Until recently, with one historical exception, America was able to take a coherent national culture and identity for granted. Successive waves of immigrants entered a country where their ultimate assimilation was considered a desirable outcome, not a contested one. The country did not prove equally hospitable to everyone, and some groups endured enormous hardships on their way to a fuller realization of America’s grand vision of opportunity and freedom. Yet throughout, the dream of common purpose and community common propelled the collective desire to live up to it (Myrdal 1964) and provided the framework within which progress was understood and made.