The European Experience

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The USA and Immigration

The USA is an immigrant-rich country. Irish and German immigrants made up the majority of the second wave, which occurred during the 1830s and 1890s. When the immigrants found fellow Anglo-American immigrants after arriving in significant numbers, they encountered considerable animosity and opposition. Because the industrial revolution in Europe had left peasants who relied on agriculture as their primary source of income jobless, the second wave of immigrants migrated to America in quest of fresh prospects (Reuters Staff). As a result, friends and family of some of the immigrants sent them several invites to immigrate to America. While the British and Irish were escaping famine and hardship, the Germans were seeking political liberty and escaping economic problems. The essay will analyze the contribution of immigrants to the American economy and industrial revolution.<\/p>

Contributions of Immigrants to the American Economy

Most Americans continue to celebrate their heritage and identity as immigrants signifying the benevolence associated with immigration. Despite, the uncertainty concerning the importance of immigrants, they have contributed significantly to USA industrialization (Hainmueller and Daniel). The immigrants contributed considerably to the economic growth because of their cheap labor and skills. The Irish immigrants provided the labor services in urban areas working in construction and transportation networks. The workforce contributed to the Union forces during the Civil War was sourced from immigrants (Davis). Additionally, the immigrants executed an essential role in the industrial revolution. Immigrants principally occupied the American cities which enjoyed the industrialization. Furthermore, immigrants assisted in shaping democracy, American politics, and the American culture. The second wave immigrants executed a significant transformation in creative arts including writing and filming.<\/p>

The Role of Labor Unions in Industrialization

Industrialization ensured cropping up of several labor unions that became legally recognized to represent workers in the USA industries. The labor unions contributed a great deal in fighting for the equal rights for laborers, fighting for their wages, and bargained for them to be offered right working conditions. The AFL-CIO was the umbrella labor federation that competed towards ensuring the transformation of labor values for their members (Wasserman). The Knights of Labor commenced secretly and was organized by Philadelphia cloth laborers. However, it expanded and included all workers nationwide including the African-American laborers. The Knights escalated slowly and accomplished in facing down Baron Jay Gould through the 1885 strike.<\/p>

The Rise and Fall of the Knights of Labor

According to Wasserman, membership increased in the Knights that it operated as a labor union in lieu fraternal organization. However, the Knights engaged in strikes, autocratic leadership, and mismanagement causing membership decline. In 1886, the Knights failed during Missouri Pacific strike. AFL (American Federation of Labor) replaced the Knights in the labor movement (Bateman). However, membership in AFL was not open to sundry but focused on skilled laborers. Officials such as Samuel Gompers ensured the strict regulations are adhered to and this transformed AFL to become a respected entity in the USA, but it refused to associate itself with unskilled laborers.<\/p>

Strikes and Workers' Rights

The development of unions was contributed by the oppression suffered by workers in the USA industries. The wage dispute was the primary factor that influenced the occurrences of strikes. Besides wage disputes, other reasons for strikes included to bargain for better working conditions and to maintain control of their work hours. The economic depression led to wage reductions and layoffs that agitated the laborers resulting in vehement workers' strikes in 1877 and 1894. In 1877 when the Great Railroad Strike was caused by workers protesting the ten percent wage reduction. The efforts of the federal state to calm the strike led to violent uprisings in several states.<\/p>

The Populist Movement and Farmers' Rights

In the 1890s, the Populist leader Mary Elizabeth Lease motivated the farmers to fight for their rights since their livelihood was deteriorating because of industrialization. Mary Lease engaged in Populist Party because of how she could relate to the distress facing the farmers because she had experienced the financial hardships. Lease advocated for those who had been affected by the economic powers sourced from Wall Street. Being the best Orator, Lease indulged in advocating for the farmers' rights. Mary appealed to the hearts of farmers directly with the anticipation that farmers would gain the drive to protect their interests.<\/p>

Challenges Faced by Farmers amid Industrialization

The rise of technological improvements and market expansion made the commodity prices to decrease.<\/p>

The American industrialization caused the farmers to be left with an unstable source of livelihood. The farmers whose livelihood depended on weather and local markets were subjected to financial security connected to the central government economic system. The farmers tried to voice their frustrations through the Populist Party (Reuters Staff). The American prosperity had alienated the farmers. The financial demise suffered included receiving low prices for the products. McKinley Tariff strengthened the Populist movement because it hurt the western and southern farmers whose products were bought at lower prices while the farmers were required to purchase manufactured products at higher prices. The farmers collaborated through their movement, and the Republicans were voted out of the House of Representatives in 1890 Congress elections.<\/p>


Immigration and laborers fighting for their rights highlight the need for being organized and building strong forces. Additionally, the zeal and motivation of the workers ensured their rights resulted. Moreover, Emma Goldman engaged in public demonstrations, which had been inspired when eight anarchists were persecuted. Eventually, Emma\u2019s ideology concerning anarchy transformed, but she maintained her strong belief about freedom of expression (Domonkos). Finally, immigrants contributed majorly to American industrialization and shaping its culture. Therefore, the USA primarily constitutes of immigrants.<\/p>

Works Cited

Bateman, David A., Ira Katznelson, and John Lapinski. "Return the Union, 1877-1900." (2015).

Betz, Hans-Georg. "A distant mirror: Nineteenth-century populism, nativism, and contemporary right-wing radical politics." Democracy and Security 9.3 (2013): 200-220.

Davis, Charles L. "The Railroad Expansion Controversy in Postbellum Bourbon County: Conflicting Economic Interests and Ideological Perspectives among Urban and Rural Elites." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 112.1 (2014): 51-82.

Domonkos, Doug. "Emma Goldman: The Anarchist Guest | San Francisco Jewish Film Festival." Web.Archive.Org, 2010,

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.

Reuters Staff. "European Populism Poised For Troubling Second Wave." U.S., 2015,

Wasserman, Harvey. Harvey Wasserman's History Of The United States. Columbus, Ohio, Www.Harveywasserman.Com Books, 2004,.

March 23, 2023
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