Monday, April 29, 2013
The death of Arizona: 1990-2013
29 March, 2013
Immigration has been a constant in United States history and there has always been an immigrant workforce in the American working class. In the nineteenth century, for example, an explosion of immigrant labor from Europe—first northern and western Europe, and then southern and eastern Europe—came to cities like New York and Chicago for new economic opportunities. Meanwhile, various immigrant populations moved to the U.S. West, with the Native Americans and Chinese serving as the first large immigrant workforces and then Japanese, Hindus, and Filipinos following after them. In the late 1800s and early 1900s Mexicans migrated to the United States in greater numbers, and today Mexican-origin people remain a major part of the agricultural labor force in the U.S. West and Southwest. This paper will focus on Mexican immigration to U.S and specifically the state of Arizona in the modern period of 1990 to 2013. Though arguments exist against this Mexican immigrant workforce for taking jobs away from Americans, there is evidence that points to the contrary—that immigrants are an important part of the U.S. working class because they are actually providing a labor force where there is a shortage of willing American laborers. However, in Arizona, immigration has come with a price for Mexicans. With various immigration restrictions put in place by NAFTA, the economic disparity between the U.S. and Mexico, and heightened border security, those immigrants without documents seeking work in the United States face more dangerous and isolated migration routes, which has resulted in many deaths in the Arizona desert.
History of the Working Class
The United States in the 1940s faced a labor shortage that was caused by thousands of Americans entering World War II. The U.S needed to rely heavily on its southern neighbor, Mexico, for agricultural labor. The Braceros program, which began in 1942 and ended in 1964, brought thousands of Mexican to work on farms and railroads in states like Texas, Washington, and California. Through an agreement between the U.S and Mexico, over 4.5 million workers1 were hired between these years. Although these Mexicans--or “Braceros”-- faced many hardships for short period of times, they came back changed both physically and mentally. Braceros, meaning “strong arms2” motivated many Mexicans a hope for a better future for themselves and their families. During the program, most Braceros culture and lifestyle changed significantly and brought great changes for themselves, families, and a different mindset for their future and that of their country, Mexico.
“Red” Emma Goldman
Nicknamed “Red Emma” for her fiery and controversial topics of lecture, and countless crimes against government, Emma Goldman put fear in those who did not understand her. Emma Goldman, who people only think of as a Russian anarchist, was actually a crucial part to working class labor history. She was also imperative to feminism, radicalism and social rights. Goldman is known for her lectures and her writings on the goods of anarchy and her leadership in the anarchist and atheist world. She was a rioter, a troublemaker, a conspirator to murder and rebel to the fullest extent, but she made a huge impact on American history. For this reason, the famous “Red Emma” donned tee shirts and coffee mugs for feminist groups and fashion statements as far back as the 1960s! Although she stood for some questionable topics, and declined to stand for others (such as women’s voting rights), there was reason to each and everything she did. Her life is most definitely one of the most interesting and adventure filled I have ever read about!
April 17, 2013
Two Company Towns - Two Distinct Owners
Two company towns that left an indelible mark upon American history were the Pullman Company town and the town of Hershey. Although both of these company towns share many similarities, only one will emerge as having been a success and the other a failure. The fate of these company towns ultimately resided within the leadership of their owners, Milton S. Hershey, of the Hershey Company and George Pullman of the Pullman Company.
March 25, 2013
The Pullman Strike of 1894
The Pullman Strike of 1894 was an iconic example of the U.S. working class striking and organizing due to unfair compensation and rising costs of the standard of living. The strike is a significant historical event in United States history, displaying the economic strife and oppression of the working class and railway workers of the late 1890s. The strike is also widely known for laying down the foundation for future labor unions such as the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) because of the American Railway Union (ARU) and its role in the strike. The Pullman strike was also the first time the federal government, under the Grover Cleveland Administration, took a special interest in labor unions (specifically the ARU) and aggressively put an end to the strike. The famous strike also brought attention to Eugene Deps, founder of the ARU and future frontman of the Socialist Party of America.