International Labor Movements: Portuguese Emigration to the United States, 1820-1930

Maria Ioannis Benis Baganha
History, Univesity of Pennsylvania - UNITED STATES, 1988
May, 1998
Doctoral thesis


The central thesis of this work is as follows: international labor migration is economically determined and politically sanctioned at both ends of the trajectory. International labor movements are sustained and developed by an intricate web of migrant networks.

The first part of this work ascertains the explanatory power of the above thesis vis-a-vis the neo-classic and the dependency models, using as an empirical case study Portuguese emigration to the United States. Based on micro-level data for regions of departure, networking dynamics are emphasized as the main determinant of the Portuguese migratory flow. An analysis of the American and Portuguese migration policies and a survey of the Portuguese labor market between the 1880's and the 1920's completes the study of the determinants of the Portuguese emigration to the United States.

The second part of this work describes the nature of Portuguese emigration to the United States between 1820 and 1930. The full cycle--departure, crossing, settlement, and return--is analyzed and described. To carry out this analysis, the clandestine flow was estimated, and multinational linkage of files on Portuguese emigration was done. Community analysis, based on the 1910 census manuscripts, was also carried out to establish the socio-economic characteristics of Portuguese communities in New England, California, and Hawaii.