When looking into my family’s immigration history, I found that my father’s side of the family came from a german background and my mother’s side is Irish. My parents/grandparents were unable to tell me the german side of the story, but I was able to uncover some more in depth information concerning my former Irish ancestors.
The first members of my mother’s side of the family arrived in the United States during the mid to early 19th century. More specifically, they came while the Great Famine struck Ireland and killed many. However, they were able to make it out and ultimately end up in America. As far as my family knows, they came to the Northeast and began as laborers. They were Catholic, and looking into American history at the time there was a clear need for workers especially for the building of the Erie canal. Irishmen made up the majority of workers for this project. I can even speculate that some of my ancestors even worked on this project since they resided in Cleveland, OH.
This timing of Irish immigrants fell right peace was reestablished between the United States and Britain after the War of 1812. Immigration from Western Europe began to rise, which caused a shift in the demographics of the United States. During this time period, the Irish amassed and made up half the immigrants entering the United States This was the first major wave of immigrants called the Irish Wave, and it lasted until the Civil War.
This article discusses broad Latin American ideologies and concepts while focusing specifically on singular events and countries. The time period would be late 19 century and into the 20th century as well. Mexican independence in 1910 was an excellent example of hope which blossomed in the early 20th century. While it is not truly a Latin American country, the new projects and changes proposed were revolutionary and hopeful. This age in Latin America was also considered the golden age of export oligarchy, which meant railroads played a crucial role in the mass exportation of goods which began in Latin America. Another broad concept in Latin America around this time was the idea of progress, then change. This meant an officials desired for an iron hand to be implemented so that progress could realistically be made. Another key factor to the success of this policy was the idea that large scale success in states would in turn allow for cities and communities within that state to prosper as a result. It was a trickle down effect in that sense. However, violence and conflict was prevalent throughout a handful of countries, and bad policies were often forced upon people in order to restore control. Through all this, Latin America saw a golden age of export boom as countries were able to enter the global economy through this. Photographs were another key point in this article. They were used as the first documentation of poor working conditions but also the progress and expansion of the time period. Overall, it was a very useful technology to discover in such a time period.
Through our reading and lectures for this week, we learned and discussed the transformation of Europe in the 20th century. We read a piece by Tony Judt showing his take on these events as well as some primary sources about the EU and the recent economic crisis. Furthermore, the lectures regarded both key events as well as a central focus on the idea of the Nation State.
The rise of Europe throughout the 20th century can be broken essentially into two parts; pre 1945 and post 1945. The readings and lectures, however, focused primarily on the latter phase. A few things that Judt initially mentions are the rise of high art/theatre culture as well as football. Being an avid footballer and fan myself, I was quite interested in reading about the rapid growth of international players joining European clubs. We can still see legacies such as Ferenc Puskás being carried on in society today with football awards named in his honor. Another thing Judt focuses on is the lost status and importance of intellectuals in Europe. There was less focus on philosophy. The political topography was changing, and Governments no longer cared for what these brilliant minds had to say. Finally, arguably one of the most important part of Europe’s new identity in my opinion would be its dissociation from other cultures such as America. Europe was set on forming its own functional society/government, and through the years that really began to take shape.
Our second reading focused on even more recent European history. These sources discussed the creation of the EU, as well as its major setback in the unemployment crisis. Wednesday’s lecture mentioned and overviewed the struggles of many countries such as France/Greece, but the reading provided personal stories from young men and women across Europe. One in specific mentioned that they had applied for over 100 jobs and only gotten a handful of interviews. This shows just how extreme the situation is. These accounts all sounded very similar in the fact that each person felt massively discouraged, worried, and irritated with the current state of the EU and their own governments.
This weeks reading and lectures included primary themes of the decolonization in Africa, imperialism, and the overarching racist views of Africa itself.
Europe and other western powers had a lot of influence on African history, and through ivory and slaves Europe especially was able to make great profit. Since Africa in the late 1800’s was pretty much up for grabs, many powers came to benefit. Through this, many economies in Europe were strengthened significantly without much payoff to Africa. Essentially, they were being used for their land and resources while also suffering from inequality and division of lands. However, Africa did not solely suffer from this. Instead, they were able to see population growth and revitalization movements a little later on.
It is interesting how Europe and other powers distorted and muddled African history and still somewhat continue to do so to this day. Since caucasians were viewed as the superior race for a long period of history much of the historical texts and information was skewed to fit the fundamental beliefs of the time. This filter is very evident in people’s misguided view on Egyptians and Egypt itself being declared as white. Furthermore, Africa is given this image of being a drained, impoverished continent. This really had a serious effect on culture and African ways of life. However, Africans themselves remain hopeful in their outlook today, although the media from other nations does not portray that quite well. In fact, Africa has made quite a few developments in education, infrastructure, and more.
This week we discussed, read, and learned about East Asia in the 20th century. Since the Qing was now falling in China, Japan began to take over and soon was in complete control. After being relatively isolated for the past couple centuries, they began to dominate with new ideals of westernization and nationalism. The opium wars added insult to injury as opium was forced into China. The Qing’s fall from power ultimately led to China’s initial downfall, as well as lots of embarrassment among members of the Chinese c0mmunity. This showed the weakness of imperial government which led to uprisings such as the boxer rebellion. People were not happy, and the overthrow of imperial government was a long time coming.
In contrast, Japan also made large changes around this time. Before taking over China, they adopted a western-style, industrial lifestyle that saw importance in things such as equal education. However, they still kept their identity, unlike China. Women though were now taught a variety of skills, but were mainly taught to carry on traditions. They were still nowhere near equal to men. Japan was also able to militarize very quickly and being attacks on Korea and eventually China. However, this left long-term resentment, but there was fortunately not fighting in the aftermath of these attacks. The nations rarely used violence in years following.
In conclusion, Japan was much more successful in their efforts than China. They kept their identity but at the same time were able to become a powerful force and industrialize. The Chinese were simply left embarrassed by their weak government.