At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States saw significant changes in its population rates and characteristics. Specifically, the increase in immigrants could be observed in American society, which occurred due to several important socioeconomic factors, among which Foner distinguishes push and pull ones (Hatch 2). The author specifies that, with the U.S. quickly becoming a crucial political power in the global arena, people from the countries that were either colonized by the U.S. or suffered economic issues because of the economic expansion flocked to the U.S. driven by poverty and in search for a better future.
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The reasons for immigrants to view the U.S. as their target destination could be explained by the vast economic opportunities that it offered compared to the countries whose economies were damaged by the inexplicably fast economic development of the U.S. Therefore, the “push” forces, which embodied the hostility that people felt in the economic context of their own country, affected their choices to a significant extent. One might argue that the fates of the states that were captured by the U.S. at some point were not similar enough to derive the specified conclusion (Foner 604). Indeed, according to Foner, “In the twentieth century, the territories acquired in 1898 would follow different paths” (686). However, the author also explains that the problem of immigration which the U.S. witnessed during the progressive era, was fueled by the willingness of immigrants to escape the crippling poverty that affected their families and communities. For instance, Hawaii was engulfed by poverty due to the actions of the U.S. (Foner 686). Therefore, the “push” force mostly involved the need to avoid poverty.
Consequently, the “pull” force for immigrants that sought refuge in the U.S. mostly concerned vast economic opportunities. The increasingly high rates of economic progress and the rapidly developing industry made the U.S. economic environment rather attractive to immigrants (Foner 687). Moreover, the trading regulations that were established in the context of the American market comparatively early made the American economic setting quite attractive to migrant workers (Foner 688). Herein lies the external factor contributing to the increased migration rates during the Progressive era.
However, it would be wrong to state that the decision to immigrate to another country was made very lightly by immigrants during the Industrial era. After moving to another country, one typically has to experience a very challenging process of acculturation, which implies acquiring the necessary communication skills and, most notably, gaining a proper understanding of the local culture and traditions. To counteract the described issues, immigrants to the U.S. flocked into groups, thus building diasporas (Foner ). The described mechanism or coping with the sense of isolation and alienation, which a range of immigrants experience as a part of their acculturation and accommodation process, could be seen as rather effective in the environment of the Progressive era due to the opportunities for social representation that is provided.
Caused by the foreign policy of the U.S., the influx in the number of immigrants into American society was predetermined by what Foner described as push and pull factors. The former ones were largely represented by the fact that a range of states was suffering from a drop in their economic growth, whereas the pull ones concerned the rise in the opportunities for financial success in the U.S. Thus, the rates of immigration into American rose exponentially on the specified time slot.
Foner, Eric. “America’s Gilded Age, 1870-1890.” Give Me Liberty! 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp. 603-648.
Foner, Eric. “Freedom’s Boundaries, at Home and Abroad.” Give Me Liberty! 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp. 649-690.
Hatch, Patricia. “What Motivates Immigration to America?” lwvhcnc.org, n.d., Web.