As an Hispanic American Essay
As an Hispanic American, born in Brooklyn, New York and with relatives still living in Puerto Rico, the topic of Ellis Island holds a great deal of interest for me personally. First, because of my heritage, the idea of people coming from other nations to build a new life in America is very interesting and also appeals to my sense of ancestry and personal history. Second, because of my identity as a New Yorker, the story of Ellis Island has always been close to me in a physical way, and directed me to choose this topic for my research.
Although my parents did not live through the kinds of hardships that other Hispanic people did, I still feel that those who came before me paved the way for me to live the life that I am able to live today. I will cover four to five areas I feel are very important to both the island and immigrants’ history that made their travels through Ellis Island. One, the history from Ellis Island has a long and exciting history it was the gateway to America from 1892 until it closed in 1954.
Who made the decision to use Ellis Island and why was it chosen to be the key pathway when immigrants began coming to New York. Two, what kind of affect Ellis Island hand on Americas and the immigrants that came thru the island. How did the long and short term affect our nation and how did the government handle the situation. Did the immigrants passing thru the island feel welcome to America or did they feel they made a mistake leaving their country to start a new life some where they had no idea what they would face. Three, Annie Moore the first immigrant to pass thru Ellis Island.
Where did Annie Moore come from and how did her life change once she settled down in America. How did this young Irish girl life situation bring hope to other fellow Irish men and women with the hope to start a new life in America? Four, Given that in the 68 years that Ellis Island was in operation, it processed about 12 million immigrants. How did this number of immigrant affect the social and financial structure of the United States? What were the demographics of the immigrants who passed thru and what country has the most and least amount of immigrant come thru Ellis Island?
Five, I plan to compare the views of the three authors we are using in our course and compare their reading to the entire source that I will be using. I will compare the sources that I will use to write my essay with the discussion question we have to answer and will continue to use them as they apply to my topic. I will remarks on any of the authors reading or discussion question that does not apply at all to my essay. My sources have come first from the Excelsior College Library thru the email recommendation from Anita Norton, internet and the library on Fort Belvoir.
As I prepare to write my final draft of my essay I may have to make changes to my source by adding or removing some of my sources. I will make a special not of those sources at the end of my essay with a reason why I made the change. The History of Ellis Island Before a real appreciation of the effect that Ellis Island has had on millions of people and the greatest nation on earth, it is important to have an understanding of how Ellis Island itself came to be so important by looking at its history and development over the years.
Geographically, what is today known as Ellis Island is located in the upper area of New York Bay, actually not far from the shores of the state of New Jersey, which has led to both New York and New Jersey claiming ownership of the island over the years. Originally called Gull Island by the American Indians that first inhabited it, the name was chosen because the island was originally full of only birds, before people moved to the island. Physically, the island is three acres of what was originally only soft mud and clay.
The island, at that time, was so low that at the high tide of the bay, the island was almost covered by water whenever the tide rose. The island was purchased from the Indians in 1630 by the colonial governors of New Amsterdam, which would later become New York. At this point, the island took on another new name, “Oyster Island”, because of the oysters that the Dutch settlers found on the island. These oysters also led to a good oyster fishing business centered on the island. Since the island was only good for oysters, and not as a place put permanent buildings, it changed owners several times in the 1600s and 1700s.
Strange enough, in the 1700s, the island was the site of many hangings of state criminals. The present name of Ellis Island came due to the ownership of the island by a man named Samuel Ellis in the time period of the American Revolution. After Ellis’ death, family members fought over the property, but a new use was discovered for the island, as it offered an excellent place to watch and defend the harbor, since the threat of more attacks by the British in the years after the American Revolution was always a possibility.
With part of the island being leased by the American government, several buildings were finally placed on the island, as well as at least a dozen large cannon. However, Ellis Island still remained private property, only leased by the government. In the 1800s, two important things happened which set Ellis Island on a path to its place in American history; in 1808, the State of New York purchased the island, making it public property and increasing its use as a defensive military position.
In 1890, given the huge numbers of immigrants coming to America by boat and needing a way to keep track of all of them, Ellis Island was made the official immigration station for the Port of New York in 1890, followed by stronger immigration laws in 1891 which added some more structure to the process of people entering the country and trying to prevent the entry of criminals into the still almost new nation.
Sadly, a huge fire spread across Ellis Island in 1897, killing many people and destroying all of the buildings on the island, but this actually turned out for the better, as the island at that point was totally rebuilt by the government with strong, brick buildings that would turn out to still be standing over a century later. The island also faced problems when it was no longer used as an official entry point into the US, and was abandoned for many years.
It was not until the 1980s that President Ronald Reagan drove an effort to restore the buildings of the island as a national historic site, and today, Ellis Island stands as a place where people can go to learn about their heritage, American history, and others. The Effect of Ellis Island on America and Immigrants Themselves It has been seen that Ellis Island had a huge effect on the safety of the nation and the people who came to the country to start a new life. Now, the effect that the island has had on America and immigrants themselves is important to look at more closely.
For America, Ellis Island represented a place that people could be proud of, as it showed that the US was a place that was ready to welcome people from all nations and walks of life to a new home. It also made a strong statement to the rest of the world that the US was a strong nation that was not only here to stay, but was going to be growing for many years to come. Through times when world wars destroyed weaker nations, Ellis Island helped the US not only survive, but become bigger and stronger with the passage of time.
In this way, Ellis Island was a place that became one of America’s best assets in very hard times. For the immigrants who came through Ellis Island, this was not only a move to a different place to live, but it was a move to a better and new way of life. While the people from different nations still kept their traditions, ideas and languages in many ways, they all came together as well to create traditions, ideas, language and culture that became American originals. This variety is what made America the great place that it is today.
Also, because of the success of Ellis Island, the US is still able to offer new homes and a better way of life for many people who still come to the US from other nations in the hopes of finding a better life. If Ellis Island did not work as well as it did, everything may have turned out differently and the nation itself would probably be much different than it is today. Even with the terrorism and other problems that happen in America today, very few people would argue that the US is the only superpower in the world today, and shows no sign of stopping or failing anytime soon.
The bottom line that really tells the story of the effect of Ellis Island on America is this: during the years that Ellis Island was the primary port of entry for people coming to America from other countries, it is estimated that nearly 20 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, which accounts for nearly 71% of all immigrants from the 1890s to 1950s. As a result, today, nearly 50% of all Americans can link their heritage to ancestors who came to the US through Ellis Island.
Short/Long-Term Effects of Ellis Island on the American Government and Nation Ellis Island had many effects on the American government and nation, both short and long term. These effects are important to discuss and understand. In the short term, when Ellis Island, known by other names, was bought from the Indians by Dutch colonists, it served to build a relationship between the native people of North America and the new arrivals. After that, the island protected a new nation against its enemies and allowed the nation to grow safely and correctly.
The military presence on the island likewise made a strong message to other countries that the US was to be taken seriously and made it possible for the US to show its power enough to be able to build relationships with other nations which would later lead to the expansion of American territory and allow the nation to grow even more. Over the long term, Ellis Island has become an important symbol in American history, and added to the pride of the people of the nation.
In a more practical way, Ellis Island has had a huge impact on the American nation, both back in the days when it was operating, and even today. The millions of people that Ellis Island helped to bring to America made it possible for the nation to gain the many workers needed to build roads, homes, and the growing railroad system in the 1800s. Also, the many immigrants who contributed to science, medicine, entertainment and government definitely made America better as a result.
Without Ellis Island, it is fair to say that the US would have either become full of bad people that would have hurt the growing nation, or many of the people would not have come here at all. In either case, it is true to say that Ellis Island is a priceless part of the American experience, and was very important and still is today. Annie Moore-Ellis Island’s First Immigrant Every great thing has to have a beginning somewhere. For Ellis Island, the great numbers of immigrants who came through it can trace their beginning to Annie Moore, the first immigrant to be processed through Ellis Island.
Annie Moore came through Ellis Island on January 1, 1892 as a 15 year old Irish girl from County Cork, Ireland. While many people would not think that a young girl from another nation would have much of an effect on the nation, what she represented is what is most important. First, she represented the ability of a growing nation to welcome people from wherever they may have started to be able to enjoy a new life of freedom, liberty and opportunity.
Second, as a female, Annie was opening up a world of opportunity that she would not have had in Ireland, which at that time held not much opportunity for men or women, but especially women. Third, Annie represented a diverse person that showed that America would welcome many different kinds of people, and not judge them on what they were before they came to America. It is important, however, to understand that immigrants coming to Ellis Island were not treated like royalty.
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