There was a lot of migration into the United States in the late nineteenth century. Many people migrated in search of work to survive. It was an era when the economy of the United States grew faster than even that of Europe. There were rapid industrialization and growth of towns and cities.
This attracted many immigrants who came into the country in the search for a better life. The American Civil War slowed down the growth of the economy in the southern part of America; this was unfortunate for the southerners because it resulted in the unequal distribution of wealth. The south was home to most black people in the United States. The slow growth in the south forced the southerners to move to northern parts of America in the search for greener pastures.
Martin (132) states that his father moved to Texas after the Civil War because the Civil War led to economic numbness in the south; no progress seemed to occur in that part of America. His father, like many other blacks, migrated in the search for a new start. The blacks wanted to find a way of surviving the harsh conditions at the time. Job opportunities were scarce.
Thus most of the blacks who were employed had to withstand the hard work they were doing. They lived in bad conditions, and they were forced to work for long hours for meager wages. The underpayment forced the blacks to keep working under the poor conditions and eating bad food. Martin (132) describes how they, sometimes, slept outside in the dark and ate while squatting. They ate the same food over and over; beans and beef.
They were lonely and worn out, but they had to adapt to the work conditions. Martin describes that they did not count the beef as an expense because there was a lot of it. However, a growing demand for beef meant that the blacks had to work harder to meet the demand. A greater number of the cowboys were African Americans, along with other ethnic groups like the Mexicans (Martin 133).
The Cowboys worked in the harsh conditions because of the economic disability of the southern part where they lived. They were charged with the responsibility of taking care of the cattle owned by the wealthy. The experience was a time in the history of America when the founders made laws based on their own interests.
Martin shows that the late nineteenth century was a time when there was a lot of racial discrimination. The founding fathers did not see the need to take into account the views and needs of the common cowboy. Therefore, the Cowboys were subjected to terrible conditions, while those in power at the time did not see the need to reform the welfare of the cowboys.
This goes to show that their main concern was the economic growth of the nation, and the beef was important for that growth. It meant that the Cowboys had to be pushed harder to meet the rising demand for beef. The Cowboys worked hard to provide beef to the consumers, yet they ate bad food every day. It shows that the American society was filled with a lot of racial discrimination. Thus the blacks and other inferior ethnic populations were subjected to the dirty work while the others supervised them.
The leaders of modern America are believed to be more enlightened than the founding fathers. The modern American experience is less discriminative and the black people have better forums to air their grievances. The nineteenth-century experience was a time when there were great immigration and economic growth.
This led to the economic wellbeing of the United States. It acted as a foundation for the country to have different ethnic groups and races. Today, Americans have developed and learned to live together. The experience helped the Americans to come up with laws to curb racial discrimination.
Martin’s writing and American history support the idea of a shared American experience. African Americans have experienced the same experiences of discrimination and mistreatment in America. The experiences are common to all African Americans. The blacks immigrated at high rates and had to adapt to the American culture.
On the other hand, the Americans were not used to the difference in cultures, which resulted in racial discrimination. The whites saw African Americans as inferior because they did not understand them. They also assumed that blacks were inferior because they were different.
The excerpt titled “a cowboy’s work is never done” illustrates the life of the American cowboy in the nineteenth century. It shows the society as it was and how the workers in that era were treated. It also gives insight into the circumstances that led to the cowboys succumbing to the harsh conditions.
African American society all over the United States faced the same conditions. The Mexicans also faced similar conditions. Each community had its challenges that it had to overcome in order to survive in the fast-growing society. Therefore, the immigrants had to familiarize themselves with cultures that they were not used to.
Martin, George. A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done (pp. 132-139). College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1984. Print.