Tonight, I read excerpts from two essays that deal with immigration. The first essay, Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Transplantation, looks at immigration on a larger scale than it did in the second essay. in this essay, Bodnar talks about what he calls “two immigrant Americas”. The first immigrant America was one that consisted of workers with menial jobs, like grocery store employee, janitors, garbage collectors, etc. The second immigrant America held positions which pursued personal gain and leadership. In a way, one immigrant America is the employee and the other is the employer. Bodnar would also mention an immigrant hierarchy (or at least what I interpreted it to be based on the text). On the top of the hierarchy were middle-class supporters of capitalism, entrepreneurs from the immigrant class, and industrialists from urban centers. Beneath them were millions of common, ordinary people. Another topic that Bodnar would bring up that immigrants could not completely understand what was taking place as capitalism entered their world. So in lieu of this, they (the immigrants) would create their own explanations for what was happening at the time. Ultimately, the mentality and culture of most immigrants to urban America was a blend of past and present and centered on the immediate and the attainable. From the Uprooted to the Transplanted, written by Rudolph Vecoli, hit on the same points that the previous essay did, but Vecoli would focus more on the American story, stating that “the story of the republic had been one of an uninterrupted march towards its Manifest Destiny led by wise and virtuous leaders, all of whom were male, white, and Anglo”. Vecoli continued to talk about American immigration, mentioning the history and the impact that Ellis Island has had.
In conclusion, both essays explain and note the impact that immigrants have had on American culture and society. Even though Bodnar’s essay explains the plight of immigrants more so than Vecoli’s, the story of immigrants in America is hard to ignore.