Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ist and writer, Wal­ter Lipp­man, circa 1954.

Forward Magazine - - Reviews - Seth Ro­govoy is a con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor at the For­ward.

to John Ken­neth White and San­dra L. Han­son in an aca­demic pa­per en­ti­tled “The Mak­ing and Per­sis­tence of the Amer­i­can Dream.”

Lipp­mann re­turned to the con­cept again in 1923, in a pointed cri­tique in Van­ity Fair en­ti­tled “Ed­u­ca­tion and the White-Col­lar Class.” More sen­si­tive than Adams to the en­trenched struc­tures that made it dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble for cer­tain groups to suc­ceed in Amer­ica, Lipp­man dis­posed of the idea that higher ed­u­ca­tion en­abled up­ward so­cial mo­bil­ity. Rather, he ar­gued for its mer­its merely as a fun­da­men­tal demo­cratic good, to fore­stall “a lit­er­ate and un­e­d­u­cated democ­racy, which is what we now have,” at the dawn­ing of an era of dem­a­gogues and fas­cists, such as Mus­solini, who had just come to power in Italy. It’s a warn­ing that still res­onates to­day.

The Amer­i­can Dream proved to be real for one pop­u­la­tion in par­tic­u­lar.

De­spite the road­blocks of dis­crim­i­na­tion, quo­tas, and out­right anti-Semitism, the Amer­i­can Dream proved to be real for one pop­u­la­tion in par­tic­u­lar. Within a gen­er­a­tion or two of hav­ing ar­rived on these shores and be­ing crowded into ur­ban ghet­tos, mil­lions of newly minted JewishAmer­i­cans had largely moved up­town or to the sub­urbs; pop­u­lated the top tiers of busi­ness, law, ed­u­ca­tion, jour­nal­ism, and the arts; made great strides in pol­i­tics; and be­came, in many ways, the very em­bod­i­ment of the Amer­i­can Dream. Per­haps no other group can claim such a dis­tinc­tion. Which is why I like to sing “God Bless Amer­ica” — writ­ten, of course, by Is­rael Isi­dore Ba­line, a Jewish im­mi­grant from Rus­sia, bet­ter known as Irving Berlin.


THEY'RE JUST WILD ABOUT IRVING: Irving Berlin, a Jewish im­mi­grant from Rus­sia, was born Is­rael Isi­dore Ba­line.


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