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    Reality of Spanish-Americans Immigrants

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    Spanish-Americans make up a very large percentage of the total population in the United States today. They began as explorers in what they called “New Spain” but as many years passed they found themselves discriminated and facing harsh prejudice. As a constantly growing minority they were able to fight for their rights and their independence so that they could become the involved and influential group they are today in society. The migration from Spain to America was long and hard fought involving many social, political, and economic factors that contributed to what pushed the Spaniards out of Spain and pulled them to America.

    Historically in Spain, social, political, and economic factors have influenced the Spanish population. Politically Spain has gone through events such as the Carlist Civil War and the rein of the dictator Francisco Franco, which caused thousands to migrate out of Spain. The Franco Dictatorship culturally oppressed anyone opposed to the party and made Catholicism the only religion allowed. If things did not fit into the cookie cutter plan of dictator Francisco Franco or if people were opposed to what he stood for, imprisonment or death was certain. This political tyranny and social oppression drove the Spaniards from Spain to other areas like the United States. Other factors such as economic hardship in Spain made the “New World” seem more appealing due to its rich Sulphur mining, which was an important resource for gun powder. The Franco dictatorship also caused economic issues when it came to areas that apposed Francisco’s rule.

    Factors that pushed that Spaniards to the United States were the Carlist Civil War, the Franco dictatorship, the economic hardship, and the religious oppression. The first unofficial civil war in Spain was the Carlist Civil War which broke out after the death of King Ferdinand. King Ferdinand appointed his infant niece Isabell to the thrown which outraged many people. The people outraged were mainly peasants who thought Ferdinand’s brother Carlos should come to power. In the end the Carlist lost and there was a mass immigration to the United States due to social disruption in Spain. The Franco dictatorship was unsettling to many granted those who opposed him were subjected to imprisonment, stripped of political rights, and in some cases death. Franco was one of the first Spanish leaders to violently target citizens in ways such as bombings. He also tried controlling aspects of people lives through religious oppression, making Catholicism the only religion allowed, and culturally oppressing those who did not conform in other ways.

    Factors that pulled Spaniards to the United States the Spanish ambition to build an empire, gain wealth, and religious freedom. When the New World was first made known to the Spanish it was called New Spain. At the time Spain was struggling economically and the idea of a fresh new start in a new land seemed promising. Rumors of Sulphur mining in New Spain began to grow and soon people began migrating. Sulphur mining was a big migration factor due to the very big and profitable Sulphur market, which was used in making gun powder. Being able to tap into such a large market was very appealing to most who were struggling to make ends meet in Spain at the time. There was also a very large drive to rebuild the Spanish empire using New Spain so that the Spanish people would no longer experience this low quality of life. The United States also offered religious freedom which was very appealing to the Spanish in the late 1930’s during the Francisco Franco rule when Spaniards could only be Catholic.

    Once the Spanish settled in the United States they began spreading like wildfire. As they moved into their first for, St. Augustine in Florida, and moved into Mexico they began taking over Native American land. Spanish explorers were some of the first people to explore the New World because Spain was on a mission to build a new empire there. They also began trying to establish some type of connection with the natives but these connections never played out in the Natives favor. Although initially Spain did explore most of the United States first, the ended up with none of it after giving sovereignty to France and then France sold it to the United States for $15 million in the Louisiana purchase. Today, Spanish-Americans are very well acclimated into the United States society and they are a prominent figure in United States politics. Ranging from jobs in the supreme court to being the surgeon general, Spanish-Americans are engaged in politics throughout the United States government.

    When the Spanish first came to America it was as explorers such as Christopher Columbus. After realizing the potential in the land they discovered, areas like Mexico and St. Augustine, Florida soon became heavily populated by Spanish-Americans. The Spaniards then began expanding into areas such as California, Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana. Spain was able to control South Atlantic Coast and Mexico but their expansion inland was not easily gained. The Spanish went up against the colonists in disputes about land and also fought the French on occasion. The Spanish ended up giving sovereignty to the French in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. Spanish-Americans in today’s society live throughout the United States and make up nearly half of the population.

    Two very big areas of employment that new Spanish-American immigrants had were mining and farming. Sulphur mining was a very big up and coming market in the New World and there was a lot of money to be made. The Spaniards plan was to “force the local population to work in mines and plantations’,”( Dobado, 2014 p. 24) Farming was also something that the Spaniards in Spain were accustom to so it was easy for them to pick up again in the New World. The Spaniards did find their fair share of slavery like most groups did at the hands of the colonists but they were also able to be successful in higher up positions like as politicians in government. As slaves, the Spaniards were known as much more violent than the African American slaves so they were not as favorable as slave workers. Many Spanish-American immigrants were also very useful as skilled workers; traits they were able to bring over from Spain, like metal working and ship building. Most of the immigrants coming from Spain were decently educated unlike other immigrants coming to the United States which helped the Spaniards climb the job ladder faster.

    Spanish-Americans were affected and still are affected by racial and ethnic discrimination and racism in the United States just like numerous other immigrant groups. They also faced ethnic discrimination in Spain because of the Franco Dictatorship. Francisco Franco cultural oppressed all who opposed his rule and forced being Catholic on all citizens. When Spanish-Americans first arrived in the United States there was no immediate push back because they were some of the first people to explore the New World. As time went on discrimination became a common part of Spanish-American life and many found themselves being deported regardless of citizenship or other documents. There were many discriminations such as illegal deportations, school segregations, and physical abuse such as lynching’s. They experienced circumstances exactly like the conditions faced by African-Americans during the Jim Crow Era. Spanish-Americans have been oppressed and have faced racial and ethnic discrimination and racism in Spain and also in the United States. Over the years it has held them back but as a rapidly growing population in the United States, they have done well for themselves and have fought well against discrimination and racism.

    Women’s experience with the migration to the New World was slightly different than the men’s experience due to women and children not really migrating initially. The New World was a place for the men of families to go, make their money, and then either send the money back to their families or wait until they had enough to bring their families to the New World. The immigrants that just came to make their money and send it home were known as “vagabond” works or labor immigrants. (Tahkaki) Most of these immigrants were leaving Spain due to economic issues so bringing their entire family usually was not doable. Women experienced a very typical house wife life once in the New World where they were not thought of as highly skilled and they were subservient to their husbands. Those women that did try to go out into the job market usually faced job discrimination like categorical exclusion and shifting standards. (Race & Racism) Over time women began fighting for more of their independence and when men went off to war they began working outside of the house to support their families. “Spanish-American women challenged the traditional models of female behavior as passive and servile.” (Brewster, 2005 p. 35) Although the male Spanish immigrants were treated like slaves at times, they were still seen as above the women immigrants.

    Spanish-Americans have grown to be one of the largest immigrant groups in the United States today and are part of the “fastest growing minority population.” (Qian, 2018 p. 1) They are found in nearly every line of work and they are spread up and down the economic ladder. Although things seem up for Spanish-Americans, they are split in to two very distinct categories, those who can be deported and those who cannot be deported. The possibility of deportation worries numerous families and even the deportation of one family member can be detrimental to a family’s status. If the father of a family is deported and he is the single income of the house, the rest of the family members would have no income to survive on. In worse situations if a mother and father are deported, the children in the family are either left on the streets if old enough or sent to orphanages. Despite this issue, Hispanics have some of the closest income equality to Whites and are more educated than other races. It is also found that “those who do tend to be more educated, have more skills, and be better off financially than those who do not immigrate.” (lecture) This shows why the immigrants that do come to the United States tend to do well and flourish economically compared to their status in the country they immigrated from.

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