Sociology/Summary of Pages 65-74, A Nation of Immigrants: An Overview of the Economic and Political Conditions term paper 2062

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March 8, 1999

Racial and

Ethnic

Relations.

Summary of Pages 65-74, A Nation of Immigrants: An Overview of the Economic and Political Conditions of Selected Racial and Ethnic Groups.

The North American economic development has seen several stages of development. The first stage of economic development was a plantation-slave economy mixed with mercantilism, the second stage of development was a competitive industrial economy, and the stage third stage of economic development is multinational capitalism.

Economic institution and related governmental actions have formed the tides of migration and the resulting patterns of immigrant adjustment.

The original groups of inhabitants in North America were Native Americans. These Native people lost much of their land and many of their lives to the vicious European invasions.

Many groups of immigrants came to America, yet each group had left their native country for various reasons and under various circumstances. Some immigrant groups entered America as slaves, others came to work at low paying labor jobs, and some came as entrepreneurs. These various groups were discriminated against at varying level, depending on the resources the group brought with them. Those immigrants who made the journey to America on their own freewill with economic resources found that it was much easier to find good jobs than those immigrants with less than such freewill and resources. Small business opportunities unfortunately were not available for most immigrants.

The waves of immigrant migration to the North America are highlighted in phases. With phase one came English colonists from the 1600's to the 1800's. The English created colonies and forced land from the native people. The English also established a form of capitalism. During this same time Africans were seized from their native lands and were shipped to America involuntarily in the form of property, to be used as slave labor. Also, phase one brought an era in which Irish Catholics immigrated to America, driven from their native land from the 1830's to the 1860's, due to famine, oppression, and poor living conditions. These Irish immigrants were able to obtain low wage jobs. Phase two began with the immigration of Chinese people from the 1850's to the 1870's; these people came due to recruitment efforts by the United States and in hope of obtaining better living conditions. The Chinese became employed mostly in construction, and menial service jobs. The Italians arrived between the 1880's and the 1910's. The Italian people were recruited for construction and other related low wage labor jobs. The Japanese immigrants came to live in Western America after migrating from their land to Hawaii from the 1880's to the 1900's. The Japanese people had also been recruited as laborers.

The third phase of immigration to the United States began with the Mexican people from the 1910's to the 1990's, due to labor shortages from Europe and Asia. The Puerto Rican people started arriving in the 1940's and continue to arrive into the 1990's. These people accessed labor jobs in farms and jobs in blue-collar occupations. Recent Asian and Caribbean groups started arriving in the 1960's to the 1990's, mostly as political refuges, and also for political reasons.

Commercial capitalism and the slave society were the effect of the East Coast colonial expansion of English land. The early economy was derived of a combination of enterprises under English rule and independent entrepreneurs. Included in this system was Slave plantations. The goal of English colonial settlement was to secure raw goods and markets for English products. In England merchants invested in the colonial industries. Other people from Europe began to immigrate into the colonies with the hope of becoming small farmers. In the colonies there were two types of major production, small farms, and plantations and merchants.

From the 1600's to the mid 1800's African people were used for slave labor in colonial plantations. Around the time of 1860 there were as many as 3.9 million slaves in the united States due to a strong demand for their labor.

The Southerners in the United States had held nearly all political and economic power in the government until the end of the civil war, which granted the Northern Industrialists the majority of governmental power in the United States.

In the Northern Industrial society and in small farms immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia were among those in the labor force. These Europeans had been recruited from their countries, and they had also left for other reasons such as famine, political and economic problems and the hope of a better life. The immigration of Europeans laid the foundation of patterns of racial conflict.

The African people that were now free from slavery began working as low wage laborers for entrepreneurs. In some cases African Americans were used as strikebreakers, which raised racial pressure even more. Eventually African workers began losing their jobs to arriving immigrants from Europe. The English had oppressed the Irish people in their native land but after a few generations in America were considered part of the white dominant race.

Western expansion brought the loss of many Native and Mexican peoples land, not to mention the horrendous loss of lives. The white people felt that that these races should be subordinates to them. The Mexican people did not altogether migrate to the United States their land was brought into the United States as a result of the victory over Mexico in the Mexican-American war.

After the civil war the Industrial capitalistic economy bloomed, large enterprises began to take over the major economy. As industrialism grew Asian workers were recruited for labor from China and Japan. The United States victory in The Spanish-American war had granted the United States annexation Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Cuba. Many people from these countries immigrated into the United States mainland.

The actions that were taken by the government had an influence on racial and ethnic relations. One action that effected racial and ethnic relations was the Homestead Act, which granted land to many people but made it difficult for African Americans to get such land. For the most part, African families were not given the opportunity built up their wealth. The newly rebuilt South had a need for low wage workers and mostly the now free slaves performed these jobs. This, in effect, kept the African Americans in the South where it was difficult if not impossible for them to gain wealth.

The moving of African Americans to the cities is similar to that of the transition of European immigrants. Eventually the African people should be able to move up on an economic level, as did the European settlers. This argument is challenged because Europeans had, had greater group mobility. Among the most mobile groups are the Jewish people. The African Americans that had moved to the North were losing their jobs to the recent arriving European immigrants. African American migrants were subject to much more racial discrimination than their white European counterparts. Also, during this time racial tensions were increasing due to economic competition between European and African groups, which led to hostility and discrimination toward the African Americans from the European Americans.

Modern Mexican immigrants came after WWI and immense industrialization had brought a decrease in the number of laborers available. Mexican workers migrated to the United States to fulfill these new labor needs.

International corporations have been the major influence on U.S. politics and the economy since the 1920's. When the depression hit African and Latino Americans struggled because white people took over many of the low wage jobs.

After WWII the United States began to dominate the world economy, for many decades. During this time many white Americans moved to the suburbs of major cities and traveled to the city for employment, while most of the subordinates lived in the inner city. This separated the two groups and brought them further apart from each other.

Until the 1960's discriminatory quotas against Asians had limited the number Asian immigrants. When the quotas were lifted the United States received many new Asian immigrants from China, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam. These Asians generally migrated to the United States in hope for better opportunities.

Many immigrants from Cuba arrived after Fidel Castro came to power. Most of the Cubans were considered political refuges and were accepted by the U.S. government. During this time many Haitian refugees came to the United States, but were treated differently than the Cuban refugees because the Cubans had been fleeing a communist government, because of the U.S. opposition to communism.

Many groups of immigrants still enter the United States for the same reasons that Europeans and other groups entered the United States. Among the new immigrants Mexicans make up a large portion of undocumented immigrants.

The decline of European immigrants to the U.S. has brought an increase in Asian and Latino immigration. Native-born Americans have considered these new immigrants a problem and therefore immigration restrictions have been placed on these groups. The Latino and Asian population is steady growing throughout the United States and in some areas the majority of the population is or soon will be made up of people of color. As these people grow in population they will press for equal treatment and political, social, and economic opportunities.

This introduction has examined the economic and political ways in which people have immigrated to the United States and how that immigration has been adjusted. It has been suggested that several factors effect a group's economic and political success including time of arrival and the amount of resources brought with them upon migration. A greater understanding to the rivers of migrations into the United States requires analysis of political and economic aspects as well as group mobility. The government and it's subsequent actions have shaped the way in which migration has occurred and also has shaped the ethnic and racial relations between groups, and has also effected the distinct development of cultures.

Analysis, problems, and Remedies.

After analysis it is my belief that the modern problems concerning racial and ethnic groups do stem from the authors' reasons, such as political and economic conditions, time of arrival and reason for migration. I feel that there is a stigma that has resulted from these past experiences that people of color are inferior to the white race. I feel that the relations between different ethnic groups have been very poor in the past and do still remain poor in many areas. I also feel though, that it is important to see how far ethnic relations have positively improved in modern America. I for see that an egalitarian society is in the near future for the United States, but it will not happen "over night" and it will take a lot of work on the part of modern American society. I feel that the way, in which an egalitarian society will become a reality in America, is through education of all Americans about all other Americans, interaction between all ethnicitiys in a positive atmosphere, and finally the removal of all stereotypes, stigmas, oppression, discrimination, and labels. With this the people of America can share this great land in peace and with a degree of harmony.

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