The Reasons Behind Puerto Rican Migration to America Essay

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The Reasons Behind Puerto Rican Migration to America

As a Puerto Rican who was born and raised in Hartford, I did not think much about how or why my parents are here in the United States. It was after reading the articles in Hist 247 Reader: Latinos in the USA that I began to question the reasons and conditions of my grandparent's migration. Many think that Puerto Ricans began to migrate to the United States after 1898 when the United States took over Puerto Rico but Puerto Ricans have been migrating to the US since 1840's. The Puerto Rican migration is best described in two different experiences. The first experience from later 19th Century to early 20th Century is the migration due to the economic and social situations in Puerto Rico
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Instead, the United States possessed that power and transformed their island into a metropolitan economy. Workers were subjected to the changing demands of US capital expansion, and their migratory movements were shaped accordingly. The United States used Puerto Rico as a medium through which they could gain power and accumulate more monetary resources. And undoubtedly, Puerto Ricans signified nothing more to them than a reserved workforce". In the article "Imperialism and Agrarian Capitalism 1898-1930" the author writes, "Between 1898-1940 the growth, employment , and patterns of movement of the Puerto Rican population were conditioned by the establishment and decline of the capitalist plantation system on the Island. The degree of relative overpopulation varied in the major branches of production- cane cultivation, sugar manufacture, tobacco and needlework and this engendered both the movement within the colony and the emigration out" (104). As overpopulation became a big issue so did unemployment. Migration occurred because many Puerto Ricans thought that by leaving Puerto Rico they would find a better life through contract working or through Operation Bootstrap.

Bernardo Vega is a great example of a tabaquero who left Puerto Rico in 1916 in search for better opportunities in the United States. When arriving to the United States all he faced was discrimination, prejudices, unfairness, and disappointment. Throughout the novel
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