Melena Rimsky The History of NYC Course No. GHS 306QM Ellis Island Professor Brown Spring 2013 April 15, 2013
Ellis Island: Portal to the American Dream
We all came to this country in search for something. Something that we hoped will bring us incredible freedom: from our past, in our present, and for our future. That “something” we called the American Dream and our gateway to freedom welcomed us at Ellis Island.
Before Ellis Island: Our Journey Begins (Colonial Period)
America has always been a nation that welcomed immigrants, beginning with its original inhabitants who crossed the bridge connecting Asia and North America thousands of years ago. In the early 1500’s, Europeans had created settlements that would later become known as the United States. The first settlement was founded by the English in 1607 at Jamestown. What was the reason for thousands of these immigrants settling in presentday America? Many of these immigrants migrated to the States in search of freedom, fleeing religious persecution from their hometowns in order to practice their faith. In the early 1600’s, a small group of people known as the Pilgrims escaped religious persecution in Europe and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Between 1630 and 1640, a larger group followed them and established a colony. More immigrants came to America in search of economic opportunities. A lot of these white European immigrants made their journey and became indentured servants. Although many voluntarily became indentured servants, many were forced in their European cities to flee into servitude in America. Thousands of others were shipped across the Atlantic as indentured servants.
Another group of immigrants who came to America during the colonial period were black slaves from Africa. In 1619, approximately 20 black slaves were forced into servitude in Jamestown, Virginia....