America’s Immigrant Legacy
The United States of America has been blessed to see waves of immigrants throughout its history that have helped to shape this country into what it is today.
The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution changed America’s economy forever. It was a huge step from manual labor to the industrialization that is today’s standard. Immigrants played an essential role in the country’s industrial development.
While the industrialization of manufacturing was concentrated in specific cities which meant an increase in urbanization. Immigrants were also concentrated in those growing cities. Immigration and the industrial revolution took place at the same time and place and that was not by chance. Millions of immigrants, mostly from Europe, came and were willing to work for lower wages and in harsher conditions than most. If it hadn’t been for them, the industrialization of America may have taken longer, or not happened at all.
Many people have a grandparent or great grandparent that was an immigrant during this period. Many notable people, including former CEO of EBI Consulting, Jeffrey Previte, have immigrant ancestors. Jeffrey has launched himself into the olive business in honor of his grandfather, an Italian immigrant.
First Waves of Immigration
Just like the former CEO of EBI Consulting, Jeffrey Previte, there are many other prominent people in America that have immigrant heritage. This is because the first part of the 19th century brought huge waves of immigration. People came seeking greater and new economic opportunities or were fleeing famine and hunger in their home countries. More than 20 million immigrants came!
However, that was not the first wave of immigration to America. In the colonial era, the turn of the 17th century saw the first successful English colony settled in Jamestown, Virginia. These immigrants came seeking freedom from oppression and freedom of religion and laid the foundation for American society.
Why They Came
The reasons for immigration both back then and now are many and vary. As mentioned before, large numbers of immigrants came seeking economic opportunity. High taxes, crop failure, hunger and famine, religious freedom, and others were all motivations for immigrants.
From the original British and European immigrants to the millions that came in the 18th century, to the Jews immigrating in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the many varieties of immigrants coming today, all have left a legacy for America.
Immigrants have always been an important piece of American history. They have been an essential part of industrialization. Today Americans still enjoy the benefits and effects of their efforts with freedom of religion, the general prosperity of the United States, the freedom from oppression, and the opportunity to build any life they want.
This is an amazing legacy, which can be continued by treating immigrants kindly, and recognizing what they continue to contribute to society today. When you take the time to ponder and appreciate all that immigrants have done or are doing for you, you will share that with your children, or your grandchildren, and help them to understand and value these brave people, too.