Education, Escape And Citizenship : America As The Promised Land

1671 Words Sep 29th, 2016 7 Pages
Education, Escape and Citizenship: America as the Promised Land
Millions of immigrants traveled hundreds of miles from their homes, with only what possessions they could carry, in order to obtain the freedoms and chase the American promise. In The Promised Land, Mary Antin illustrates how, if given the chance, immigrants would embody American ideals and truly adopt America as their own country. America provided many freedoms, such as education and freedom of expression, that born citizens may take for granted, but immigrants certainly did not. To immigrants, America offered access to public education, provided a safe haven from religious persecution, and safeguarded freedom of expression -- all of these are tools which immigrants used to embody American society and thus become true Americans.
As many of the immigrants came from peasant families, who previously had no access to education, one of the many promises of arriving in America was the access public education. Upon entrance, children of immigrants who could go to school, a decision made based on whether the child’s wages were a necessity to sustain the family, became promptly registered in the public school system. Most of these children who had never had books before entering America, now had the opportunity to receive a formal education for the very first time. The access to education had a profound impact on immigrant children: “In my case the importance of the [first day of school] was a hundred times…

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