There were two topics in particular that I found to be most interesting about the resources available throughout The
of Liberty Ellis
Foundation’s website. The first of the two covered a critical policy change that lead to the federal government insuring immigration reform as well as uniform standards in immigrant qualifications. The second topic that peaked my interest is the underlying but not quite “cast system” that involved more stringent examinations for those that were lower class passengers. There were a few other topics that I found intriguing such as the island being sold for only $10,000. I reviewed a few of the famous passengers which included William Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Sigmund
Freud and Albert Einstein. Following the famous passengers overview were the photographs which were available within the photo gallery and respective sections throughout the Ellis
and immigration timelines. The photographs of the dining hall, the passengers on the boat within the island timeline as well as the statue and history of Annie Moore stood out to me and painted a clear perspective of what it may have been like to be an immigrant in this time. The immigration timeline answered several questions with regards to why so many emigrated to America and in what conditions they were subject to. Within the introduction of the 1880 through 1930 timeline, information about improved transportation technology using steam power revealed that the length of the voyage to America was dramatically reduced. This partially explained how there were so many immigrants which only surfaced more questions.
history section titled, “
Policy Embraces the Masses” answered
many of my questions involving the reasoning behind why so many left their homes. It further explained that a large majority fled to escape a variety of situations including economic drought, religious oppression and governmental uncertainty. I chose the immigration policy change as one of the most interesting and influential topics is partly due to two contributing factors. States originally reserved the right to determine their own immigration standards which meant that it was likely easier or more difficult to enter the
United States depending on the port of entry, the size of one's wallet or the skill set of one’s trade. Once Ellis
became the federally designated hub for immigration processing, the sheer volume of immigrants was simply unbelievable considering the island itself was only 27 acres which is briefly noted in the section describing the islands origin. This is a clear indicator of why some might associate events regarding the history of Ellis
with immigration rather than the military functions that it originally served. Castle Garden was the initial New
York state immigration site that processed roughly eight million people in between 1855 through 1890. This timeline also brings forth a passenger whom was quoted as he recalled his arrival, “...
Ah, that day must have been about five to six thousand people. Jammed ...
”. An emphasis on the mass movement is discussed earlier in the timeline as it mentions that 9 percent of Norway’s population is included of those that emigrated in the 1880’s. The overcrowded lines, incompetent staff and apparent exploitation lead to its closure when the