KevinCruz-PichardoProfessorBridger BishopHistory102-100613December 2017Issues in theUS through 1877 to 1945For decades the United States have been through warfare, politicaldisputes, and social problems. Three problems in between the years 1877 to 1945that occur are immigration, problems with race, and labor issues. Immigrationproblems occur because of a series of events such as the California Gold Rushand the new idea of nativism; however, America was built by immigrants. Racialproblems are a well-known issue in the United States with victims such as theIrish, Chinese, Mexicans, Native-Americans, and Black Americans. Labor issuesin the past started because of salary cuts and layoffs and cause strikes, forexample, the Railroad Strike of 1877. The people of the United States tried tosolve these issues in the past. Today, the issues of race, immigrants, and workare still relevant.
Immigration before 1945 had its issues. Past events before 1877 inEurope, such as famine, religious complications, and economic opportunitiescaused enormous migrations of people such as the Irish and Germans to move tothe Americas. Before 1877, some major events in the Americas were the AtlanticSlave Trade, The Mexican-American War, and the California Gold Rush. TheAtlantic Slave Trade brought many Africans to the United States to be used asslaves. In the Mexican-American War, the United States won, and seized what isnow New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and parts of Coloradoand the Mexican people that came with the land.
During the California GoldRush, there was a great migration from the east and People from Europe and Asiacame too, particularly China. One of the first legislations created to limitimmigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Two causes for Chineseimmigrants to travel to the United States were the California Gold Rush in 1849and the Taiping Rebellion in the years 1850 to 1864. The Chinese Exclusion Actof 1882 was a legislation that banned Chinese labors to come to the UnitedStates. Americans blamed Chinese workers for the low job employment and lowwages. The reason is because Chinese immigrants would accept low paying jobsand accept work that most Americans would not want to do during that time suchas cooking, washing clothes, mining, and cleaning. Waves of immigrants arrivedfrom Europe to the United States.
The cause for these waves occurred because ofindustrialization such as the creation of steamships that encourage people fromEurope and Asia to come to the US for jobs and a new life. Some oppositionagainst immigration is the idea of nativism. Nativism is the protecting theinterest of those native-born and oppose immigrants and immigration. In 1897,Congress tries to oppose immigration by passing the Immigration RestrictionBill, which was a type of literacy bill that targeted illiterate immigrants andlimits only educated immigrates to migrate to the US, however, the bill wasvetoed by President Grover Cleveland. The United States of America was built byimmigrants. The Mexican-American War, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the riseof the idea of nativism were some problems of immigration before 1945. Today,immigration is still a problem, especially within Latin America and withrefugees from the Middle East. Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries havepeople who cross the borders of America.
Some solutions were the stopping ofprograms such as the DREAM Act and DACA and the building of a barrier andincreasing the security around the borders. The DREAM Act means Development,Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. This act helps bring minors to theUS from places such as the Mexico and the Philippines. DACA is a program thatis Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program helped minors to be ableto stay here in the United States. These solutions may create moreopportunities for the citizens of the US, but overall that is only in the longrun. If a crackdown on illegal immigrants were to happen, many companies wouldbe economically unstable, they would be in a rush to look for new workers,people would want to increase wages unlike immigrants, some people will notwant jobs that some immigrants had, such as a low paying job or jobs such as afactory worker or farmers, and increased wages would increase inflation.
Notonly the economy would suffer, but also the families that would get deportedand the countries that they are deported too. Countries will have an increaseof unemployment and homelessness. Families will lose their homes, money, andeverything they worked for. In the past the main reasons of the opposition toimmigration were because of employment and racial discrimination. Today it remainsnot so different. The only difference between now and then is that now peopleare speaking up and trying to establish their roots here in America.Race in general has always been a problem in the US. FromExpanding the US borders to immigration.
Some events before 1877 is theconquering of Natives, the enslavement of the African people, the AmericanCivil War and the annex of parts of countries such as Mexico. When People fromEurope came to the Americas, it was for freedom, expansion, and riches. Thepeople were helped by the natives at first, but soon the Europeans took landfrom the Natives, whether by diplomatic means or war and murder. With the riseof colonies, society needed labor. Africans were enslaved either by Europeansor by other African Kingdoms. Then they are sold and bought. Soon, peoplewanted to be free from their shackles.
The American Civil lasted from 1861 to 1865. Four years of war betweenthe American people. One of the main reasons for the war was to stop slaveryfrom expanding to the rest of the states. When the United States took landsfrom Mexico, Russia, and France, they also took the people living there. Peoplehave already established their homes, especially the Mexican people andNatives. The US took land away for cash crops, mines, or simply to distributethe land for the Americans. Racial inequality in the years between 1877 and1945 was still ongoing.
In the Black Hills War of 1876 to 1877, gold wasdiscovered, but the natives there did not want to remove. The Lakota put up aresistance against the Americans and asked America to stop their people frominvading their lands, however, they did not. When the Lakota attacked, Americaalso attacked them because of their people. The Indian Wars are an example ofracial discrimination because of the ideas of Americans. People thought thatNative Americans were savages and uneducated. A solution was Indian boardingschools; this is the start of the general idea of cultural assimilation. The increasesof Chinese immigrations cause Americans to discriminate them and force theminto low status careers during that time. There was the lynching of Chinese workers;an example is the massacres at Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1885 and anotherexample near Hells Canyon, Idaho in the year 1887.
The solution was the ban onChinese immigration. Blacks and African-Americans have been enslaved anddiscriminate against ever since the Europe’s scramble to Africa. Then, it endedwith the 13th amendment, the 14th amendment, and the 15thamendment that abolished slavery, which made African Americans Citizens, andgave the right to vote. There was still resistance such as the Ku Klux Klan andthe Jim Crow Laws; it also begins the age of lynching. To maintain control ofthe minorities, states pass vagrancy laws and convict leasing, pass literacylaws and poll taxes, used sharecropping, made a new state Constitution thatstrip African Americans of the right to vote and the right to bear arms, passsegregation laws. However, movements for civil rights begins. Groups such asthe National Association of Colored Women and the National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People targeted segregation and lynching.
In 1896, InPlessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal as longas the facilities were “separate but legal”. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, BookerTaliaferro Washington, and others argued for equal rights for African Americansand Blacks. In the past, Blacks joined the ranks of the military, however,during the First World War more Blacks Americans join the military than before.
There was more integration in the navy, than in the army. After the First WorldWar, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected as President of the United States andhe made a new plan called the New Deal. Nevertheless, The New Deal stilltreated the African American community disproportionately. They acquired lesspay and there was fewer programs for them. The New Deal with Native Americansmade them lose land to non-Native land speculators and it prevented them fromfully supporting themselves. The issues today is that people stilldiscriminates against other races.
The main reason to stop immigration fromother countries is because of race, people who still considered themselves ofEuropean descent do not want people from other countries, such as Mexico andthe Philippines. People are racist against other people because of their skincolor. Today there are more laws that protect against discrimination andracism. However, the problem is still the same. People judge other peoplebecause of their ancestry, their skin color, because of stereotypes and becausethey want the support of other people.Labor issues are common issues here in America. Examples of suchissues or cutting wages and being laid off.
The issues with labor began sincethe Industrial Age. America wanted to produce goods faster, better, and moreefficient. Assembly lines were created, which is just a repetitive task thatemphasized efficiency and organization. There were longer work days that meantmore hours after the sun went down and the idea of graveyard shifts. NewMachines were being made and that meant new dangers, hazards, and accidents.Child labor and low wages occur because of industrialized America. People werelaid off and they did not have a steady wage. Soon, some laws were placed toprotect these workers and stop child labor, America then enter the ProgressiveEra.
An idea such as Populism, Communism, Labor Unions and strikes were allmade in the during the America’s Progressive Era. A famous strike is the GreatRailroad Strike of 1877. The main reason for these types of strikes is becauseof money and hazards. Therefore, Labor unions were made to protect the worker,their wages, to have a number of workdays, and to make their work environmentsafer.
Some examples of major labor Unions are the International Workers of theworld, The American Federation of labor, the United Mine Workers, The Knightsof Labor, and the American Railway Union. In the 1900’s, The National ChildLabor Committee was formed and made the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916.This Act bans goods produced with child labor, but it was later struck asunconstitutional. Birth certificates, then were made to prevent children fromgoing into the workforce before they have reached the legal age. Children weretaken away by authorities from their families and they are put in the hands ofgovernment officials if anything negative occurs with them and their families. TodayLabor Unions hold more powers within the companies than they used to.
However,some issues that are new, is the over increase of wages. While some jobs dorequire to get paid more, some jobs do not. People who work at entry level jobswant an increase of their wage, which in turn will cause inflation.
Entry leveljobs are called entry level because they are the step to get into the workforce.Still, Labor Unions want to increase the wages of these type of jobs toincrease their support. Companies that would require such labor would gobankrupt because the workers are protected by labor unions.
There were problems with immigration, problems with race, and laborissues in the years 1877 through 1945. On immigration, people had the thoughtof nativism and did not want other types of people even though Americaconquered already establishes lands. Racial problems were an issue in the past,but it is still an issue. People are judged by their race, color, and ancestry.
Labor disputes now are different than what they used to be. Labor Unions poseas a new problem with the increase of wage and protecting workers companiescannot fire.