Political Economy in the Early 20th Century

Political Economy in the Early 20th Century

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Political Economy in the Early 20th Century

The early 20th century was a fundamental period towards the American’s political and economic development with regards to the up and downs felt in the nation regarding movement and settlement of people. It was during this era that there was immigration, immigration, the growth of ethnic enclaves as well as the rise of organized labor movements. All of these concerns were in one way or the other touching race, class gender, political economy or age, which are common threats to societal development. The nation had taken a direction on which capitalism was the order of the day developing inequality based on ethnicity and racism. During the early 1900’s, was when a large number of immigrants moved from European countries to the American society making it being referred to as the age of immigration. In this discussion, the political economy of the early 20th century is elaborated into an in-depth extent in consideration of the immigration, in-migration, growth of urban ethnic enclaves and the rise of organized labor movements.

During the age of immigration, America had open its borders leading to migration of more than thirty million immigrants from the neighboring countries, especially from the southern and northern European nations. It was among the most substantial well-known immigration in the history without restrictions where the immigrants were significantly assimilated and effectively started providing labor to the ancient community. The immigration issue was faced by political opposition leading to the government of the United States limiting the number to a hundred and fifty thousand immigrants per year (Holmes, 2015). It was argued that the immigrants were downgrading the nation’s economy as they came from impoverished European regions and lived in marginalized areas in the country.

At the early stage, the immigrant received low wages than the Latin Americans in the community as they learned the skills of producing labor in various sectors such as in the farming field. However, over the time in some areas, their income would be equalized to that of Latin America, but the case was different in other regions where the earnings gap would remain the same. After the assimilation in the United States of America, the immigrants insisted for equal pay as their fellow Latin colleagues leading to rising of organized labor movements. The United States Labor movement is an excellent example of the organizations established to curb poor and unequal payment of the average workers especially those who worked on farms.

After the assimilation of immigrants, they well adapted the American environment and started to shift from one region to another finding the favorable conditions for their stay and well-being resulting from in-migration. It is through the in-migration that people who moved to various urban centers joined and formed bases where they lived as a group developing ethnic enclaves. Ethnic enclaves can be defined as the urban areas where the minority group with distinct cultural values mostly live separate from the entire indigenous community surrounding them (Brettell, et al. 2014). The enclave caves played an essential role in acting as the bridging period of the new immigrants who had different cultures to the native population during their assimilation in the American society.

It is during the early 20th century that the rules regarding immigration and rights of the immigrants were changed in such a way that they were conducive to the entire community thus having a political impact on the nation. Also, the immigrants provided labor and some invested in the United States leading to the societal, economic growth.


Brettell, C. B., & Hollifield, J. F. (2014). INTRODUCTION Migration Theory Talking Across Disciplines. In Migration theory (pp. 13-48). Routledge.

Holmes, C. (2015). John Bull’s island: immigration and British society, 1871-1971. Routledge.