The American Pageant (12th Edition)

Chapter 36 – Page 828

Our Critique

828 “Immigration had been choked off for almost two decades before 1941, and America’s ethnic communities were now composed of well-settled members, whose votes were crucial to Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic party. Consequently, there was virtually no government witch-hunting of minority groups, as had happened in World War I.”

The textbook does a service here by clarifying Roosevelt’s motives. The votes of German-Americans and Italian-Americans “were crucial to Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic party.” Therefore, they were not as harshly harassed as the Japanese, even though the United States was at war with Germany and Italy. FDR learned from Wilson’s mistaken persecution of German-Americans, a huge voting bloc, during World War I. After that war, German-Americans switched their allegiance to the Republicans, and Harding won the presidency in a landslide in 1920. Thus, Roosevelt was sensitive to large voting blocs—but not, as we shall see, to smaller ones.