The role of the immigrant in the west has in many ways not been given the attention that it deserves. In the past, emigrants to the western United States were viewed as primarily contributing to the labor force. They were acknowledged for inducing infrastructural and agricultural change, but little attention was paid to other ways they contributed. When attention is properly paid, it becomes clear that immigrants in the twenties and thirties generated incredible changes. Rather than being relegated to the agricultural sphere, they truly left their mark on all areas of life.
In order to fully understand just how immigrants became so influential in inciting change, it is imperative to understand why the rise in immigration was prompted in the first place. Once established in the first segment, the exhibit will then examine the significance of women and children immigrating to the western United States along with their respective roles in, and contributions to, society. Next, the discussion will be broadened to examine the community and social aspects of immigrant life as well as the effects of the immigrants themselves on the communities they existed in. After this, the exhibit will move into the work force and labor resistance movements, discussing how immigrants worked to integrate into the work force and how they dealt with frequent discrimination. Finally, the legislation and litigation that surrounded immigrants and immigration both nationally and more locally in the western United States throughout the early twentieth century will be examined.
This project aims to prove that immigrants in the western United States during this time period were just as impactful upon American society and government as American society and government were upon immigrants. It must be remembered that the relationship between immigrants and the United States is a reciprocal one. While it may not have always seemed so apparent, the men, women, and children that often face tremendous adversity in migrating to this country have nonetheless incited many positive changes. By persevering and continuing to forge their paths despite remarkable backlash, immigrants to the western United States slowly but surely began to bring about improvements. Although many were still ironically grappling with the idea of welcoming immigrants into a country built upon immigration when President Roosevelt delivered his speech, many more still were warming to the idea. Through their determined quests for new lives, immigrants brought new life to a country that would one day thrive on the very diversity that had initially set these newcomers apart.