Capitalism, rapid industrialization, and development of a steadily growing economy during the period of 1850s-1950s resulted in high demand for workforce. The United States was experiencing growth in proportions unanticipated before. In order to facilitate production of goods and delivery of services, there arose a need to solicit for forms of labor that would contribute towards nation building. Resultantly, the best possible workforce was through immigrants. They played a significant role in the attainment of business and economic goals for the US. This is regardless of the fact that they faced a myriad of challenges in their daily lives due to differences in race. This paper seeks to discuss the immigrant workers in the US, and how changes in aspects of life influenced their treatment.
Having come into the United States to secure freedoms and better employment terms and conditions, immigrants were more than willing to take up the available jobs in the business sector. The availability of opportunities in the US was an incentive in itself for workers from countries such as Mexico and China. The number of economic interests for the US to be pursued tripled in line with developments in different aspects of life. Rapid population growth increased the demand for goods and services. It was, therefore, prudent that recruitment of workers is considered. Era-specific economic and business interests drove the exercise. The United States sought to provide cheap labor for its industries.
The racial discrimination against the Chinese and the Mexicans enabled the economic system to exploit the potentials of these groups of immigrants ("Chinese and Mexican Americans Share the Immigrant Experience" n.p). Those fleeing from their homelands to pursue economic freedom were in for a shock. The reality of the job environment within the borders of the US was entirely different from their expectations. The economic interests of the US revolved around the development of infrastructure and agriculture. With proper and detailed development plans, the US hoped to increase resource mobility through these two sectors.
The average Chinese worker was recruited to labor on the development of infrastructure systems. Mexicans were recruited to contribute to the development of agriculture through their farming skills. These groups of workers were discriminated against and subjected to hard labor compared to the rest of the US population. They were not protected by labor laws and advocacy groups as is in the present-day. The treatment meted out to the laborers was not limited to illustrations of labor-related regulations and statutes ("Chinese Immigrants and Mexican Americans in the Age of Westward Expansion" n.p). The employees were treated without respect or acknowledgment for the role played by the workers. This was inhumane as the only difference between the workers was their disparities in races and particular ethnic communities.
These acts that constantly portrayed the need for humane and fair treatment of people of all races, historicaloriginand ethnic backgrounds reveal similar treatment of African American recruits. The African America workforce from the south of America was equally subjected to harsh and deplorable working, eating, and sleeping conditions. Ethnicity and racial differences influenced the kind of labor, which the African Americans were hired to carry out. The African Americans were to fill positions in various capacities such as foremen, attendants, salespersons, social workers, and driving. These were, in most cases, activities done by an average person.
The discrimination on the grounds of race, cultural, and ethnic background saw to it to that the African Americans were only engaged in activities that were not very challenging to their cognitive abilities. The path towards achievement of the goals and objectives set by businesses in this era looked down upon most African Americans. Factories in the North-Eastern and Midwest did not offer the expected conducive environment for the immigrant workers to practice skills learned ("The Great Migration" n.p). It showed the elaborate plans to ignore any viable input that could have been put across by the African American worker. The workers were reduced to serve roles such as running of errands. Lack of avenues for the participation of African Americans in policy formulation and implementation in business showed the disparity with which everyone else was treated.
A shift in the political, economic, and cultural systems has been witnessed over the years. The society has embraced the diversity of citizens to some levels. This is a step in the right direction towards ensuring continued productivity of all members of the community. A shift from an economic system whose foundations were centered on slavery and depression of all the non-alien citizens has been noted (Gratton and Merchant 525). The changes in politics and cultural values over a period have tried to lessen the burden carried by people. Families have been reunited with long-lost relatives. Adoption of positive attitudes regarding any race or ethnicity has helped restore families back together. With a more robust economy, paired with a peaceful, political landscape, the society has finally begun appreciating the diversity of a given people. Due to the changes in the stated aspects, the pursuit of economic interests no longer seeks to isolate. Rather, it is to be an inclusive and all-involving process.
In conclusion, the judging of individuals on other criteria should have been an option as economic development was picking pace. The discrimination against others on the basis of race, ethnicity and cultural differences does not yield any meaning in life. It is clear that the immigrants played a crucial role in the building of present day US. The different groups faced distinct struggles but emerged victorious through forgiveness, persistence, and perseverance until such a point that society is changing.
"Chinese And Mexican Americans Share the Immigrant Experience." VOA. 3 June 2014. Web. Accessed on 22 Apr. 2018.
"Chinese Immigrants and Mexican Americans in the Age of Westward Expansion." Khan Academy. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-us-history/period-6/apush-american-west/a/apush-chinese-immigrants-and-mexican-americans-westward-expansion. Accessed on 22 Apr. 2018.
Gratton, Brian, and Emily Klancher Merchant. "An Immigrant's Tale: The Mexican American Southwest 1850 to 1950." Social Science History, vol. 39, no. 4, 2015, pp. 521-550.
"The Great Migration." Inmotionaame.org. http://www.inmotionaame.org/print.cfm?migration=8. Accessed on 22 April 2018.
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