The Pursuit of the American Dream
What is the American Dream and how does one obtain it? That question can be answered in a multitude of ways. For some achieving the American Dream means living a better, richer and happier life. Others believe it has more emphasis on just living simply and having a fulfilling life; also having the opportunity to become anything one desires with little determination and hard work. In Watson’s Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream, immigrants, who came to Lawrence in hopes of obtaining a better life, stood up for their rights and fought for a better life. The immigrant’s path to the American Dream was a search for opportunity and dignity. When man is forced to live in terribly, extreme conditions, he realizes he can fight for something better because there’s nothing to lose. That’s what happened in January of 1912, a strike that would be known as the “most dramatic strike in American history” (Watson 12). The textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts (also known as the Bread and Roses Strike) captured the attention of the entire nation. 30,000 mostly immigrant and unskilled workers went on strike against powerful economic, political, and social forces and won. The Lawrence strike was not caused either by the Industrial Workers of the World or by the reduction of the working week from fifty-six to fifty-four hours with the ensuing loss of pay. The reduction was only the last straw in a situation that the workers could not endure any longer. They were no longer willing to put up with it. In Lawrence, despite poverty, declining wages, lost jobs, and anti-immigrant feelings - immigrants were still able to find some security in their family, their ethnic groups, and in their Americanism. “Lawrence was an ‘ardently American city’, where both native and immigrant shared a common faith in the United States” says Frank Fletcher. For most workers in Lawrence at the start of the 20th Century, there was...
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