The Study of Man: The Third Generation in America
IT WAS the achievement of MARCUS LEE HANSEN to have discovered the means of studying significantly the role of immigration in American history. Others had earlier turned their hands to that subject, of course. But the long array of volumes published in the half-century before 1925 had never gone to the heart of the matter. Written under the shadow of the then current debate over immigration policy, these books had been distracted from their main point by the overwhelming interest in the immediate problem. The proponents of immigration restriction had composed such works to find arguments for reversal of the traditional American policy; the defenders of various ethnic groups had written to justify their place in the United States by a display of “contributions.”
Hansen broke away from this sterile pattern. He united in himself the personal and scholarly qualities that enabled him to see immigration in its larger perspectives as one of the dynamic trends that shaped American culture. Born in rural Wisconsin in 1893, the son of Scandinavian immigrants, Hansen drew from his own home valuable insights into the processes of cultural transplantation. He was never to lose sight of the fact that he dealt in his research with the lives of human beings and not with abstract impersonal forces.
About the Author