Conclusion Overview of Economic Catalysts Leading to Immigratio


The attempts of industrialization by President Porfirio Diaz commencing in 1876 and more importantly, the large demand for labor that was a result of the expansion of international railroads fueled by the post-Westward Expansion of the United States, were the catalysts of the large-scale immigration of Mexican rural farmers between 1890 and 1920. The economic conditions of the United States and Mexico complemented each otherthe former with a labor shortage, the latter with labor abundanceso that the governments of the two countries encouraged the large-scale immigration of Mexicans into the United States. The immigration dubbed the Welcomed Mexican Invasion acknowledged the size of and the acceptance shown the labor that Mexican immigrants provided.

The immigrations had an opposite as well as equal impact in Mexico. President Diaz had economic problems of his own as a result of losing 1.5 million of the total population and probably more due to his industrious policies. As a result of the rapid increase of millions of displaced rural Mexican laborers immigrating to the United States labor, was short in Mexico. The trend of solving problems and causing others is common among many aspects in the relationships between Mexico and the United States. Mexico turned to governmental relationships with the Japanese, as demonstrated in a 1916 New York Times article that stated Mexico needed all the labor we [they] can get.[1] Though this was exaggerated, it nevertheless displays the consequences and the desperateness that occurred in Mexico due to large-scale immigrations.

The industrialization of rural Mexico and the implementation and development of railroads were crucial in ultimately developing the inclination of the displaced rural Mexican farmers to immigrate over established national borders. The mechanism of haciendas, which displaced a large number of campesinos in Mexico, only exacerbated the discontent of the rural farmers. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 did not truly change previous Mexican policies, but resulted in stagnating an already motionless social hierarchy by providing the wealthier individuals in the social ladder with supplemental advantages as opposed to those of lower classes. Thus the labor force in Mexico was debilitated, large and impoverished. It was projected that around 1.5 million Mexican rural farmers immigrated to the United States over a period of nearly thirty years. Since immigration statistics at the turn of the twentieth century were not always accurate, it is probable that the immigration was not as large but given the population at the time, the immigration was definitely massive.

The development and extension of American railroads also physically linked Mexico to the Southwest and to other parts of the United States. Mexican railroad networks transformed a handful of Mexican railways to a more intricate network of interconnected rails and branches that ultimately provided transportation for the Mexican laborer, improved trade and increased industrialization. With the extension of the railroads after the inauguration of Porfirio Diaz in 1876, campesinos found they had an alternative to the hacienda in that they could leave their farming communities and travel to Northern Mexico and the United States to seek work with the railroads or other industries, cheaply and without the hardship and danger of traveling by foot or by animal. The Mexican immigrant answered the need for a significant source of cheap labor by American employers, especially the railroad industry, in the Southwest during the early twentieth century. Due to these large-scale immigrations the economy of the United States southwest grew irrevocably dependent on labor that has its origins over the border to our neighbors to the South. The United States took advantage of an opportunity that had the potential to guarantee a rock-hard foundation for the American economy for years to come.

Border towns in Texas developed rapidly due to the railroad connections both north and south of the border. The railroads brought Mexican laborers to work on the railroads and eventually the Mexicans settled near the railroad centers, thus their presence was key to the growth of the Southwest, especially in Texas. Later in the twentieth century when the economic situation called for a larger and/or more present labor force, the federal government did not hesitate to alleviate immigration restrictions, specifically for the Mexicans, in order to fulfill those demands. The expansion of railroads and large labor demands that were fulfilled by the Mexican immigrant laborers initiated a period of economic prosperity in the Southwest regions of North America. One can argue that without such rapid economical development, the United States may not have become a world power as rapidly as it did without the help from rural Mexicans immigrants.

[1] Mexico Welcomes Japanese, New York Times August 5, 1916.

Uploaded 03/22/2009
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