Ellis Island Essay, Research Paper
Billy J. Cunningham
Politics Through Film
September 26, 2000
The immigration process between ?old world? countries and America was often tedious and could last weeks. However there was a bright spot, and that was the entrance to New York harbor, with the Statue of Liberty in full view and the hopes and dreams of a new life in the land of the free. While there were other ports along the eastern seaboard where immigrants could make a new home, none was as alluring as New York?s. The chance to begin a new life provoked millions to make the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, making it onto U.S. soil was another matter. Once in the harbor the immigrants were ushered into Ellis Island, where they were most of the time treated like cattle. If there were suspicion of mental or medical problems the person would be held for further evaluation. In most cases the suspected were cleared and sent on their way, but for two percent of those who tried to enter the U.S. during this period they were turned away and sent to their native lands. Ellis Island was a symbol of hope, but dreams could be shattered if access was denied.
The original name of Ellis Island was Castle Clinton, which later became Castle Garden. It was the immigration Center, not for the entire United States, but for New York. Its main objective was to separate the ill and innocent from the streets of New York City. The United States government decided to take action in 1882 when the number of immigrants was climbing at a rapid rate. Ellis Island was conceived in 1890, and opened its doors on January 1, 1892. The first immigrant to pass through the gates was an Irish immigrant, by the name of Annie Moore. In June 1897, Ellis Island suffered a fire and had to be rebuilt. In December 1900, the five million dollar fireproof building was reopened.
While Ellis Island was not the greatest place to be, it was very efficient and worked well. The officials on the island wished to grant entry to all not to reject. As a whole Ellis Island worked and it was the first home for many immigrants. Ellis Island will forever be a symbol of hope and happiness to immigrants all over the world. Ellis Island had a full working General Hospital that was built in 1902, and was followed by a Disease Center in 1911. The success rate of these facilities was high, between 1900 and 1954 only 3500 people died on Ellis Island, along with 355 births. Ellis Island will forever be a part of our nations history, and for many families their own.