In the 19th and 20th century, the USA has seen a hike in the number of legal immigrants to the country. While the government made efforts to ensure the balance between the immigrants and the available resources, the Native Americans remained opposed to the immigration patterns that led to the low wages and the disruption of the social and religious orientations. From social and political perspectives, the Native Americans had legitimate grounds to oppose the uncontrolled movement of the immigrants to the country. Firstly, due to the rapid growth of the American economy after the industrialization, the immigration led to low wages due to the availability of the cheap labor thus thinning out the possibilities of employment for the Native Americans. This paper focuses on the reasons the nativists were opposed to immigration of Germans and Irish to America before the Civil War.
Firstly, the high immigration into the region disrupted the social and religion balance in the Area. According to Hainmueller and Hopkins (540), the majority of the Native Americans were Christians as learned from the colonial era under the Europeans. After the colonization, the Natives used the religion as the identification of the supremacy and social cohesion. However, the immigrant populations had their subjective beliefs that they sought to practice after settling in the Americans lands. The change in the religious landscape threatened the social cohesion of the Natives thus leading to massive rejection of the patterns.
During the 18th century, the American society still lived in a phobia of colonization and lack of racial supremacy. The era also followed the abolition of the slave trade, which significantly ruined the sisal farming in the Northern America. Therefore, from a social perceptive, the immigration and equal rights for the new entrants threatened the social stratifications. In other words, the majority of the adults in the immigration era had growth through the era of slavery. Therefore, they regarded the Asian and Africans as inferior races. As such, the attempts to homogenize the racial equality seemed like a direct threat to the favors enjoyed by the Native Americans.
Secondly, the opposition of the immigration helped to maintain the high wages enjoyed by the Native Americans. As explained by Boyer et al., (83) the racial demographics have always affected the labor markets in the USA. After the abolition of slavery, the employers attached low wages for the immigrants as compared to the Native Americans. Moreover, due to the massive influx of the immigrants labor and the rampant racism that limited their employment, they agreed for cheaper labor that disrupted the jobs for the native speakers. Due to the high number of employees, the wages considerably declined thus angering the Native Americans. For instance, in 1877, the Native Americans in San Francisco held the Chinese Wage Demonstration, which demanded different rates for the Native Americans and priority during recruitment practices (Smith, 18). The trend shows that the existence of the Chinese in the labor market significantly reduced the wage level for the native workers.
Moreover, the immigration led to the promotion of the German culture in the America, which threatened the supremacy of the American culture. In the 18th century, there were international conflicts between the socialism practiced by the Americans and that that originated from the Germans. Even before the civil war, these two fronts had serious social fears of overriding each other cultures. Therefore, the Native Americans responded to the immigration by curtailing the migration patterns to their favor. Without the regulation, the international culture could have crowded the international relationship and later replacing the social and political orientations of the Native Americans.
In response to the Chinese movements, the Native Americans sought to maintain the racial purity. The term American height became commonly used in the social spheres in the attempts to socially stigmatize the Asia immigrants. As outlined by Hopkins (556), the Americans saw the shorter Asians as a weak race that would alter the genetic makeup of the America-born citizens. As such, it is objective to argue that the response of by the Native Americans was a method to ensure that the Native maintained their social and racial supremacy over the Europeans and the Asians.
Similarly, there were major concerns about the political impacts of the immigrants. Apart from crippling the economic model used by the Native Americans, the era of industrialization also led to the political gains of the involved parties. Therefore, each stakeholder sought to maintain their political advantage, especially in their Native regions. As such, the response by the Native Americans to the immigration patterns showed their devotion in the maintenance of the social and religious spheres that also offered them the political advantage.
From the analysis, it is objective to argue that the main reason for the immigrant movements by the Native Americans was the social and economic disruption. While other factors such as religion and politics played a significant role, the Natives primarily focused on the immediate impacts of the immigrants into what they considered the traditional way of life. The analysis also indicates that these reasons confounded based on the circumstances surrounding the Natives opposition to immigration.
Boyer, Paul S., et al. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Cengage Learning, 2016.
Hopkins, Daniel J. "The Upside of Accents: Language, Inter-group Difference, and Attitudes Toward Immigration." British Journal of Political Science 45.03 (2015): 531-557.
Hainmueller, Jens, and Daniel J. Hopkins. "The Hidden American Immigration Consensus: A Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes Toward Immigrants." American Journal of Political Science 59.3 (2015): 529-548.
Smith, Shannon M. "They Met Force with Force": African American Protests and Social Status in Louisville's 1877 Strike." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 115.1 (2017): 1-37.
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