Nativism Essay, Research Paper
The end of the civil war and the beginning of the industrial revolution started an increase of immigration into the United States because of a need for low paid workers. Immigrants from around the world fled to America taking valuable jobs away from American citizens. This great amount of immigration halted the development of black improvement. The fault lies not on the immigrants, who sought out salvation, but in government, who made no serious attempts to stop the flow of immigration. The industrial revolution opened up a vast market of job opportunity. The expansion of railroads and mining industries increased in a rapid frenzy across the United States. The people that allowed this to happen were not the people that were born in America, they were immigrants. The American people had been waiting for a time where they could have economic opportunity. The industrial revolution was the American-born time taken away. Immigrants who came to the United States sought out every job known to man. Anything from sweeping floors to craftsman was available to the immigrants. From 1880-1920 the population of the United States ascended from 50,155,783 to 105,710,620.1 An increase of approximately 55 million people marked the start of the industrial revolution. The population of immigrants that came to the United States in the time period of 1880-1920 was about 15,000,000.2 Fifteen million immigrants just in the period of forty years came to the United States and all in need of a job. Immigrants took the jobs where Americans were paid unacceptable wages.3 One group in particular, the Irish, came in massive numbers due to a struggling economy in result of the potato famine and ruthless English rule. The Irish were considered the +first great minority in American cities.+4 Ireland was composed of mostly farmers. The Irish economy was based on the production rates of farming. Living conditions in Ireland were below moderate. Most common types were considered fortunate to have a house with a sturdy roof. From earlier years of British rule in Ireland, the Irish people in the late nineteenth century were still rebuilding their somewhat hopeless economy. Their main crop was potato . However, in the mid 1800+s the Irish people suffered a severe impact when the Potato famine struck. It left many Irish poor beyond poverty. With the drastic loss of their main source of economy the Irish people were left no other choice then to come to America. By 1914 the population of Ireland was one half what it had been in the 1840+s.5 Irish immigration into the United States was far from easy. Most of the Irish immigrants were extremely poor and had to sell almost everything they had to afford the price of their voyage. The cost of immigration for Irish people was greater than that of other nationalities because the Irish came with all of their family with intent of permanent residency.6 The trip was one of the hardest parts of immigration. Immigrants were given a small area to sleep in and the quarters in which they slept were filthy and had an inhabitable smell which was probably left by the last voyage. In the middle of the nineteenth century 40 percent of Irish immigrants died as a result of the voyage. In relation to that only 9 percent of black slaves died on the voyage.7 Most of the immigrants died of disease set off by the living conditions of their ship. For the Irish immigrants that survived the voyage the choice was New York or Boston. This was because of the location of these two cities and their easy seaport harbors. Irish immigrants did not usually posses any real skilled forms of labor. So the work which they received was very menial. They worked the jobs that American citizens left behind, like cleaning and excavating. (Basically jobs that were surrounded by filth) The living conditions of Irish immigrants were extremely hazardous. Outdoor plumbing and garbage infested streets as well as houses caused a breakout of cholera, disease transmitted by unsanitary condition that is transmitted to humans by food and water, was dominant among Irish people. The breakout was so significant to Irish people because they all lived in the same neighborhood. One family homes were divided into apartments were many families would live.8 Irish people lived so compact because they were so outcasted from society that they, as well as most other ethnic cultures, lived together for social acceptance. But the filth and wretch which they lived in and worked in was so disgusting that it would effect its surroundings. The smell would carry on and contribute greatly to their cities pollution. The real estate would also be effected. The presence of large masses of Irishmen and their poor lifestyles would turn investors and buyers away. Ireland also had another industry besides the potato, whiskey. Whiskey as well as other alcoholic refreshments was very popular among Irishmen. The alcoholism by Irishmen in America was extremely evident and as result of their alcoholism the Irish immigrants were treated with distaste and as subhuman. With the turn of the century Irishmen started to care more for their reputations. They cleaned up their streets and attitudes. Many Irishmen and other immigrants formed immigrant organizations to be able to have the power to fight unjust things such as long work days and extremely low wages. Since the government neglected to issue laws and regulations on immigrant affairs, the organizations which were formed to work as an immigrant constitution. They went on strike when they were dissatisfied with their jobs. Because most businesses were held together by immigrant workers, many business owners compromised with the immigrants. Immigrants worked most of the jobs in the United States during 1880-1924 and became very accustomed to their fields of work. As a result of immigrant specialization in the work force, Irishmen and other immigrant groups started to receive jobs with railroads and other skilled labor jobs like management. These jobs which they acquired were the ones that the American citizens needed and had a right to have. American+s were being turned away from jobs because an owner could pay an immigrant much less then an American-born worker. There still was a prominent American-born population which was jobless because of immigrants, many who were or were becoming skilled laborers because of their experience. The lack of government control to stop the ever spreading flow of immigration caused many Americans to become forgotten. By 1918, immigrants had taken over almost every elected office in the nation.9 The overwhelming population of immigrants and their power to achieve high office before American-born people was outrageous. Immigrants should have been given the chance but there was no chance for an American influence because all the immigrants would vote for an immigrant candidate. Americans would vote for their representatives and had a widespread collection of votes. Immigrant candidates would not have the worry about losing votes because immigrants voted for someone else. If an immigrant was running for office, all other immigrants would vote for them. government had again disrupted society by allowing high office to immigrants. An immigrant official would meet the needs of immigrants and neglect the needs of Americans. There would be nothing done to help the American-born people to achieve better economical security in their own country by having an immigrant official. It was not until the Immigration Act of 1924 that immigration had been controlled. The Immigration Act of 1924 ended unrestricted immigration limiting countries to a certain number on immigrants per year.10 This was governments only serious attempt to control immigration and this was done only because mass immigrant workers were not in demand. A misconception about immigration is that immigrants took the jobs that Americans would not take. Marshall Barry of the Cader Research Center of Boston and Miami states: + You hear the myth so much that immigrant farm workers take the jobs Americans won+t do, that Americans won+t clean the streets, clean the rooms, wash the dishes, but that isn+t true. If you pay right, Americans will do everything.+11 It is not that Americans did not feel like cleaning and washing and doing other odd jobs, it is that they just wanted to be paid meaningful wages which they could feed their families. Immigrants were coming from an economy that was much lower than the United States+ economy. The wages they made in America were an improvement from those they had in their former countries. Senator Albert Johnson gave his opinion on the unhappiness of Americans: +It is no wonder,therefore, that the myth of the melting pot has been discredited. It is no wonder that Americans everywhere are insisting that their land no longer shall offer free and unrestricted asylum to the rest of the world . . . The United States is our land. If it was not the land of our father than at least it may be, and it should be, the land of our children. We intend to maintain it so.+12 This statement was made in a heroic approach to the American people so that government could instill hope in the American people. The Immigration Act of 1924 did reduce the increase of immigration but not without effecting other people. Japan along with other non-northern European countries were virtually prohibited to enter the United States due to discrimination of other nationalities.13 Government had gone too long without restriction on immigration and it+s sudden attempt to decrease it was terrifying to other countries. The reason as to why immigration was not stopped earlier was because of the growth of the industrial revolution. America needed people to do the tedious jobs at a low cost. American officials knew that it would be cheaper to use immigrants rather then Americans. After the increased growth of the country, immigrants had limited access to the United States because they were not needed as much. With immigration came nativism, a term used to describe immigrants who wanted to stop immigration. Early immigrants who came to the United States and had achieved jobs and somewhat success had started to feel that the continuance of immigration could be detrimental to their own development regarding economic and social acceptance. Immigrants of the past thought that if more immigrants kept fleeing to the United States then their jobs could be in jeopardy. Those +Uncle Tom+ immigrants felt what the Americans first felt when immigration was becoming popular. Immigration not only affected Americans but also blacks in the United States. With the dawn of a new era, blacks had their first opportunity to prove themselves to white people that they were capable of performing the same tasks. The end of the Civil War was to be the chance for blacks to rise up in the social world. However, black improvement was postponed for another half-century. When Federal troops left the South because of the abandonment of Reconstruction, blacks were left in the South, were their rights won in the Civil War, did not matter.14 The blockade for black improvement was immigration. The immigrants from around the world were taking the jobs of blacks. Whites left behind the jobs that were +dirty+ and that required hardly no use of education. Even though these jobs seemed to still discriminate against blacks, it was still a chance. Unfortunately, these jobs were taken by immigrants. The immigrants were taking away the jobs of blacks, however, it must not to be blamed on the immigrants. Philanthropic merchants wanted to open up a job market for blacks but the force of immigrant organizations to not allow black improvement stopped their efforts.15 Government had once again allowed blacks to be oppressed by allowing the formation of immigration organizations. Government made an extreme profit off the industrial revolution because of its tolerance for immigration. Blacks and whites were mad that their government had betrayed them. That is why Senator Johnson had to make his speech on the Immigration Act of 1924; the people were becoming restless. It should have been government+s job to limit immigration from the start. This would have allowed Americans to further establish themselves in the industrial revolution and have a stronger sense of economic security. Presidents Taft and Wilson vetoed restraints made on immigration to continue to the keep the conditions in work areas so bad that Americans would not take them.16 The highest office in the nation, the presidency, would indirectly not allow Americans to work. Both, Taft and Wilson, knew that immigration was the key to achieving rapid economic satisfaction at the cost of Americans jobs. They knew that it was much more cheaper to higher immigrants than Americans. The living conditions in which immigrants lived in should also have been government+s job to clean up. Instead of making immigration accepted, by controlling and limiting its numbers, government made it rejected. At the time, Americans blamed immigrants rather than blaming government who+s responsibility was to create economic prosperity. Immigration ruined good occupations by demeaning them to immigrants and and penalizing corporate citizenship.17 The term, +Look out for your own,+ has extreme racial prejudice. But that is what immigrants did and Americans didn+t. Immigrants helped out other immigrants by hiring their fellow people. American business owners, trying to save a dollar, hired cheap immigrant workers. In the time of the catastrophic +Great Wave+ Americans did not try to help each other in the time of the industrial revolution. The culprit behind this scheme was government. Government did not allow Americans to be able to have economic opportunity because government felt that it would be cheaper to use immigrants, which it was. Immigration opened the door for the United States to become a diverse community and economy at the horrific expense of many American-born citizens.