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In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner also used the metaphor of immigrants melting into one American culture.

In his essay The Significance of the Frontier in American History, he referred to the "composite nationality" of the American people, arguing that the frontier had functioned as a "crucible" where "the immigrants were Americanized, liberated and fused into a mixed race, English in neither nationality nor characteristics".

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The prophetic words of his Jewish protagonist against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty allude to Emma Lazarus's famous poem The New Colossus (1883), which celebrated the statue as a symbol of American democracy and its identity as an immigrant nation.

Zangwill concludes his play by wishing, "Peace, peace, to all ye unborn millions, fated to fill this giant continent—the God of our children give you Peace." Expressing his hope that through this forging process the "unborn millions" who would become America's future citizens would become a unified nation at peace with itself despite its ethnic and religious diversity.

The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture or vice versa, for a homogeneous society becoming more heterogeneous through the influx of foreign elements with different cultural background with a potential creation of disharmony with the previous culture.

Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.

The play's immigrant protagonist David Quixano, a Russian Jew, falls in love with Vera, a fellow Russian immigrant who is Christian.

Vera is an idealistic settlement house worker and David is a composer struggling to create an "American symphony" to celebrate his adopted homeland.

He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds....

The Americans were once scattered all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest systems of population which has ever appeared.

They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes... He is either an European or the descendant of an European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country.

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