How do Progressive Era and New Deal ethnic “outsiders” fit into an increasingly corporate ownership of mining and farming concerns during these periods of reform?

A

The corporate nature of American industries such as mining and farming, combined with the national emphasis on freedom of contract, allowed companies to set whatever working conditions they desired. The employees would not be able to find employment in the same profession outside the firms and so had to accept the poor terms. Immigrant laborers were especially affected by this tendency, as corporations were aware that they did not have resources and would have to leave the country had they been fired. As such, they were able to adjust their wages and significantly lower them without repercussions. However, eventually, the workers began fighting back, both through the institution of unions and via appeals to legislator bodies to change the situation.

Native workers had begun establishing unions first, possibly because their innate American individualism spurred them to oppose the situation earlier than the immigrants. As such, Clement notes that they began organizing and contacting worldwide movements. However, their unions largely ignored immigrant workers, who accepted significantly worse conditions and therefore displaced American workers who were not willing to do the same. As such, Mexican workers took longer to decide to organize, but eventually did so and began carrying out activities.

The activities presented themselves as numerous initiatives and appeal to governments to change legislation to accommodate the needs of workers. Lopez v. Seccombe et al. serves as an example of a case where Mexican people override the decisions of a municipal corporation due to their unconstitutional nature. They also appealed to the government for the application of their foreign policy, which aimed to establish good relations with neighboring nations, towards immigrants. The efforts of the workers bore results, with states where the protests had been most intense showing the highest incidences of pro-union laws being passed. The workers did not achieve everything they set out to accomplish, but their efforts contributed to the improvement of their situations considerably.

American corporations were able to set poor working conditions for workers during the Progressive Era due to their stranglehold on several industries. Nevertheless, the workers were eventually able to form unions and oppose the tendency. Immigrants, who accepted worse conditions and were mostly ignored by unions, were slower to do so but eventually began organizing nevertheless. Their efforts were met with partial success, with legislation that favored workers’ rights and opposed discrimination being passed.

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Academic.Tips. 2021. "How do Progressive Era and New Deal ethnic “outsiders” fit into an increasingly corporate ownership of mining and farming concerns during these periods of reform?" September 14, 2021. https://academic.tips/question/how-do-progressive-era-and-new-deal-ethnic-outsiders-fit-into-an-increasingly-corporate-ownership-of-mining-and-farming-concerns-during-these-periods-of-reform/.

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