Skip to main content

Language in the New Nation--Jefferson and Rush

Today's Americans, celebrating the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, look back, as their predecessors have, to the wisdom of the early patriots for guidance concerning present-day social problems and issues. In 1987, as in 1787, America's linguistic diversity and cultural variety are seen by some as threats to national unity and by others as a primary resource for national strength. As the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to solidify the new republic, one of every ten Americans spoke another language than English as their mother tongue. The largest minority language at the time was German, but sizable numbers of residents ...

Read Full Article

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.