The George Washington Farewell Project 

Americanism and Our Civic Ritual of Freedom

  • Americanization Day:  An ongoing  exploration of the shared vision of being an American 

  • The Citizen Toolbox

Americanization Day

"Of all the countries in the world, we and we only have any need to create artificially the patriotism which is the birthright of other nations.”

The Atlantic 1916

 

Background:

Americanization Day is but one expression of the nation-wide endeavor. When Cleveland invited all her citizens who had been naturalized within a twelvemonth to assemble and receive a public welcome, to sit on a platform and be made much of, to listen to national songs and patriotic speeches, and to take home, every man, a flag and a seal of the city, she set a good example which will be widely followed. The celebrations at Riverside, California and New York City’s Pageant of the Nations had in view the same admirable end. The sentiment is not a substitute for duty and discipline, but it has its uses and its field of efficacy. Such ceremonies perseveringly repeated for twenty years might work a change in the immigrant population of to-day, were we secure from the fresh millions that threaten us to-morrow. That the Fourth of July should be often selected for these rites is perhaps inevitable; it is a time when patriotism assumes a vivid and popular aspect; but Heaven forbid that we should rechristen Independence Day, Americanization Day!

 

In 2021, Philadelphians can lead the way again. The Philadelphia area is rich with museums, nonprofit institutions, academic centers such as the NCC, the Revolutionary Museum,  that have their roots in the founding of the nation and celebrate its values and achievements while recognizing the pathology. Additionally, there are many institutions and public spaces that celebrate the values and highlight the challenges of our union.  I invite you to consider this multi-year, multi-phase “treatment plan” for our disunion.

 

Action Plan

Build on the Senate’s reading of the Farewell Address. Utilize the Farewell Address as a focus for age and grade-appropriate educational opportunities. The content will be developed through crowdsourcing.

  1. Schools and public institutions: Along with public reading select institutions  will be provided with multi-media lesson plans/ curricula. (Multi year process)

  2. Family oriented ceremony at home (Seder)  Freedom's Feast is an interactive civics program that uses major holidays in our American calendar to raise the next generation of citizens.

  3. Congressional reading: Make a framework for congressional discussion.

  4. Media outlets: The Atlantic, breaking down the speech and addressing each section to assess where we are and what can be done.

Citizen organizations (Neighborhoods) : Discuss strategies to improve citizen participation in non politicized manner.