Ninety-nine years ago, when U.S. immigration reached a record 1,285,000 in one year, President Theodore Roosevelt said:
"There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room but for one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality; we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."
Perhaps Roosevelt overemphasized the concept of national "allegiance" and "loyalty," but in promoting English, he emphasized properly the necessity of a language that lets all of us feel instantly at home in every state.
Bilingualism unlikely. It would be lovely if we all spoke at least two languages, but it’s fairly obvious that large numbers of Americans have trouble learning the one tongue well. It’s fairly safe to predict we’re never going to be a nation in which a majority speaks the same two languages fluently.
In a nation of so many artificial differences, English is the one mechanism that unifies us more naturally than law. It’s not a cultural habit that we hold onto for pointlessly sentimental reasons. English is the glue when America needs unity, it is the grease when America needs efficiency, and it is the key to every door in American society and economics.
All Americans should learn English well.
National language? I see no need to declare English the national language of the United States. It might be wise, however, if Mexico declared English its national language in the interest of developing a fully free, prosperous and integrated continent.