A hyphen can be a dangerous thing. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a debate on the hyphen was a great part of American politics. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were decidedly against the hyphen that let people identify as European-American, or Italian-American, Irish-American, pretty much anything-American. “Hyphenated Americans” soon became a derogatory term, meant to imply a diminished allegiance to their American identity.
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