America: Nation of Immigrants (05:20)
In the early 1800s, immigrants arrive in a relatively unpopulated country with a few big cities such as New York. An immigrant's diary reveals a man working his way west doing farm work for settlers in a virtually empty country.
Letters to the Old Country (04:56)
Once European immigrants found land and a living, they wrote home to invite family and friends to join them. Millions flocked from all parts of the Old World to America to break free of poverty and hardships.
Free Land Lures European Immigrants (02:49)
The promise of free land and homes lured so many Europeans to America that European governments tried to intervene. Intercepting mail containing money and tickets, they still could not stop the stream of emigrants from Europe to America.
Journey from the Old Country to America (04:24)
Archival photographs document the journey from the villages by wagons and trains to European port cities, and finally by steamships to America. On arrival, the immigrants, like cattle, were inspected and disinfected.
Immigrant Arrival/Emigrant Departure (03:28)
Though most immigrants traveled in steerage, the welcoming band played for all new arrivals to the U.S. Archival film footage shows Liverpool, England, a popular port for emigrating masses from England and Europe.
Trans-Oceanic Journey to America (06:25)
In steerage, people suffered seasick, horrible conditions, the unforgettable stench, and conditions that got them infected with lice. In America, after 18 grueling days, they were de-loused upon arrival.
Immigrants on Ellis Island (05:22)
Steerage passengers are sent to Ellis Island for the sole purpose of controlling immigration. They went through a maze of restrictions, exclusions, and examinations.
Immigrants Pass or Fail Inspections (05:24)
Upon arrival on Ellis Island, immigrants look strange to each other, and many appear old and wizened, wearing shawls, and men in long beards. An immigrant recalls the "madhouse" of Ellis Island.
America: Golden Land or Shantytown? (04:46)
Immigration inspectors often changed people’s names to cope with spellings and language difficulties. Archival footage shows dirt streets, open sewers, and hovels where many immigrants were forced to live.
Immigrants Build America (04:28)
One hundred million immigrants fueled the making of America, made the country run, and built her industries.
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