Diversity in the Workplace 8211 How Different Cultures Helped Shape Our Nation





Diversity in the Workplace – How Different Cultures Helped Shape Our Nation

Today the United States of America is regarded as a global economic leader. The standard of living in the U.S. is higher than that of most other nations. Our nation is considered an economic super-power. Economic needs have often caused Americans to seek immigrants as workers, and economic opportunities have attracted foreigners. The United States is a nation of immigrants. Our nation has been shaped by successive waves of immigrants who have played major roles in our changing economy. The overwhelming majority of immigrants who enter the United States come in search of jobs and a chance at a better life for themselves and their families. Economic immigrants come primarily from Europe, Asia and, most recently, Latin America. Many immigrants work in menial, low-paying jobs that most other Americans do not want to do.
In the early 17th century, a group of Pilgrims sailed to our shores in search of religious freedom. In the years to follow, many more immigrants came to colonial America. These settlers from England colonized the northeast, settling in rich, fertile areas and along the rivers and coastal plains to the south. They soon developed an economy based on the cultivation of tobacco and other crops for export back to Europe. Their dedication and hard work paved the way for our nation to be born. During the 1600’s and early 1700’s, many African American slaves were forced out of their native lands and brought to the United States in order to work in the plantations. They became essential to the economic growth of the country. During the same time period, settlers from other European countries also established themselves in North America. Dutch and Swedish immigrants established colonies in present-day New York and Delaware. The Spanish and French also established colonies in present-day Florida, Canada and Louisiana. Many of these immigrants settled in English colonies and our economy continued to boom.
In the late 1700’s, the American Revolution was fought in order to establish political and economic freedom from England. The spirit and determination of the American people once again paved the way for growth and posterity. Our young nation began to take its first steps toward establishing itself as a world power. In 1787, the Constitutional Convention was held. Among the topics discussed by our forefathers, sectional economic interests held a forefront in the discussions between the northern and southern states. The southern states, which were not as populous as the northern states, feared that giving congress the power to regulate trade might adversely affect their economy, based mainly on the export of tobacco, rice, and on indigo and slave trading. They demanded that legislation affecting commerce be enacted only by two-thirds majority votes, but they consented to eliminate this requirement when the northern states agreed to constitutional clauses prohibiting the federal government from levying export taxes and from interfering with the slave trade before 1808. After the Constitution was passed, immigrants from all over the world continued to enter the United States. Although most of the immigrants entered through Ellis Island in New York, many of them knew where they wanted to go. Those interested in heavy industrial work such as the steel industry went to inland cities such as Buffalo, Pittsburgh or Detroit. German immigrants generally settled in Agricultural or skilled jobs in Texas and the Midwest. Immigrants from Italy worked in unskilled jobs all over the country. Later on, many Polish immigrants also took jobs in heavy industrial cities. The nation kept growing, and more states were added to the union. The expansion would not come without growing pains, however. Most people who were established held supervisory or white-collar positions. The majority of newcomers worked in low-ranking jobs, earning wages that were insufficient to provide a decent living for their families. They often lived in shacks or overcrowded city dwellings, such as tenements. One-room cabins abounded in the mining areas or in the western plains. Oftentimes, immigrants encountered prejudice when seeking jobs. Freed slaves wrote songs and poems of longing for their days at the plantation, where they at least felt at home. All of these ingredients contributed to much instability. Different