instruction. Was this red tape bias towards men, or was it family needs that drew women away from their studies? In any case, during the winter of 1924, an Americanization class was organized especially for immigrant mothers, held in the homes of the immigrant women. The women enjoyed these classes, which focused on the home, clothing, cooking, etc., so much that another was organized the following fall. During this same winter session, there was a group of men and their wives who met to study English and Citizenship together. This was a peculiar, because men were usually non-supportive of their wives attending school. 
In this genre of education, Beverly was not among the first to encourage immigrant mothers to Americanize. In New York City’s 1910-11 School Committee report, prior to the mention of Citizenship or Americanization classes, courses in home making, cooking, dressmaking, and such classes were available.  Although educators in New York City may not have been aware of their unplanned assimilation, being taught in one of the largest cosmopolitans of the United States was the original notion of Americanization of the woman.
Prior to 1922, women automatically received citizenship once their husbands became naturalized. However a new Act of Congress was passed stating new laws towards the naturalization of married women:
1. Citizenship is no longer conferred on an alien woman by her marriage to a citizen.
2. Citizenship is no longer conferred on the wife by the naturalization of her husband.
3. Citizenship of a woman is no longer lost by marriage to an alien unless the alien husband is ineligible to citizenship.” 
Women were suddenly left on their own to gain Citizenship. Three 1925 Citizenship classes and one Americanization class were linked to the 1930 national census . The findings show that out of the ten students who still dwelled in their same home, five of which were men and one woman, had been naturalized by 1930 ; one man had his First Papers, and two alien women were married to men who had their First papers. These findings are worth mentioning, as they show that these two alien women, who under the new law, were enrolled in the classes because they had to become naturalized citizens themselves . In 1923, there were only 7 Petitions for Naturalization, and 117 Declarations of Intention. Nevertheless, the following year, there were 66 Petitions for Naturalization, and 153 Declarations of Intention. Whether this extreme change in necessity was directly related to the new Act of Congress or not is not known for sure, however the connection raises strong questions as to its construal. This particular Act of Congress may also be the cause for the sudden increase in Americanization classes, from 73 students in 1923, to 101 students, in 1924, and 159 students the following year, with a peak of 180 students in 1926. At this point, word would have been out that successfully earned citizenship could be accomplished through evening school.
During this same time period, a new Immigrant Quota law was passed limiting the number of immigrants who could enter the country. As for those who had family wishing to come to America, an exception stated “immigrant relatives of a citizen are given precedence in making up the quota for those who may enter the country.”  These may have also caused the rush of registration to Americanization classes at the Beverly Evening Schools, and the increase in Petitions for naturalization. “The Johnson-Reed Act…would [restrict] an overall yearly limit of 150,000 on immigrants from outside the western hemisphere. The 150,000 was to be divided into quotas, assigned to nationalities in the proportion that they bore, by birth, or descent, to the total population as of 1920.” 
Beverly’s Americanization program must have raised the attention of many other towns, for in 1937, “35 out-of-town students [were] attending the evening classes (…) namely [from] Danvers, Salem, Peabody, Wenham, Manchester, and Hamilton.”  Was it possible that Beverly was more prominent and advanced in teaching programs than their brother and sister towns? If it were not for WW2, which caused a sudden decline in Americanization class attendance, would Beverly’s Americanization Education Department have carried on longer than 1944? The last mention of Americanization available cited within the resources of the Beverly Educational Archives, states that “ statistics indicate a great need for Americanization training leading to citizenship, but there are practical difficulties in the way of securing co-operation of aliens in any program of education which are so far unable to overcome.” 
In the past, Americanization Education supplied support for immigrants, the will of Nativists, and control to America’s political leaders, as long as the foreigner was enticed to learn the American way. However, the original aims of Americanization through education are open to discussion. Was Americanization the thread that held immigrants and Americans together and equal? Or was it the eraser of tradition, religion, loyalty and pride of one’s native country? Americans “worked to create a national identity as a land of individual freedom based on the Protestant religion, the middle class society, and a republican form of government.”  Through this idea of Americanizing national identity, was the complete assimilation of the foreigner ever achieved? The sustained dream of achieving a totally Americanized nation is a wonderful concept, but will it nevertheless always linger as a dream, given that individuality and freedom remain the hallmarks of Americanization?
Civic Education for the Foreign-born in the United States. A joint Publication of the Immigration and Naturalization services, 1944.
Bevilaqua Matheson, Mary and Linden McCullough. Americanization Primer. Norwood: Norwood Press, 1920.
Berkson, Isaac B. Theories of Americanization: A critical study. New York: Amo Press & the New York Times, 1969.
Carlson, Robert A. The Americanization Syndrome: A Quest for Conformity. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987.
Carlson, Robert A. The Quest for Conformity: Americanization through Education. New York: John Wiey and Sons, 1978.
Cornbleth, “Citizenship Education” in Encyclopedia of Educational Research. New York: the Free Press, 1982.
Thernstrom, Stephan, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980.
Weisberger, Bernard A. “A nation of immigrants,” American Heritage, 1994.
Beverly Evening Times. 10 January – 12 January 1922.
Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization and of the Evening School (Beverly, Massachusetts, 1906-1944).
Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization and of the Evening School (New York City, NY, 1910-1918).
Census Records (Beverly, Massachusetts, 1930).
Registration Records, Citizenship and Americanization classes (Beverly, Massachusetts, 1925).
 Civic Education for the Foreign-born in the United States (A joint Publication of the Immigration and Naturalization services, 1944), 7.
 Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), 38.
 Bernard A. Weisberger, “A nation of immigrants,” (American Heritage, 1994), 9.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (New York City, NY, 1917-1918), 35.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (New York City, NY, 1916-1917), 24.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (New York City, NY, 1917-1918), 18.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1918), 19.
 Beverly Evening Times, 10 January 1922.
 Ibid., 12 January 1922.
 Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), 307.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1924), 48.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (New York City, NY, 1910-1911), 10.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1923), 47-48.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1923), 51.
 Bernard A. Weisberger, “A nation of immigrants.” American Heritage, 1994, 11.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1937), 40.
 Report of School Committee, Annual Report: Supervisor of Americanization (Beverly MA, 1944), 6.
 Robert A. Carlson, The Americanization Syndrome: A Quest for Conformity (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987), 31.