The trickling of immigrants from South Eastern Europe made the diversity a matter of concern. There emerged fear, xenophobia, and racism in response to the occurring changes.
Nativists contended that a good citizenship could not be adequately demonstrated if immigrants retained their ethnic heritage (mother tongue). An example is a legislation installing English as the exclusive language of instruction and its subsequent requirement for participation in both political and economic activities. This was a form of Anglo-conformity that portrayed the desirability to maintain English institutions, English language and English oriented cultural patterns as dominant and standard in the American life. Milton Gordon terms Anglo conformity as “the most prevalent ideology of assimilation goals in America throughout the nation’s history”. Americanization was thus perceived to be a deliberate attempt at stripping immigrants of native culture and attachment and turning them into Americans along the Anglo-Saxon lines. Ralph Waldo Emerson felt this action to be a nativist agitated “conformity demands” and “immigrant hating” forces that were direct perversions of original American ideals of an open door policy on immigrants. Secondly the need to conform people to a particular culture that was deemed stable brought about assumptions of superiority and dominance of a single culture much like the Aryan perception. In instances like the Indians who failed to assimilate to the stipulated culture, venal whites took advantage of land reforms to strip them of patrimony and thereby led to gross violations of their rights. Third, the abandonment of ethnic heritage led to the loss of identity. Assimilation was thus viewed as a shield and offensive weapon against specific targets and was used as a mask for racial, economic and political hostility.