World War I, Americanization, ethnic relations, United States


World War I and the Americanization campaigns which accompanied it had a pr0found impact upon ethnic relations in the United States. Although German-Americans bore the brunt of rapidly emerging anti-foreign sentiments, no ethnic group was totally free of suspicion and public condemnation. In Iowa, Governor William Lloyd Harding defended his proclamation forbidding the public use of foreign languages by attacking the Danish element in the Hawkeye State's population. According to the Governor, who was speaking before a large crowd at Sac City on July 4, 1918, young Danes in Iowa were not getting a proper American upbringing. Pointing to the continued widespread use of Danish in churches and schools, Harding alleged "when they get through they are full grown, 100 per cent Dane." This suggested an appalling lack of gratitude. "Now, think of a man who was brought from the filth of Denmark and placed on a farm for which he was paid perhaps $3 an acre," Harding asked his audience. "Ye gods and fishes, what Iowa has done for him he never can repay."