Huntington and “The Hispanic Challenge”

In his article, “The Hispanic Challenge”, Samuel Huntington, Chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, asserts that America’s identity is threatened by the unprecedented influx of Hispanic immigrants. “In this new era, the single most immediate and most serious challenge to America’s traditional identity comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico, and the fertility rates of these immigrants compared to black and white American natives” (Huntington 2004).

A comparative graph from Huntington's article showing the dramatic increase in Hispanic immigration within the past several decades.

Huntington draws some important distinctions between immigration as it has been historically for America and the new wave of Hispanic immigration. “The experience and lessons of past immigration have little relevance to understanding [Hispanic immigration’s] dynamics and consequences” (Huntington 2004). He essentially argues that Hispanic immigrants do no assimilate into American culture as other immigrants have. They retain their own cultural values, practices, and language above those of this nation. This development of a sort of sub-culture is made all the more possible [and to some threatening] by their numbers. This phenomenon concerns Huntington because he believes that by clinging to their own cultural values they threaten American culture as we know it. He states that Hispanics’ “mistrust of people outside the family; lack of initiative, self-reliance, and ambition; little use for education; and acceptance of poverty as a virtue necessary for entrance into heaven” (2004) are all in conflict with American values. Huntington boldly concludes that, “There is no Americano dream. There is only the American dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English.” (2004).


Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. “The Hispanic Challenge.” Foreign Policy. Retrieved May 15, 2011 (


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