American Exodus Book report

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:History

Document 1

Gregory argues that many Southwesterners moved and settled in different cities in California. However, contrary to the ideas peddled by John Steinbeck in his novel “Grapes of Wrath,” that most of the Southwesterners were poverty stricken, majority of them were semi-skilled and could be able to do various jobs for their upkeep. Equally, Gregory points out that some of them were extremely poor. According to Gregory, most Californians were uncomfortable with the high influx of Southwsterers because they believed the demographical changes would result in stringent economic and social consequences such as increased taxes and diseases. Since California was considered a Republican state, its citizens thought that the arrival of the new migrants will shift political powers, where the Southwesterners would probably join forces with the democratic and labor party.

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He argues that “without an awareness of the different backgrounds from which the migrants came, it is impossible to understand the varied resettlement strategies they would follow in California” (Gregory 15). It is notable that the New Deal’s AAA had resulted in many regions of southwestern cotton belt being left in a non-productive situation, thereby causing high unemployment rate compared to other rural areas. Even though most people that went to California were farmers not all of them were impoverished and lacked skills. Gregory argues that the majority had experience in blue-collar jobs and migrated from the southwestern cities. Many of the new arrivals were educated and younger compared to those individuals that opted to stay. Therefore, they became more interested to holiness and Pentecostal churches.

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