5 struggles in the west a during the 1920s and 1930s

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5. Struggles in the West a. During the 1920s and 1930s, agriculture in California became a big business as corporate-owned farms produced specialty cropslettuce, tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and cottonand staggered harvests, which required transient labor. b. Thousands of immigrant workers from Mexico and Asia and white migrants from midwestern states trooped from farm to farm, harvesting those crops for shipment to eastern markets. Some of these migrants also settled in the rapidly growing cities along the West Coast, especially the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. c. During the economic downturn, the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations supported a “repatriation” or deportation policy resulting in the movement of half a million people to Mexico, including American citizens. d. Under the New Deal, the situation of Mexican Americans improved as they found employment with the WPA, the
CHAPTER 23MANAGING THE GREAT DEPRESSION,FORGING THE NEW DEALNYA (National Youth Administration), and the CCC. e. New Deal programs did not improve the migrant farm labor system under which so many people of Mexican descent labored. But Mexicans joined the New Deal coalition in large numbers because of the Democratscommitment to ordinary Americans. f. Men and women of Asian descentmostly from China, Japan, and the Philippinesformed a tiny minority of the American population but were a significant presence in some western cities and towns. g. Migrants from Japan and China had long faced discrimination. As farm prices declined during the depression and racial discrimination undermined the prospects of the rising generation for nonfarm jobs, about 20 percent of the immigrants returned to Japan. h. Chinese Americans were even less prosperous than their Japanese counterparts. In the hard times of the depression, they turned for assistance both to traditional Chinese social organizations such as huiguan(district associations) and to local authorities. Few benefitted from the New Deal because until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, Chinese immigrants were classified as “aliens ineligible for citizenship” and therefore excluded from most federal programs. i. Because Filipino immigrants came from a U.S. territory, they were not affected by the ban on Asian immigration passed in 1924. However, as the depression cut wages, Filipino immigration slowed to a trickle and was virtually cut off by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934. The act granted independence to the Philippines (which since 1898 had been an American dependency), classified all Filipinos in the United States as aliens, and restricted immigration to fifty persons per year. B. Reshaping the Environment 1. The Dust Bowl a. The expansion of federal responsibilities in the 1930s created a climate conducive to conservation efforts, as did public concern heightened by the devastation in the “dust bowl” of the Great Plains.

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