Last Updated 06 Jan 2022

Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez

Category Empire
Essay type Process
Words 1334 (5 pages)
Views 706

The book Harvest of Empire offers many examples of the factors leading to migration, which include economic and political persecution. The book has a direct connection between the hardships Latinos faced economically and military in their perspective countries. By reading this book it is clearly stated that Latinos are on the verge of becoming the largest minority group in America. Juan Gonzalez presents a devastating perspective on U. S. history rarely found in mainstream publishing aimed at a popular audience. Few of those countries were immigrants from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Central Americans.

Gonzales develops his thesis by asserting that Latin American immigration and Latino presence in the United States are markedly different from European immigration history to this country in at least three main ways: Latino immigration is closely tied to the growth and needs of the U. S. empire; race and language attitudes in this country have had the effect of moving Latin Americans not from immigrant to mainstream status, but rather from an immigrant to a racial caste status and how Latin Americans have arrived when the United States is already the dominant world power. Harvest of Empire” mentions how since the 1820’s Mexicans have migrated to the United States. They’re the second largest immigrant nationality in our history. Meixco is the most populous Spanish speaking country in the world. Most of the country’s wealth flows outside of Mexico, meaning the U. S. After the tragedy of World War II , the United States reached an agreement with Mexico to import Mexicans for a certain period of time and after their harvest was done they’ll go back to their country.

This was the bracero program, which brought millions of immigrants into the United States only for seasonal work and once they were supposed to leave, they managed to stay illegally in order for them to provide to their families. World War II also made Mexican Americans active in the U. S armed forces. “Santos Molina and Manuel Garza were two Canales family member who served in combat, in the same army so many of their ancestors had fought against.

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Nearly all his men were killed or wounded that day, and while Molina survived unscathed, he was severely wounded by machine gun fire later in Germany”. ( 103) Even after all this tragedy of people being killed Mexican Americans returned home and still faced racial discrimination. Tejano, Texans of Spanish and Mexican descent, formed several organizations in the early 20th century to protect themselves from official and private discrimination, but made only partial progress in addressing the worst forms of official ethnic discrimination.

The movement to overturn the many forms of state-sponsored discrimination directed at Hipic Americans was strongest in Texas during the first fifty years of the 20th century. It was just right after World War II that returning veterans joined the League of United Latin American citizens (LULAC) to end segregation. Their main goal was to have equal rights for Mexicans. “According to the U. S Census, tejanos comprised 32. 4 percent of the workers in the state and owned 33 percent of its wealth”. (102) Between 1961 and 1986 more than 400,000 people legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. More than 300,000 Dominicans lived in New York City by 1990, and the total was expected to reach 700,000 early in the millennium, making Dominican migration one of the largest to this country of the past forty years”. (117) The causes of the Dominican immigration are various and have changed over time. the first significant immigration from the Dominican Republic to the United States was in large part the product of political and social instability at home.

Those who opposed or had reason to fear the new regime in 1965 and those who were fleeing violence throughout the 1960s came to the United States in notable numbers. As time went on, however, and the political situation stabilized, Dominicans continued to emigrate, because of limited employment opportunities and poor economic conditions. Through the 1930s, 40's and 50’s, the Dominican Republic was ruled by the former cattle rustler and now dictator, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, better known in the United States as simply Trujillo. He surrounded himself with murderers who kept the public intimidated.

The Dominicans who came at this time were usually more educated and more politically active. “One 1980 study revealed that 41 percent of New York City’s Dominican immigrants had completed ten years of high school or better, nearly twice the average of city dwellers in the Dominican Republic”. (125)Once they arrived, they started making their own business like owning their own bodegas and supermarkets. Most Dominicans work in nonunionized workplaces for wages that most "established" Americans would refuse. Many Dominicans have encountered race prejudice in the United States also.

The mixed Afro-Hipic heritage of many Dominicans has led them to be categorized as black by white Americans, they have encountered the same racial prejudice that African Americans have experienced for centuries. Despite the accusations by their compatriots that they have been assimilated into American culture, Dominicans have tended to be seen by Americans as especially resistant to assimilation and committed to their country, culture, and language of origin. Dominicans also joined political parties and even manage to start their own organization.

Most Dominicans that arrived in the 1960’s began to settled themselves on the Upper West of Manhattan, Washington Heights. Dominican Americans are one of the newer national-cultural communities in the United States. They are still in process of creating a unique place for themselves here. Their relationships to the United States and its culture and to the Dominican Republic and Dominican culture are still evolving. However, the Dominican American community will find its own ways of living in the United States, and will make its own unique culture.

Puerto Rico has been an unincorporated territory of the United States, they’re the onlyLatin Americans who once they arrived to the U. S they’re already U. S citizens, without the need of a resident card. The massive migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States was largest in the early and late 20th century. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, large numbers of Puerto Ricans migrated to New York, especially to the Bronx, and Spanish Harlem. Juan Gonzalez shares his story and the reason why his family and himself moved to the U.

S and settled in “El Barrio” is due to the fact that jobs over there didn’t provide sufficient money to provide for his big family. “The 1930’s were the most turbulent in Puerto Rico’s modern history , and Ponce, where my family had settled, was the center of the storm. The Depression turned the island into a social inferno even more wretched than Haiti today”. (84) Meaning that they were facing hard times. There was a lot of violence and crime. By the 1960’s, more than a million Puerto Ricans were living in the United States with jobs like washing dishes in hotels, restaurants, maintenance in apartment buildings, factories or bodegas. 90) “The Puerto Rican community became dominated during the 1980’s by two different social classes, both highly dependent on government. ” “Massive disinvestment by government in public schools and epidemics of drug and alcohol abuse, all tore up the quality of city life”. (95) They also faced identity and language problems. Juan Gonzalez throughout the whole book has a combination of historical analysis that led to immigration and racial discrimination.

He describes in details the experiences of working class families from different countries like Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America and Dominicans and how they have approach to assimilate their new lifestyle once they get to the United States. The author gives out reasons of how immigrants really go through hardships in order to get to America and live “The American Dream”. Latinos don’t just come here to get on government programs like Section A, welfare, etc. They actually come here for a better prosperity for them and their families even though this may cause them to be far away from them.

Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez essay

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