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I thought it would be interesting to explore our own immigrant roots and how close to the cutting-off point our ancestors were in getting across the pond.

This snip from a December 1892 edition of the New York Times suggests some of our ancestors may have had to scrape up at least a second class fare, and the cut in steerage passenger traffic might have affected attendance at the World's Fair and so on.

It's a pdf file which I found by googling: "northern European" steerage

Here's a pithy quote from this 1892 NYTimes link:

"One effect of this prohibition of the carrying of steerage passengers . . . may be to increase freight rates." NYTimes 12/14/1882

* yes, Virigina, it's the same url, offered up in three different imbedded links. Door one, door two, and door three contain the same information.

Kate2008's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


Interesting thread Kate.

So the US tried to only take rich people in the 19th century, hmm, interesting.

My grandparents (on my father's side) were both born in Italy after 1892, came over to the US as children with their families.

I didn't know about the steerage law, and to be honest I didn't think my Italian relatives were rich. I wonder if there was some kind of "underground" system at play to bring people over.

Fast forward to 2010, a population of 300 million and an economy in decline, and you have to start blaming someone. Its usually minority populations who get the first fingers pointed at them. Nevermind the real causes of the economic problems, as long as there is a tangible object in which to direct the anger (ie illegal Latino immigrants), than they are the first to feel the wrath.

meljomur's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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