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Mexican-Americans in the Industrial Revolution
Transcript of Mexican-Americans in the Industrial Revolution
Overview of the Industrial Revolution and its Impact on America
The industrial revolution impacted the lives of Americans in many ways. It impacted American society, increased discriminational thought, and altered labor jobs and conditions.
A Modern Industrial Revolution
In America, as well as the majority of more developed countries, a Third Industrial Revolution is taking place. Beginning around 1940, America slowly started moving away from old manufacturing practices and into what is considered "contemporary" technologies (economist.com). This revolution is evidenced by the growing inequality of income, the increase in production rates, and the implementation of new technologies. These are obvious sources of proof, as they can be seen quantitatively and are even tangible in some cases. The computer, for example, is a contemporary invention of the Third Industrial Revolution and it has played an enourmous an enormous role in the development of modern America. But while the impact of a specific invention may be easy to notice, the impacts on groups of people and their roles in this revolution are not so easily seen, and they differ widely depending on the specific group (Greenwood).
Social Impact on Mexican Americans
In the early stages of the Third Industrial Revolution, Mexican immigrants and even American citizens of Mexican decent were mistreated in nearly every aspect of society. Racism and bigotry were abundant from a long standing history of discontent between them and the rest of society, and because of this prejudice, the rights of hispanics were openly ignored and abused. Due to their limited education and to the current level of technology, the majority of the population worked for agricultural farmers, and were payed poorly for their tedious labor. They were segregated into densely populated neighborhoods, and were kept away from whites in society and below then in social class as well. Because they represented a minority group and had little respect to support them, Mexicans were treated in society like this for nearly 30 years. It wasn't until the late 1960's that Mexican Americans began utilizing available resources and using those resources to shed light upon the atrocities they were experiencing. For the first time, they used propaganda to communicate with people around the country and to organize themselves in order to stand up against discrimination. This caused people to question why treatment of these people was being overlooked so widely, and progress slowly started being made for the betterment of hispanics. Aftermore than a century of neglect, they finally began the long process of gaining their rights back and becoming equal citizens not just by law, but by practice socially. However, even today, not all prejudice is gone. Many Mexican immigrants still hold low paying jobs and are therefore subject to ridicule. while many also have far less social opportunities because of their minority status and are frequently stereotyped for this reason (Arredondo).
Political Impact on Mexican Americans
As the Third Industrial Revolution started progressing, Mexican Americans began being recognized as equals. The most obvious example of this is the actions of labor Unions, who fought for the rights of workers. Previously, attempts to form unions
Specific Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Mexican Americans
The Industrial Revolution had a huge impact on America and a huge impact on Mexican Americans specifically. It impacted how their land was taken away from them, the jobs that they were able to find, and the discrimination they faced in the workforce and elsewhere.
The Progressive Movement and Mexican-Americans
Due to Industrialization, Mexican Americans suffered significantly from the expanding America economically, socially, and politically. There was an effort to alleviate the Mexican Americans of these many issues, urging reform in the system to diminish the prominent inequality that had been created. Although these efforts did not truly achieve what was sought, more notably they introduced these problems to the American public as needs that must be addressed and supported.
Economic Impact on Mexican Americans
Economically, Mexican Americans grew dramatically. Originally, they would work primarily in agricultural farming or on railway construction because they could not be hired for any other job with greater responsibility. They would also often face economic hardhips because they were massively underpayed for such laborous work. Throughout the Third Industrial Revolution however, they were recognized for playing such an important role in America's economy, that they were compensated somewhat and were given more freedom in regards to pursuing wealth (Network).
Industrialization had a major impact on American life. There were many societal changes from the increase in immgration, and thus, there was an increase of discrimination and a change in labor conditions. One of these varying social groups that were impacted was the Mexican Americans.
During the industrial revolution, people emigrated from Asian and Eastern European countries, and moved into cities in search of jobs to provide for their families and create a better life for their children. Farmers in the U.S. moved into cities to work in the factories. This movement into cities was called urbanization. Living conditions in these urban areas were atrocious as it was usually overcrowded, disease ridden, and crawling with rodents and insects (Education Portal).
With the increase in immigration from Asian and Eastern European countries, discrimination also increased. Many laws escalated racial tension, such as The Dawes Act, which set a precedent of discrimination against Native Americans as it forced Native Americans into reservations and to assimilate into American society (NADP). Many people were upset with the immigrants because they worked as many jobs as they could so they could pay off loans and debts, therefore stealing the jobs from the Americans and reducing the amount of hours they could work. Laws were set, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act that restricted immigration from China, to lower the cultural and economic tensions between the workers (Office of the Historian). Another set of laws were The Jim Crow laws that were created as a way to make a separate but equal society by specifying facilities that could only be used by the people of the specified race (Smithsonian). Discrimination became one of the by-products of industrialization because of the tensions between the workers.
As factories and mills were being established throughout the country, workers were need to work in them.Many immigrants worked on the railroads found jobs working on the railroads. However, the working conditions, like urban living, were vile. People working in factories could lose their extremities and were susceptible to blood poisoning if they were cut by pieces of metal on the job. People worked a ten to fourteen hour day, were exhausted, and were unable to spend time with their families.
Mexican American Land
After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, America gained control over land that is now the southwest, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. Much of the land was owned and lived on by Mexican Americans who had been there for decades (Vargas). Mexican Americans had been granted land by Mexico or Spain but after American won the land, those grants weren't honored (The History of Immigration Policies). A need for natural resources that land provided, spurred by Industrialization, accelerated the rate at which Mexican Americans were forced to give up their land for little to no compensation. The legal process that was eventually provided for Mexican Americans to fight for their land became too expensive for most to afford.
Mexican Americans found jobs working on the railroads, which were flourishing due to the Industrial Revolution's effect on communication and transportation (Bryan). They also found seasonal jobs and migratory labor in mines and on large, industrial ranches and farms. There was a demand in the southwest for low wage, unskilled physical labor as there was across much of the country at the time (Englekirk). These jobs often left them geographically isolated with little chance for economic advancement. These jobs were also primarily hard labor jobs in poor conditions for barely enough pay to support a small family. There was a growing resentment against Mexican Americans for taking lots of jobs that Americans wanted.
There was much discrimination against Mexican Americans for a number of reasons. The Industrialization itself created discrimination all over the country, and white supremacy was a huge factor in discrimination, as well as a general fear of losing jobs to Mexican Americans despite the huge number of jobs that the Industrial Revolution provided (Arteaga). It also did not help that during the Gold Rush, Mexican Americans were targeted because they were more experienced miners and Americans felt the immigrants were stealing from them (The Gold Rush). Despite the discrimination, upholding of cultural traditions encouraged a strong sense of unity among Mexican Americans in the southwest (Compean). Thanks to this, many cultural traditions have been preserved, even to today.
The Industrial Revolution impacted Mexican Americans specifically by catalyzing the rate at which their land was taken, forcing them to take jobs for low wage and unskilled physical laborers, and helping the spread of discrimination against them due to competition for jobs.
Mexican Americans sought reform due to the Industrial Revolution's economic and political decline. During the Progressive era Mexican Americans focused on organizing for justice; however, the outcome was more of an introduction to change rather than actual fulfillment
Third Industrial Revolution Impact
The Third Industrial Revolution brought along many dramtic changes to the general population of Mexican Americans in the United States. Most notably was the treatment of these people as citizens equal to any other american born person, and all the social, political, and economic by products that resulted from this.
For Mexican Americans, it was the increase in communication technology and the increase in demand for labor that led to the major impacts on their group. These things allowed them to stand up for their rights and fight back against repression and racism in order to make a name for themselves in expanding America (Library of Congress).
(Mexican American Section Gang Workers)
As the Industrialization took its affect upon the Mexican American population, the growing awareness of the Mexican Americans' struggle had initiated several organizations and conferences as forseen solutions. For instance, the government's "immigration policy proved beneficial to employers for it sustained a constant flow of Mexicans into the U.S.; [but] in essence it institutionalized a revolving door for low-wage workers from Mexico " ( Vargas). This problematic policy, only one of numerous unresolved inequality issues, as the efforts to challenge any prejudiced rules were generally overturned by the courts in favor of the wealthy whites. It was not until 1911 that a major conference held in Laredo, Texas, that the Mexican Americans begun organizing trade unions and supporting laborers with financial aid. In addition to finally providing the Mexican American population with the necessary assistance, there was also efforts to politcally voice their opinions.
Some children had to drop out of school to work because their parents needed help in paying finances. Most children worked in the mining or textile industries. The children who worked in the mines worked in cold, dark mines with little ventilation, exposing them to explosive and poisonous gases (Trueman). Other children who worked in the textile mills would lose get caught in machinery.
Similar stories like this
The Mohave County Miner and Our Mineral Wealth
newspaper article, dated 1920, brought awareness to one of the many issues Mexican Americans endured. The Progressive movement continued advocate Mexican American equality, castigating the government for manipulating the contract laborers who were hired temporarily from Mexico and sent back with insufficient earnings. The government's disregard of attaining social justice for the Mexican Americans was deeply rooted and a reality that was being brought to attention during Progressivism.
were futile because they were always disbanded. However, they were finally successful because of the changing times and were able to regain the rights of Mexican American workers. The opportunities that all hispanics had opened dramatically as well. They were allowed to serve in the Second World War and over 30 veterans were even given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Most importantly was the growing presence of Mexican Americans directly in politics. As they slowly assimilated into society, they could finally support their interests directly through governing, and therefore became more and more prominent in society and its functions (Vargas).
Many prominient organizations were created during the Progressive age, the number of members and locations burgeoning throughout the nation as time passed. Nationally large and vital organizations begun to help different social groups. Such as the
Holy Order of the Knights of Labor
, who did not discriminate against race, sex, or social class, and thus Mexican Americans were able to recieve major assistance for the first time (Vargas). Significant organizations that focused on the Mexican American population specifically also begun to organize and aid. The
El Primer Congreso Mexicanista
exemplified the fight against injustice, fueled by unfair laws imposed upon Mexican Americans. As these organizations encouraged their members to join trade unions to protect economic interests and political voice (Rosales). Illustrating further,
had similar goals as well, but was also intertwined with Mexico's labor associations. This organization paralleled the functions of the organized labor in Mexico, while providing social aid through accessible oppurtunities to build skill, benefitting both financially and culturally (Pycior). Again in Southewestern states, Mexican Americans organize themselves into the
Partido Liberal Mexicano
, emphasizing the struggle against oppressed rights and exposed the inequity of the impoverished working class. Their political resistance served to be advantageous as it initiated the fervor in seeking rights in the following decades.
Signs, like the one depicted, restricted many racial groups from being able to be truely equal to the Americans.
There were also many political changes taking place. People were starting to advocate women's suffrage and gender equality, shifting the role of the woman in American society. Other changes were not as helpful to society as politicians were corrupt by bribing people to vote them into office. Others broke their own laws to suit their own purposes. Many politicians arranged to have the voter list expanded with phony names, causing voter fraud in many states. During elections, some places had more votes than residents U.S.
(U.S. History). With all the changes in immigration, the social interactions within the U.S. changed drastically throughout industrialization.
(Library of Congress)
Many political cartoons sparked interest in political protests and helped gain support of many movements.
These organizations and infuential figures coninuodly worked for justice in several aspects of society where issues arose. It is true to recognize that the Mexican Americans"did not confront the highly visible repression that blacks endured, but their lot[s] in the border counties of [America were ones] of poverty and political subordination" (Gould). However, they were essentially alike other opressed minority groups in that they fought for similar causes, though not necessarily on the smae scale. For example, segregated education was"originally created to preserve the Spanish language and Mexican culture, [but] were utilized as a means of cultural, linguistic, and social subordination in the Anglo dominant society" (MacDonald). Education demonstrated the strong anti-immigrant sentiment that Mexican Americans were fighting against, which was difficult as their political, social, and economic statuses diminished. Nonetheless, the aformentioned labor organizations perservered and at times saw some results, if not almost always established the needed awareness for the civil rights movement later. Already during the Progressive era figures like Larazzolo advanced the fight with several political successes, preventing the disfranchisement the bilingual population. The resulting awareness and respect for bilingual states and institutions helped gain some of that lost political influence for Mexican Americans. Although they constantly focused on purging the government of prejudice laws, it was a challenge to actually reach the ultimate goal of equality. Given the increased legal assistance stemming from Progressive era, Mexican Americans were able to see some repeals in laws that severly hindered their progress. Unfortunately, despite the steady action of Mexican Americans, complete with supportive finacial needs, restoring political influence, and social assistance, their hopes for justice would not be wholly satisfied during this period. Instead, the Progressive era was merely the vital beginning to the long struggle for equal rights.
(We Serve Whites Only)
By: Mateo Bejarano, Nalani Pasion, Pauline Ordonez, and Zoe Weiman
Walker and Wilhelm
H 11 AM
Mexican Americans in the Industrialization:
the struggle the Mexican American population endured as a result of the Industrial Age, spanning into the reforms of the Progressive era, and ultimately the impact during the Third Industrial Revolution.
(Mexican Workers in Willow Springs)
From being poorly treated workers...
...To respected politicians.
(Oscar Zeta Acosta)
Cesar Chavez was a prominent activist for workers rights
Labor union representatives
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Chicago. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.
Arteaga, Adonia, et. al. “Los Repatriados.” University of Michigan - An
Arbor. University of Michigan, 2007. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.
Bryan, Samuel. "Mexican Immigrants in the United States," The Survey, 20,
no. 23 September 1912. Digital History, 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
Cesar Chavez. N.d. Cesar Chavez Biography. Web. 3 Oct. 2014.
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Topeka, Kansas. Two Mexican workers employed at the Atchison,
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Political figures such as Octavianio Larrazolo (left) pioneered Mexican American influence within government, becoming governor of New Mexico and serving in Senate ("Octavio Larrazolo"). Others such as Clemento Nicasio Idar actively promoted the movements using newspapers and orations.
Mexican American workers like the above railroad laborers were now protected and aided because of trade unions and labor organizations.
(Mexican-Americans in Southwestern U.S.)
Pictured are Mexican American beet root workers, the family of laborers in front of their shack, 1915. Even during reforms, many Mexican Americans continued to live in harsh conditions, tied to low wage jobs.
Dated early 1900s, prior to demands of Progressivism's education reforms, girls are lined up in front of their schoolhouse