Armenian-Americans are people who are born, raised and are currently residing in the United States of America, yet they are of Armenian origins. The first major wave of immigration into the United States took place in the early twentieth century following the bloody Hamidian massacres and the genocide that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire (Bakalian 10). They constitute the second largest community in the diaspora following the other Armenians in Russia. Currently, there are estimated 700,000 Armenian-Americans (Present Day Armenian Statistics). Initially, they were considered part of the subjugated people because they did not have an independent state. However, this changed in the year 1991, when the Soviet Union was dissolved, which led to the establishment of the New republic of Armenia (Bakalian 22). This research focuses on several major contributions the Armenian-Americans made in the commercial field, political, academic, and military sector playing a significant role in the building and development of the country.
Commerce and Employment
The contributions of the Armenian-Americans were seen most in the field of commerce and countrys financial development. During the early immigration period, most of them were unskilled labourers whose major areas of expertise revolved around working at garment factories, vineyards, and wire and silk mills (De Zayas 12). For this reason, following their coming to the United States, the first wave ventured into entrepreneurship, and it took them a very short time to dominate the oriental carpet business. To an extent, their newly formed ventures created employment opportunities for other Americans who had already settled, and this led to increased commercial activity and thus economic development. Additionally, the formed businesses were important sources of government revenue through taxation. The government collected taxes from Armenian-American businesses and entrepreneurs and used this money to support various projects thus bringing about finacial development.
Place New Order
Literate Armenian-Americans took part in the curriculum development and improvement in the United States, which helped instil a learning culture on Americans. It is evident that the education sector has always been important in the United States; it is because of the countrys determined scholars it has reached the place where it is today. Although the Armenians immigration into the country started when there was an already established education system, some of their contributions led to improvements in the curriculum and academic discoveries. Those who made significant contributions to the countrys education system where the immigrants that came after the World War I. Studies have shown that the early Armenian immigrants were among the most literate ethnic groups that entered the United States. They founded the first Sunday school in late 1880, and this led to the establishment of the Armenian bilingual school (De Zayas 32). They even managed to open an institution of higher learning. On the other hand, a contribution of significant effect was their culture that encouraged education. Through assimilation with other Americans, through intermarriages, they were able to instil the same culture on other Americans. It is therefore evident that through assimilation and culture exchange, the Americans adopted the Armenian-American learning culture.
A significant section of the Armenian-American population took part in American politics and inspired change. Despite the few shortcomings witnessed in the countrys political sphere, it is evident that the country has taken significant strides to be where it is today. Armenian-Americans are often very active in political matters. For instance, in the late 19th century, there were parties such as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation that were also present in America (Bakalian 95). Despite their small size, they have always ensured their relevance and are now considered the most influential Armenian community globally. Their political strength has been proved by the fact that on an annual basis, the United States allocates large amounts of money to fund Armenian-based humanitarian organizations. In the United States, those who have attained voting rights and are American citizens have contributed to the development of the country by constantly ensuring that they vote for the appropriate leaders who will promote the growth and development of America. Consequently, they have been at the centre of those advocating for minority rights and the need to ensure equality in the United States, and this has brought harmony and peace to various groups in the country. It is the brave and visionary Armenian-Americans who helped strengthen American politics.
Many Armenians were part of the United States military during the World War II, and this showed patriotism. This was because, as was with the case of other American soldiers, they were tasked with safeguarding the American interest at all cost, and some even paid for this with their lives. Following the World War II, a number of them were decorated for their outstanding service to the country. Among those who were honoured was Colonel Ernest Dervishin. One of the most decorated American soldiers Victor Maghakian was an Armenian-American. These spirited efforts of Armenians continued to motivate other immigrants to join the military and combat global terrorism. As a result, the world became a more secure place, and the fears of terror and other global threats that most American citizens could not shake off significantly reduced. Consequently, with the military ensuring that the countrys external borders and personal interest are catered for, the United States was able to thrive economically, socially, and politically because many investors provided funds for the country, creating new opportunities for economic growth and development. The strong and fearless Armenian-American soldiers helped safeguard Americas interest and territory thus bringing about economic stability and peace.
Most Armenian-Americans belong to the Armenian Apostolic church, which is among the largest Orthodox Churches in the U.S., and they influenced many Americans to join their congregations. Although a significant portion of their population still belong to other denominations such as Protestants and the Catholics, the fact that they have maintained their religious identity means that they are very cultural. For ages, the Armenian-Americans have used this church to protect their identity, and in the process, they have attracted others. Currently, there are many of these churches in Massachusetts, California, New York, and Michigan among other states. Armenian-Americans have often used the church when protesting for something. For instance, those who supported the Soviet Armenia actions and those who are against them. There are currently more than 120 Armenian parishes, meaning that Americans have also been integrated (Waves of Armenian Immigration). Their teachings have been passed to other people, and this has had a lot of impact on showing how people relate or associate with each other. In the long run, important social virtues such as respect and honesty have been encouraged, and this has brought about harmonious living. It is thus evident that many Americans are still connected to some of the churches that were introduced by Armenian-Americans.
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Science and Technology
Several inventions in the field of science and technology were made by Armenian-Americans, and this elevated the countrys state as a global leader in medicine, agriculture, and other sectors. The United States of Americas government invested heavily in science and technology. Through various departments, the government allocated funds to support various studies in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and medicine. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging technique was, for instance, the invention of Raymond Damadian, who was an Armenian-American phycisian (Bergman). Since its invention, MRI has helped save lives by allowing the visualization of tumours and cancerous cells in the body. The images collected from the scanning machines are analysed by radiology experts to determine the cause of certain abnormalities in the human body and to adopt the respective treatment plan. This technique has not only been beneficial to the United States alone, but it has also been adopted by health care facilities around the world thus leading to a faster diagnosis of diseases and conditions that could have caused death. Their contributions in science and technology have made life and treatment easier.
Armenian-American immigration led to the increased demand for health facilities, and this caused improvement in the health care field. When Armenian-Americans came to the United States as refugees, they were escaping violence and war in their country. When the first lot of the semi-skilled workers arrived, there were strains on available resources because of the increased demand for housing, health care, and other facilities. To prevent the spreading ofimmigrants diseases to the citizens, the government had to come up with a precise protocol that would be followed to ensure that infectious illnesses or agents did not find their way into the population. This necessitated the government to buy the needed equipment and train enough skilled manpower to handle the heavy demand for health services. The resulting impact of this was that in the long run, the country became more equipped for handling emergencies, and thus in the event of a natural disaster, it would be easier to save lives. Consequently, this allowed for the establishment of goodwill and trust between the two parties thus making it even easier for the Armenians to settle in the United States. They did not face any major challenges or discrimination that was witnessed with other races such as African Americans and other minority groups in the United States of America (Mead 13). In addition to the impacts on the American health care system, it is also important to note some Armenian-Americans who revolutionized the field of medicine and whose contributions are still relevant. Varaztad Kazanjian was an Armenian-American physician who was accredited for the development of plastic surgery. Jack Kevorkian, the controversial physician who suggested doctor-assisted suicide, was also Armenian. These imprortant figures revolutionized health care making it sophisticated and effective.
Food and Lifestyle
It is evident that some of the traditions that are practiced by Americans have their origins in the Armenian culture. For instance, traditionally, Armenian women were expected to take pride in their kitchen, and important cooking lessons were passed from the mother to the daughter. In terms of nutrition, their diet was very rich in red meat, dairy, and oils. What is more, they included a lot of spices in their meals. Their common appetizers included yogurt often referred to as madzoon, their main course meal was rice, beans, and vegetable fritters, and they would cut meat into cubes to make kebabs for barbecue (Bakalian 60). Many Americans often admired their eating techniques, with many stating that it allowed for healthy eating, since food was usually made at home, thus one was always sure that it had been cooked properly. In the contemporary American society, such valuable nutritional information can help a great deal. Especially when it comes to the management of body conditions such as obesity, which is often associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Those families that have specifically adopted these eating practices have witnessed reduced levels of obesity and hypertension. Americans have embraced the Armenian cuisine, and this has been essential in fostering kinship ties, giving people a sense of belonging and appreciation.
Family and Community Dynamics
Many Armenian-Americans have been good role models when it comes to family relations. In her book, Margret Mead states that Armenian children are very respectful of their elders, and they are less likely to be rebellious towards their parents (Mead 23). Additionally, a large percentage of children have good relations with their parents. Armenian children are always eager to complete their education. This collectivism and sense of responsibility is and has always been important for the development of the country. Since these children interact with others who are non-Armenians, there has been cultural integration, and the same traits have been passed. The benefit of this is that, in the long run, Americans have been able to produce very responsible citizens who are not self-centered but also have the interest of others at heart. There are many Armenian-American novelists such as William Saroyan, Michael Arlen, and Marjorie Housepian Dobkin whose contribution to literature cannot be ignored. It is thus evident that their discipline and sense of respect have been very important traits to emulate.
In conclusion, we must say that it is evident that the Armenian-Americans have made significant positive contributions that have led to the development of the country. Although they came to the United States as immigrants due to violence, their hardworking nature enabled them to assimilate easily with the locals and take part in the day-to-day operations of the country. Because of their entrepreneurship attitude, they created small businesses and employed others, and this led to economic growth and development. Additionally, the revenue collected by the government as taxes was used to provide social utilities such as health care services. Moreover, there are renowned Armenian-Americans who represented America in the World War II and gave up their lives for the service of the country. Their influence was also felt in the academia, where there were scientists who made important inventions such as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging technique that is still used now and has helped save many lives. Also, because they had a rich culture, when they were assimilating with the locals, cultural integration occurred. Important virtues such as honesty and respect for the elderly were adopted by Americans. The Armenian-Americans have, therefore, proved to have a big stake in the growth and development of America in the late 18th and the early 19th centuries.