Tue 27 Nov 2007
Here it is. A rough draft. Awesome.
Immigrants to the United States have faced a multitude of obstacles and different experiences throughout the years. Many of these obstacles and experiences have been specific to their ethnic heritage, while others are universal to all immigrants. By using case-studies to focus on specific Irish (Mother Jones, Thomas Taggart, and William O’Dywer), Chinese (Chin Lin Sou and John Fugh), and Japanese (Takuji Yamashita) immigrants, one can begin to understand the unique experiences immigrants go through, and the collective struggle that they all share.
I propose to write a (LENGTH – what do you think?) book on these six individuals in an effort to not only expand the collective knowledge about these individuals, but to make important contributions to the history and legacy of Immigrants to the United States in general.
Often scholars approach immigrant experiences on a large scale, documenting overall trends in aspects such as discrimination and illegal immigration, while others will focus only on a single individual. The aim of this project is to draw the connections between the six immigrants’ experiences and the experiences of their fellow immigrants as a whole during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tying the individual to his or her group as a whole gives the reader a greater understanding of the subject matter from both points of view. Individual experiences provide context for the group experience and vice versa.
There is a wealth of writing about Chinese, Japanese, and Irish immigration, but very little that deals with individuals. The literature about Pacific immigrants is especially broad and little is mentioned of important individuals. This may begin to present a problem in terms of research, and on-site archive research is going to be required.
Ch. 1: Introduction
This section will introduce the idea of illustrating immigrant experience through the case-study of individuals and draw some early comparisons and differences between Pacific and Atlantic immigrants. It will introduce the individuals that will be used as case-studies.
Ch. 2: Irish Background History
This chapter will provide context by presenting the history of Irish migration to the United States. No individuals will be discussed, only the movement of the Irish people in general. The important periods of Irish migration, such as during the “Great Irish Famine” in the mid-19th century, as well as overall Irish-American immigrant treatment and experiences will be discussed. It is important to differentiate between the Catholic Irish-Americans that made up the great part of Irish immigrants during the period of study, and the largely Protestant Irish that immigrated to the United States before the Revolutionary War.
Ch.3: Mother Jones
From Cork City, Ireland, Mary Harris Jones (or “Mother Jones”) was a community and labor organizer in the early 1900’s. She worked against many of the unsafe practices that had come along with the industrial Revolution, especially children’s causes. Her autobiography, published in 1925, will be of great assistance.
Ch. 4: Thomas Taggart
Born in County Monaghan, Ireland, Thomas Taggart moved to Ohio in 1861, at the age of five. He became chairman of the Democratic National Committee, mayor of Indianapolis, and a United States Senator. Another success story, which shows the degree of acceptance many of the Irish received when they arrived.
Ch. 5: William O’Dwyer
William O’Dwyer was from County Mayo in Ireland and was the 100th mayor of New York City. He became embroiled in a police corruption scandal and was forced to resign in 1950, effectively ruining his political career. There was an immense amount of police corruption in the predominantly Irish New York Police force, and O’Dwyer’s story is an example of the organized crime that many Irish immigrants became involved with.
Ch. 6: Chinese and Japanese Background History
This chapter will discuss Chinese and Japanese migration to the United States. This migration started much later, and unlike many of the Irish who were forced to leave due to widespread famine, Japanese and especially Chinese immigrants came in order to find a better life through the gold rushes of the 19th century. They were subject to very different experiences from the Irish immigrants, and instead of settling in cities like many Irish, they lived out in the mountains, searching for gold. The ratio of Asian immigrant men to women was also drastically in favor of men, which resulted in very few immigrants settling down and starting a family.
Ch. 7: Chin Lin Sou
From Guangzhou, China, Chin Lin Sou was an important Denver, Colorado businessman. Unlike nearly all of his fellow immigrants, Chin wore western clothing and spoke perfect English, which brought him a much greater degree of acceptance from whites. His success illustrates the progress that immigrants were able to make despite lack of acceptance from main-stream America.
Ch. 8: John Fugh
The most modern of the six individuals, John Fugh is the first Chinese American to be promoted to the rank of General in the United States Army. He was born in Bejing, China, and didn’t move to the United States until 1949 when he was fifteen. Fugh is another example in the vein of Chin, but from another period which presented him with many different challenges.
Ch. 9: Takuji Yamashita
Born in Yawatahama, Japan, Takuji Yamashita was a turn of the 20th century civil rights pioneer. He campaigned for Asian immigrants’ right to citizenship, right to the ownership of land, and the right to join a profession. He was the victim of a great deal of racism and prejudice and is an excellent illustration of the injustice and obstacles that Japanese immigrants had to contend with.
Ch. 10: Comparison between Pacific and Atlantic Immigrants
Here I will draw comparisons between the two groups using examples from the selected individuals. For the most part, the Irish immigrants assimilated into American society far easier and faced much less discrimination than their Asian counterparts.
Ch. 11: Conclusion
Proposal Due: December 14th
Research Phase: January 1, 2008 – May 1, 2008 (New York, Denver, Indianapolis, San Francisco)
First Half Due: September 1, 2008
Second Half Due: January 1, 2009
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