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Address by Charles Nagel

Address by Charles Nagel

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Excerpt from Address by Charles Nagel: Delivered at Sheldon Memorial Hall, St. Louis, Mo;, On the 23d of January, 1915

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:

First, I want to express my appreciation for this invitation from the Deutsche Gesellschaft. It means a great deal more to me, perhaps, than you suspect, because, for the best part of my life I have lived under something of a suspicion that my allegiance to our institutions of English origin might tempt me to forget my ancestry. I have never felt the justice of that charge, because I have believed that traditions bred in the bone are perfectly safe in the citizenship of the United States. As I read it, every nation whose representatives come to these shores makes its contributions, and all must be amalgamated in the one citizenship of this country.

Feeling as I do, I am not unaware of the delicacy of the subject that I am to discuss, because I know that there is danger of partisanship, of which we have had many demonstrations: and because I believe it to be of the utmost importance that the whole case be impartially and fairly stated. We must remember that we are a composite people. Our problem is to unite the representatives of the many races in obedience to our common institutions. I think it can be said that the citizen of German blood has done this. True, our institutions are of English origin in the political sense; but in the social and industrial sense tremendous influences have been brought to bear from other countries, and, in that respect, the German may claim to have done his share. In the political field his prominence has not been particularly distinguished. It is true at least to say that prominent positions have not been represented by him with any degree of frequency. But that is natural and normal.

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