“Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Uprootedness” and “Immigration Portrayed as an Experience and Transplantation.”

“Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Uprootedness” and “Immigration Portrayed as an Experience and Transplantation.”

Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Uprootedness by Oscar Handlin examines the difficulties peasant Europeans felt when immigrating to America. Handlin begins his piece by describing the life of an average peasant agriculturalist in European villages. They are described as being a strong component of the community due to their sole identification belonging to the village where a peasant knew their position in the world and humanity. Handlin argues that immigration brought an end to peasant life in Europe but was merely the beginning of life in America. However, Handlin explains that the peasant immigrants had difficult times adjusting to new foreign environments and institutions because it was normally the first time the peasants had left their villages. Severe loneliness and the separation from the only life they had known brought pessimism and hopelessness to the lives of the immigrants. Handlin concludes that peasants support of conservatism in America stems from their desire to keep things the same by remaining in tradition and authority.

Immigration Portrayed as an Experience and Transplantation by John Bodnar explains the effects of capitalism on immigrants in America. Bodnar argues that there are two categories of immigrants. The first being the Middle class which wielded a fair amount of power and received reinforcement of people from influential jobs such as government officials and educators. The Middle class held a high value over personal freedom, growth, gain, political power, and improvement of the future. The next category, the working class, is the opposite in that the working class did not have as much power or representation. However, the working class based their everyday life and work on the foundations of family and communal welfare. Bodnar argues that the immigrants’ inability to understand capitalism led to the creation of their own culture which was a combination of their past and present and that reflected immediate and attainable gains. Bodnar’s final note is that while immigrants were still subjected to capitalism, they were able to create their own understanding and culture based on their own places in society.

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