Chapter

The Changing Face of Labor

Alexander Tsesis

in For Liberty and Equality

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379693
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379693.003.0013
The Changing Face of Labor

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The spike in immigration during the 1880s swelled the ranks of America's workers. America became one of the world's greatest industrial powers, in no small part due to the accomplishments of foreigners laboring in coal mines and quarries and on railroads. Many of them, especially Jews and Roman Catholics, suffered from religious discrimination. Protectionist opponents of immigration condemned the moralizing of anyone who “may try to smother us with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” On the West Coast, the Chinese were the most common objects of bigotry. Denied citizenship, and consequently the right to vote, it was impossible for Chinese immigrants to establish an effective political lobby. The xenophobia did not go unchallenged. Although the immigration issue was quite different from those traditionally related to the Declaration of Independence, there were prominent voices who connected the topic to the nation's foundational principles.

Keywords: immigration; labor force; immigrants; Chinese; Declaration of Independence; laborers; jews; Roman Catholics; religious discrimination

Chapter.  5389 words. 

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