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For Liberty and EqualityThe Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence$
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Alexander Tsesis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379693.001.0001

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The Changing Face of Labor

The Changing Face of Labor

(p.227) 13 The Changing Face of Labor
For Liberty and Equality

Alexander Tsesis

Oxford University Press

The spike in immigration during the 1880s swelled the ranks of America's workers. America became one of the world's greatest industrial powers, in no small part due to the accomplishments of foreigners laboring in coal mines and quarries and on railroads. Many of them, especially Jews and Roman Catholics, suffered from religious discrimination. Protectionist opponents of immigration condemned the moralizing of anyone who “may try to smother us with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” On the West Coast, the Chinese were the most common objects of bigotry. Denied citizenship, and consequently the right to vote, it was impossible for Chinese immigrants to establish an effective political lobby. The xenophobia did not go unchallenged. Although the immigration issue was quite different from those traditionally related to the Declaration of Independence, there were prominent voices who connected the topic to the nation's foundational principles.

Keywords:   immigration, labor force, immigrants, Chinese, Declaration of Independence, laborers, jews, Roman Catholics, religious discrimination

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