Life in the United States-New York is easier. I don’t mind the frequent abuse. At Least here, I am not forced to fight and kill for survival. Despite the hardships of traveling, I prefer it that way. Back there in the southern regions of Calabria and Campania, times are tough, I thought. The government has failed us. Look at our Prime Minister ‘’the iron baron’’- a death symbol. The 18th century in Italy was almost ungovernable. I like to compare it to the Picasso Guernica portrait. The hard calamities that hit us hard were the consistent wars and natural disasters that seemed to reoccur after every fortnight. (Molnar, 2015). My name is Marco Bonaventura. I am a first generation Italian immigrant that immigrated to America in the 1800’s. I immigrated to the new world in search of a better life and to live the American dream, but ran into many obstacles along the journey. In this writing, I will go into detail about my life during this period as an immigrant into this new world. A 25-year-old man who works at a local textile industry to make ends meet and this is my story.
Late into the 18th century, migration was a norm for the Italian people. The peasants also referred to as the Contadina (italics) were the most affected. They had traveled via the Italian peninsula all the way from the developing countries in Africa to the mighty in Europe. Here, they found the Europeans partitioning Africa and they were offered homes. (Vincenza, 2009). This was in exchange for their skills. Back home, I worked as a skilled craftsman in Lombardia and Veneto. However, the locals here couldn’t afford to pay for services due to the poverty levels in which the disasters had left them. It was simply an economic depression in Europe. (Alchin, 2014).
The main reason that finalized my exit from Italy was poverty. I could not even afford basic meals. I wore old clothes very often. What is the role of the government? I kept on wondering. While the landlord cartels were charging very high prices for the land, money was on the low. Little employment, high taxes, and volatile political climate was the order of the day. These conditions made me leave. Despite all these, I had a plan to come back to Italy one day. With all the savings I assumed I would go back, buy land and await my final days. I decided that I would try my luck in the United States-the land of milk and honey. In Italy, skilled artisans received 1.4$-0.30 cents a day, while in the USA it was 18$! Already huge numbers had traveled there, including my neighbors. I thought why not do the same? 19th November 1898, I began my transit. My destination was New York.
The 3000-kilometer mark voyage journey to the USA wasn’t encouraging at all. I felt distracted. Additionally, traveling to the USA mainly entailed the shipping route. The trip hurdled by overcrowding rooms and unsanitary living conditions, it was a nightmare. After ten days wait in the steamship, we arrived at the Ellis Island immigration center. A forced 50 cent fee was imposed on me as they began their scrutiny. First, they started by checking my head for any deformations. They then checked my medical and physical well-being. Luckily, I passed the test. Those who failed-were separated from their family and deported back to Italy. This led to its renaming: the island of tears-‘’ L’Isola dell Lagrime’’ (Molnar, 2015).
On my approval to work, I was first busted by prejudice and hate. The influx of Italians in the USA had breed hatred already. They claimed that the Italians had come to overtake their jobs. Occasionally, were attacked. This led to us cramping together in small houses to achieve our safety. I luckily got a job at a textile industry laborer where I got 9 $ a day. Racial discrimination was also the order of the day here-except that the pay rates were high and the taxes low. My current relationship with my peers is excellent, except for my American bosses who ponder me every day. In spite of all these, I would prefer to work here as I plan my exit back to Italy with enough money. I always told myself, when the going gets tough the tough get going.
The dream that every individual holds about America is a mere belief that every American citizen possesses the freedom to lead a good life that includes access to suitable housing, a piece of land, and better and enjoyable experience than our forefathers (UShistory.org.). Often people viewed America as the land of unparalleled opportunity. The growth of big businesses was coupled with both negative and positive impacts on the American dream. The industrial revolution fueled job growth which made more jobs available for the working people. This gave many people opportunities that did not exist in the previous years. With machines being produced and introduced into the homes this freed up more time for leisure activities. Machines speed up production in the fields, factories, and apartments. As these businesses grew now, the need arose for white color workers to manage the actions of the more significant operations.
With more time available people had additional time for leisure activities and sporting events. These activities and events grew because of this industrial revolution. The common laborers invested their free energy in move lobbies, baseball parks, and delight parlors while high society residents spent leisure time in cantinas, clubs, and friendly requests (Roark). Any of these leisure activities could be a part of the American dreams because they make people happy and make them want to pursue a better life and be satisfied.
As with any immigration, there is always opposition to it. This is known as anti-immigration, and it played a part in the American dream. Many had fears of mass immigration into their areas. With individuals fearing immigrants into their neighborhoods, this caused resentment towards the newcomers to the city. At the time this would create tensions between the races and at times fights.
In conclusion, living as an immigrant in the United States was extremely difficult. I felt at times as I did not belong and was not welcomed in this new world. I felt as if I was discriminated against, just because I was in search of a better life for myself and my family. People seem to forget that just a few years before this many of them were often immigrants their selves. We are all looking for our happiness, or in other words, we as Americans are in search of the American Dream.