ABOUT THIS BOOK
As late as 1987, two-thirds of the Americans who responded to a national survey believed that English was the official language of the United States. In fact, the Constitution is silent on the issue. Since Senator S. I. Hayakawa first proposed an English Language Amendment in Congress in 1981, Official English has been considered in forty-seven states and adopted by seventeen; the amendment is pending in the 102d Congress.
Supporters argue that English has always been our common language—a means of resolving conflicts in a nation of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups, and an essential tool of social mobility and cultural integration. Opponents charge that the amendment is unnecessary and that it threatens civil rights, educational opportunities, and free speech, wrapping racist biases in a cloak of patriotism.
Language Loyalties: A Source Book on the Official English Controversy provides a balanced, comprehensive guide to this complex and often confusing debate. It is an essential handbook and reference for advocates, educators, policymakers, jurists, scholars, and citizens who seek to join this debate fully informed. Addressing the issues involved in developing America's first planned national language policy, James Crawford has expertly collected and introduced more than eighty-five source documents and articles.