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"Bilingualism for the individual is fine, but not for a country."
S.I. Hayakawa

"By emphasizing the importance of a common language, we safeguard a proud legacy and help to ensure that America's future will be as great as her past."
President Ronald Reagan, letter to U.S. ENGLISH, Mar. 24, 1987

"The English language empowers each generation of immigrants to access the American dream. Studies have shown that people who learn English earn more for their families, are better able to move about and interact in society, and can more easily build a solid future for themselves and their children."
Rep. Barbara Vucanovich

"My support of declaring the English language to be the official language of the Federal Government is based on two simple principles: unity and opportunity."
Rep. Gerald Solomon

"In order to have economic and social mobility in this country, we know that we must speak and write the central language. To the extent that we encourage people who enter our society not to learn American English, we consign them basically to a life without that opportunity."
Rep. John Porter

"I believe it is essential to have English as the official language of our National Government, for the English language is the tie that binds the millions of immigrants who come to America from divergent backgrounds. We should, and do, encourage immigrants to maintain and share their traditions, customs and religions, but the use of English is essential for immigrants and their children to participate fully in American society and achieve the American dream."
Rep. James Sensenbrenner

"The tie of language is perhaps the strongest and the most durable that can unite mankind."
Alexis de Tocqueville

"With all the divisive forces tearing at our country, we need the glue of language to help hold us together. If we want to ensure that all our children have the same opportunities in life, alternative language education should stop and English should be acknowledged once and for all as the official language of the United States."
Sen. Bob Dole

"The fact is that immigrants come here from every part of the world, and, in a generation or so, they become movie stars, politicians, businessmen, television personalities, and have all kinds of successful careers. But for these opportunities to open up, immigrants and their descendants must learn English as quickly as possible. That's the admission ticket into the culture."
S.I. Hayakawa

"I know that Representative Fairchild is pleased, as I am, with the rapid passage of this bill. I agree with you that facility with English provides a common and necessary bond for all Americans."
Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, letter to U.S. ENGLISH, Apr. 10, 1987

"America is an open society, more open than any other in the world. People of every race, of every color, of every culture are welcomed here to create a new life for themselves and their families. And what do these people who enter into the American mainstream have in common? English, our shared common language."
Sen. S.I. Hayakawa

"We are people from every corner of the globe. We represent every religion, every ethnic group, every Nation under the Sun, but we are one nation, we are one people. Why? Because we have a wonderful commonality, a common glue, called the English language."
Rep. Toby Roth

"As a practical matter, every immigrant needs to master English to be a full participating citizen and to have full economic opportunity."
Sen. Richard Lugar

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americans . . .The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag. We must also learn one language and that language is English."
President Theodore Roosevelt

"Language is the most powerful unifying force that can take place between a people,"
Rep. Steve King

"Over and over again we see that it is the English language which empowers each new generation of immigrants to access the American dream. Declaring English the official language of Government is the commonsense thing to do."
Rep. Bill Goodling

"Why in the world anyone in America is allowing another language (other than English) to be his first... I don't know."
Margaret Thatcher

"I believe it is our values and our ideals that ultimately bind us together as a nation. But it is the English language which serves as the means by which we can communicate these values to those around us. Our common language, English, is that which unites us."
Rep. Asa Hutchinson

"The language we share is at the core of our identity as citizens, and our ticket to full participation in American political life. We can speak any language we want at the dinner table, but English is the language of public discourse, or the marketplace and of the voting booth."
S.I. Hayakawa

“We should celebrate and be proud of our diversity. But to be a nation we must have one common language with which we can communicate with one another. That common language is American English.”
Rep. John Porter

“The great thing about the United States is our ability to absorb foreign people and make them a part of us.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“When our ancestors came to America, they came to this country knowing they had to learn English to survive. Today, our melting pot has become a patchwork quilt of cultures, isolated because they cannot speak English. They arenÂ’t assimilating into our society like our ancestors did. Our current bilingual policies are shredding the common bond that has made our nation great.”
Rep. Joe Knollenberg

“Let us remember that our national unity is a most priceless asset.”
President Gerald Ford

“Diversity is one of our Nation’s greatest strengths. The unique cultures, customs, and beliefs that every immigrant brings to our country add to the richness of America. However, without a common thread to bind or society together, America risks losing its sense of unity.”
Rep. Peter Torkildsen

“It is the failure to promote English as our common and unifying language that has hindered some Americans from building a solid future for their families and gaining access to the American dream.”
Rep. John Linder

“The fact that our country is a collection of different nationalities necessitates some sort of unifying factor in order to provide an national identity. A common language provides that unifying factor. By establishing English as the official language of the United States, it creates a bond that transcends ethnicity.”
Rep. William Martini

“The example of my parents and grandparents was clear, clear to me then and clear to me now. They knew instinctively that English proficiency was absolutely essential to their success, not because they were not proud of their heritage but because they knew mastering the language was important to them and that they should do it as quickly as possible. They knew that proficiency would help their family, their neighborhood, and their whole community.”
Rep. Marge Roukema

“The fact that we have a common language, one language, is one of the most important things we have tying us together.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“We are never going to get people into the mainstream unless they are English capable.”
Sen. John McCain

“…though representatives of many ethnic groups came together in the United States, English became their common language. Apparently, this was a natural choice. One can imagine what would have happened if members of each nation moving to the U.S. had spoken only their own tongues and refused to learn English.”
Mikhail Gorbachev

“The United States, a land of immigrants from every corner of the world, has been strengthened and unified because its newcomers have historically chosen ultimately to forgo their native language for the English language. We have all benefited from the sharing of ideas, of cultures and beliefs, made possible by a common language. We have all enriched each other.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“But it is our common language that binds us together as a nation, and it is the English language which empowers newcomers to the access of the American dream.”
Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham

“America must continue to be a melting pot. A Nation like America cannot be made up of groups. America is made up of individuals. As Woodrow Wilson said, as long as you consider yourself a part of a group, you are still not assimilated into American society, because America, like other nations, is made up of individuals and not made up of groups.”
Rep. Toby Roth

“People all over the world are struggling to teach their children English and struggling how to learn English because they know that is the key that unlocks the door to opportunity.”
Rep. Dana Rohrbacher

“The gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance and it may well someday become the foundation of a common citizenship.”
Winston Churchill

“English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French is in the present age.”
John Adams, 1780

“No matter what part of the world we or our ancestors come from, we all came to America for the same reason. We are here in search of the freedoms and opportunities that make our country great. We [sic] are here in search of a better life for themselves and their families. In short, we are here because we want to be Americans. The English language is part of the fabric that keeps us together.”
Rep. Peter Torkildsen

“The English Language Amendment says above all, ‘Let’s see to it that our children, our young people, learn English. Let us not deny them the opportunity to participate in American life, so that they can go as far as their dreams and talents can take them.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“A melting pot, yes. A tower of Babel, no.”
Saul Bellow

“If I spoke no English, my world would be limited to the Japanese-speaking community, and no matter how talented I was, I could never do business, seek employment or take part in public affairs outside that community.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“There is nothing radical or racist about declaring English the official language of the United States. By providing a means to communicate across ethnic and racial lines, a common language unites people and eliminates misunderstanding, segregation, distrust and discord.”
Rep. William Lipinski

“I believe we are being dishonest with language minority groups if we tell them they can take full part in American life without learning the English language.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“Our new immigrants must be part of our one America. After all, they're revitalizing our cities, they're energizing our culture, they're building up our economy. We have a responsibility to make them welcome here, and they have a responsibility to enter the mainstream of American life. That means learning English and learning about our democratic system of government. There are now long waiting lines of immigrants that are trying to do just that. Therefore, our budget significantly expands our efforts to help them meet their responsibility. I hope you will support it."
President Bill Clinton, State of the Union Speech, 1999

“I want to say unequivocally that while I cherish every person who comes from anywhere, who comes here legally and seeks to pursue happiness, and I hope all of them decide to stay and become American citizens, but I want them to become American. And part of becoming American involved English. It is vital historically to assert and establish that English is the common language at the heart of our civilization.”
Rep. Newt Gingrich

“English, our common language, binds our diverse people.”
Senator S.I. Hayakawa

“Learning English not only helps immigrants assimilate, it is the key to having the opportunity to realize the American dream.”
Rep. Dave Weldon

“It is precisely because my parents, Greek immigrants, could not speak English when they first came to these shores that I support the legislation in front of us. They would leave no stone unturned to try to learn English on their own and could not wait for the day they could become naturalized citizens and to be proficient in the English language sufficiently enough to merit the granting of the citizenship which they so prized for the remainder of their lives. …Their pride in English and their pride in being American citizens was enhanced by the fact that they knew the English language could help their children become educated, not only in the English language, which is their adopted language, but also never to forget the Greek language.”
Rep. George Gekas

“America is not a nation of separation. All our citizens are Americans. The common denominator is our language. Our language is English. The glue that binds generation after generation is both our Constitution and our English language.”
Rep. James Traficant

“For 400 years immigrants from all across the globe have come to America. We come together as one Nation, with one language, for one people, under God. The English language has strengthened and sustained us in years past, as it will do so in the years to come.”
Rep. Bill Barrett

“I cannot imagine anything that would hold this country together, that would pull the different peoples of this country together any more than having a common language.”
Rep. Ed Bryant

“A quote by a Houston farmer Ernesto Ortiz says it best. ‘My children learn Spanish in school so they can grow up to be busboys and waiters. I teach them English at home so they can become lawyers and doctors.”
Rep. Joe Knollenberg

“We are all American. If we believe that we are Americans, if we believe that what binds us together is what we have in common, then it must include the common language, and that common tongue is English.”
Rep. Ernest Istook

“In America, where the principal language of interaction is English, its use and active promotion through Government policy can pave the way for unprecedented opportunity and national prosperity.”
Rep. Christopher Cox

“The fact that we have a common language, one language, is one of the most important things we have tying us together. Now we live in a time of unprecedented immigration. … Somehow or other, within a generation or two, we have to get them all together, talking to each other, electing each other to city councils, doing business with each other, buying and selling from each other, creating governments, creating societies. We can only have this unified society if we ultimately agree on a common language.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“I cherish our cultural diversity, but I also cherish our common bond of language.”
Rep. Norman Shumway

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”
Calvin Coolidge

“…Defend our liberties and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindred and tongues.”
Thomas Jefferson

“As Americans, we all value our heritage, but we also recognize that as Americans, we must become proficient in English if we are to fully participate in all facets of American life.”
Rep. Charles Canady

"We all agree that everyone who lives and works here should be proficient in English, because it is the language that unites us, and it is the language of opportunity,"
Gov. Tom Vilsack

“Our common language is English. And our common task is to ensure that our non English-speaking children learn this common language.”
William Bennett

“The most commonly asked question about the English language amendment is, Why do we need it? We need it to provide English with legal protection as our national language, thereby continuing our heritage as a unilingual nation. We need it to end conflicting Government policies and signals being sent to language minorities. We need it to prevent the divisiveness that is bound to result from a plurality of official languages. We need it to ensure that our Government continues to function primarily in English. And most importantly, we need it to ensure that newcomers to our shores gain fluency in English – fluency which, in turn, is the door to opportunity.”
Rep. Norman Shumway

“If, in fact, one cannot understand English, and at the point in time that one comes to vote, one has to be given a ballot in a different language, does that not mean that one is also most likely unable to understand the debate that occurred prior to the decision one makes to vote?”
Rep. Tom Tancredo

“English is the ‘language of liberty’ for nations emerging from years of cultural oppression.”
Vaclav Havel

“English is the key to full participation in the opportunities of American life.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American."
President Woodrow Wilson

“If we continue along the path we now follow, I believe that we will do irreparable damage to the unity that our common language has helped us preserve for more than 200 years.”
Sen. Walter Huddleston

“One of the reasons we require immigrants to learn English before they naturalize is that a person who cannot understand English will not be able to participate in the political community in any but the most limited capacity.”
Rep. James Sensenbrenner

“There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”
President Theodore Roosevelt

“We have to get the people to look upon linguistics not as an issue of self-pride and national patriotism, but as pragmatism and good sense.”
Senator Bob Graham

“Learning to communicate in English is one of the most important ways in which this coming together, the transformation from the many to one, takes place.”
Rep. Charles Canady

“Language is a unifying instrument which binds people together. When people speak one language they become as one, they become a society.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.”
President Theodore Roosevelt

"We should be color-blind but not linguistically deaf," he said. "We should be a rainbow but not a cacophony. We should welcome different people but not adopt different languages."
Gov. Richard Lamm

“The United States is enriched by many cultures, and united by a single common language.”
S.I. Hayakawa

“And while you bring all countries with you, you come with a purpose of leaving all other countries behind you – bringing what is best of their spirit, but not looking over your shoulders and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to leave behind in them.”
President Woodrow Wilson, comments to new citizens, 1915

“The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.”
President William McKinley

“Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS.”
Thomas Paine

“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation, evermore!”
Oliver Wendell Holmes


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