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Passage to America: The Story of the Great Migrations

Passage to America: The Story of the Great Migrations

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Passage to America: The Story of the Great Migrations

158 pagine
2 ore
Jan 12, 2017


Originally published in 1950, this is a comprehensive account of the peaks and troughs of migrations to America, beginning with its original formation of the nation through to the influx of Displaced Persons.

Relating the American migrations to great movements in world history on the one hand, and to the national ideal of freedom on the other, the author discusses national and cultural migrations specifically—the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, Irish, Chinese, Italians, Russians, Russian Jews, and the refugees and survivors of World War II.

“Stimulating reading for all young Americans, at home or in the classroom.”—Kirkus Review

“Passage to America was not written as propaganda, yet its very nature makes it a weapon fitted to any hand that is raised in the fight for freedom….It is good in these days to find a book that in strong but not bitter style denounces tyranny and, without any frantic flag-waving, upholds the democratic way of Life.”—Sunday Review of Literature

“A living story of the meaning of democracy. The narrative moves easily and smoothly, and the book should arouse the interest of anyone over twelve or thirteen who looks at it.”—The Horn Book
Jan 12, 2017

Informazioni sull'autore

Katherine Binney Shippen (April 1, 1892 - February 20, 1980) was an American history teacher, museum curator, and children’s writer. She was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1892 to Francis and Ellen Shippen. She earned a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1914 and an M.A. from Columbia University in 1929. While studying for her master’s degree, Shippen taught history at the Beard School (now Morristown-Beard School) in Orange, New Jersey (1917-1926) and then at The Brearley School in Manhattan borough (1926-1935). She then served as the headmistress at Miss Fine’s School (now Princeton Day School) in Princeton, New Jersey, for the next nine years. In 1945, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum named Shippen curator of the social studies department. In the same year, she published her first book, New Found World, for which she won the Newbery Honor Award. She published 21 book titles throughout her career, including The Great Heritage (1947), The Bright Design (1949) and Men, Microscopes, and Living Things (1955) (later published under the title So Many Marvels in 1968), for which she won her second Newbery Honor Award. Several of her books have been translated into Swedish, German, Polish, Spanish, and Greek editions. Shippen died in Suffern, New York in 1980, aged 87.

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Anteprima del libro

Passage to America - Katherine B. Shippen

This edition is published by Papamoa Press –

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Text originally published in 1950 under the same title.

© Papamoa Press 2017, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Publisher’s Note

Although in most cases we have retained the Author’s original spelling and grammar to authentically reproduce the work of the Author and the original intent of such material, some additional notes and clarifications have been added for the modern reader’s benefit.

We have also made every effort to include all maps and illustrations of the original edition the limitations of formatting do not allow of including larger maps, we will upload as many of these maps as possible.









Acknowledgments 5

I. People Moving 6

II. A New Nation Is Born 9

III. Émigrés and Bonapartists 14

IV. The Dutch—Congregations Leave Home 19

V. The Norwegians Read the America Book 26

VI. The Swedes Arrive 33

VII. Farmers and Revolutionists Leave Germany 39

VIII. From the Potato Famines of Ireland 47

IX. The Chinese Coolies Hear of the New World 54

X. From Italy to Mulberry Street 60

XI. The Escape from Russia 67

XII. American Slavery and American Freedom 74

XIII. The Newest Group Comes Home 81



For Patricia Cowles


Grateful acknowledgment is given the following authors and publishers for their kind permission to use quoted material:

The Yale University Press for two passages from The Colonial Period in American History by C. M. Andrews.

The University of North Carolina Press for a passage from America and French Culture by Howard Mumford Jones.

The Netherlands Information Bureau for three passages from Dutch Emigration to North America, 1624-1860 by Bertus Harry Wabeke.

The University of Minnesota Press for a passage from Grass Roots History by Theodore C. Blegen.

The Norwegian-American Historical Association for four passages from Norwegian Migration to the United States: The American Transition by Theodore C. Blegen.

The University of Chicago Press for a passage from The Background of Swedish Immigration by Florence E. Janson.

Harper and Brothers for passages from A Nation of Nations by Louis Adamic; Anything Can Happen by George and Helen Papashvily; and An American Dilemma by Gunnar Myrdal.

The Oxford University Press for a passage from America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredricka Bremer.

G. P. Putnam’s Sons for a passage from Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz.

Longmans Green and Company, Ltd. for a passage from A Short History of the Irish People by Mary Hay-den and George A. Moonan.

The Harvard University Press for a passage from The Atlantic Migration by Marcus Hanson.

Simon and Schuster for a passage from Fireside Book of Folksongs by Margaret Bradford Boni.

Edward Corsi for a passage from In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island.

The Public Affairs Committee for three passages from their pamphlet Refugees Are Now Americans by Maurice R. Davie and Samuel König.

I. People Moving

EVER since there have been people on the earth, there have been people moving. From the very earliest time the people have not stayed long in one place. Here and there we have found traces of then ancient passing. A footprint in the smooth hard surface of an old lava flow remains, a cave where a dinner was cooked and eaten long ago, a burial mound whose makers have departed to another place, some arrowheads whose makers are unknown. These are the traces of people who have come and gone again: who have moved on.

Through the long centuries the movements have generally been slow, for the people have had to walk, often with heavy burdens, and there have been old people among them and children that grew tired and walked with stumbling steps. The movement of the people has generally been slow but persistent.

Sometimes the slow steady rhythm of the people’s movement has been broken, and they have run in confusion or panic. Then they have paused again, and lived awhile in a new place, and then moved on.

The reasons for their movements have been many. When the glacier advanced, sliding over the earth and rolling the boulders before it, filling the valleys with ice and making the air too cold for a man to breathe—then the people moved south to warmer valleys. When the pushing up of mountain ranges cut off the moisture-bearing winds, so that the land where they lived dried out and became a desert, then they climbed over the mountains to more fertile places on the other side. When savage people disputed their rights to a territory, they fought: if they won they stayed on for a time; if they were beaten they fled to a new place. When their people died of plague or disease, they tried to find some healthier place. If the herds of bison or deer sought new feeding grounds, they followed them.

From India, or Asia, or Africa, or wherever men first lived, they moved on, multiplying in numbers, till all the earth was peopled—until they inhabited Asia and Africa and Europe, until they had crossed the land bridge where the Bering Sea now is and peopled the Americas.

In the bleak tundra of the Far North they learned to tend herds of reindeer, to tan the reindeer skin for clothing, to dry the meat; in the forest lands further south they trapped animals for their fur, made boats to paddle down the streams, hunted and fished; along the coasts and on the islands of the warm seas they fished and swam and lay in the sun. Here they learned to plant fields of grain; there they domesticated animals. Always they lived for a time in one place and then moved on. Sometimes they moved of their own volition, sometimes they were driven by hunger or fear, or by people stronger than they.

The passing of time did not alter this rhythm. They built substantial houses, they built beautiful cities—in time they left them to go elsewhere, and the reasons for their going were the same. Their kings grew rich by conquest and sent their armies on long forced marches, bringing home captives to work as slaves—and then their kingdoms crumbled and disappeared.

The numbers involved in the movement of peoples did not diminish as the centuries passed. There have been three great movements of people in historic times. There was the movement of the German people down into the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, the movement of Mongolians under Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century, and the movement of people across the oceans to America in the last three centuries. But the movement of people to America was the greatest movement of them all, for more people were involved than in the other movements, and with steam-powered ships and motor-driven vehicles they moved faster and the distances they covered were much greater.

For in the modern age there was a growth of independence among people. What made it come? Was it a change in climate? Who knows? With the coming of modern times a man tended to feel that he might perhaps be as good as his master. He was no longer willing to work unquestioningly as a serf, to serve unquestioningly in an army, to give up his substance to the tax collector or the collector of tithes. He wanted to manage his own affairs. He had heard perhaps of America. America was peopled to be sure by the Indians, but were not the people of the Old World stronger than the Indians, and being Christians had they not a better right to have what they wanted? Land—they wanted land to work.

Everywhere in Europe the news of America was like a dream. It was a dream to be dreamed and forgotten and then to be dreamed again. Here and there at an inn in some seaport place a sailor told of it. There was rumor that certain merchants were forming companies to send colonies there, that the company would lend money to a man who wanted to take his family to the New World. But what was it like there?

Some had heard the Rev. Daniel Price preaching at St. Paul’s Cross in London. He said the New World was like:

Tyrus for colors, Basan for woods, Persia for oils, Arabia for spices, Spain for silks, Narcis for shipping, Netherlands for fish, Pomona for fruit, and by tillage, Babylon for corn, besides the abundance of mulberries, minerals, rubies, pearls, gems, grapes, deer, fowles, drugs for physics, herbs for food, roots for colors, ashes for soap, timber for building, pastures for feeding, rivers for fishing and whatsoever commodity England wanteth....

A man could hardly believe all that. Still if he stayed in the same old place, what chance had he, or his children? A man must be willing to risk and to venture.

Those that love their owne chimney corner and dare not go farre beyond their own townes end, shall never have the honour to see the wonderfull workes of Almighty God.

That was what one minister said.

So it was that in England and Holland, in Norway and Sweden, in Ireland and Germany, and in many other places the people were bold and dared to go farre beyond their owne townes end. Drawn on by the old motives, as people have been drawn so many centuries, they left the homes which their fathers and grandfathers had built and set out for the New World. Down to the seaports they went on foot or in carts, or later in buses or trains, and there they took ship for America.

More than thirty-eight million people crossed the oceans to America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There were many more before that; no one knows exactly how many, for accurate records were not kept before 1820. That movement of people to America was the greatest migration of all time.

II. A New Nation Is Born

AT YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA, where the British and American troops were drawn up in battle array, a drummer boy stepped out before the British lines and began his tattoo. No one could hear him because of the noise of the cannon, but everyone knew why he was there. Behind him presently a man with a white flag appeared. It was ten o’clock in the morning, October 17, 1781.

Soon after that, General Cornwallis delivered his sword to General Washington, and terms for the armistice were negotiated. The American Revolution was ended. That morning at the Battle of Yorktown a new nation was born.

Then up through the Virginia country, bright with its October oaks and beech trees, a post rider went galloping toward Richmond. Here and there he paused at a farmhouse where the people ran out to hear his news. England was defeated in this final battle. The war was over. America was a free and independent nation.

From Richmond other riders took their way down to the old city of Charleston in South Carolina, and on into the rice fields and indigo plantations of Georgia. Soon messengers were riding north with the news, to Baltimore and Philadelphia, to New York with its busy harbor, to Boston. People in the tobacco fields of Virginia, people on the Pennsylvania farms, people up along the Hudson and in the shipbuilding yards of New England—people everywhere heard of the Battle of Yorktown as the news went spreading slowly up and down the coast. Yet even as they heard the news, people hardly realized what it meant.

It was not until two years later that peace was signed at Paris. When he heard of the signing, Thomas Paine wrote, The times that try men’s souls are over.

Now the British troops withdrew from the continent; the French fleet had sailed home already. Now Washington took leave of his officers at Fraunces’ Tavern in New York, and made the journey by barge and stagecoach to Annapolis where Congress was sitting. All along his route the people turned out to greet him in cheering crowds. At Annapolis he resigned his commission and went home to Mount Vernon, where he thought that he would lead a quiet life.


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