Video viewing sheet: The American Experience: Journey to America pbs special Before the documentary begins, a note to students: This video is a collection of primary sources: photographs, film footage, and voices of actual immigrants



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Video viewing sheet: The American Experience: Journey to America PBS Special
Before the documentary begins, a note to students: This video is a collection of primary sources: photographs, film footage, and voices of actual immigrants. Although some accents are difficult to understand, focus as to hear the emotion in the voices of each speaker. Observe their faces and try to sense what they might have been feeling. At the completion, I will ask you to describe the power and limitations of these primary sources.
In the peak year of Ellis Island (1907), how many people came ashore? ______
For centuries people had left Europe for America: What were the main push factors that forced them out?

How did many of the immigrants from Europe reach the port cities of Europe? _______________


Steamship Companies: Steerage: Third class…. As if cattle.

How many people could they process at one time? ____________


Why did the companies inspect the emigrants so carefully? _________________________
How long did the voyage last to America? _______ to a ________.
Describe the conditions on board many of the ships? ______________________________
________________________________________________________________________.
What was the first sight of the United States that most immigrants saw reaching the USA? __________
(18:37/Pause & Think : What might it have been like to be one of those immigrants on board? What was going through their minds?)
Ellis Island:
For the vast majority, the process would last less than __ day.
What did many people believe about “police” and “government”? ___________________________
________________________________________________________________________________.
Why did some immigrants receive a chalk mark? ________________________________________.
Why were some immigrants surprised by the dining room? _________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________.
How much money did each person need in order to enter the USA? __$______.
(27:56/Pause & Think: What might it have been like to be one of those immigrants arriving? What was going through their minds?)
Where did 1 out of 3 migrants stay? ______________

How would many immigrants try to “recapture some small part of their life that they had left behind?”

__________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________


What would force many of the migrants out of their local neighborhood? _______________________

__________________________________________________________________________________


By 1913, American manufacturing output equaled that of France, __________, and the United Kingdom combined… and it was still growing.
Describe the living conditions in the company towns? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________.
Describe the meat packing plants near Chicago? ____________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________.
For most immigrants, the children were encouraged to go to school. However, in the coal towns, what role did the children play? ____________________________________________________________________.
Describe the role of the public schools for children and for adults?______________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________.
What were the major reasons for staying in America? _______________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________.
Post Video Reaction: Record your responses to the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Make sure to explain yourself fully.
1. What does the following quote suggest? Explain. “Some would become part of the great melting pot, but not as rapidly as legend would have us believe. They immigrated not so much so as to create a new world, as to preserve in more promising surroundings, the things they had cherished in the old.”
2. What is meant by the statement…? “They were Americans before they got off the boat?”
3. If you had gone through this experience, how might it affect the way you think? What you value?
4. Think about the attitudes of each speaker, what do most of them seem to have in common?


  1. The narrator claims that it was through hardship that people forgot about religious and political differences. Explain what he meant.




  1. The narrator continued by saying that common interests caused people to came together, placing their own culture second. Explain what he meant.

7. What evidence does the video give to suggest that immigrants segregated themselves? Explain.


8. What evidence does the video give to suggest that immigrants assimilated? What “incentives” did they have to assimilate? Explain.
9. To what extent does the video support the theory of the Melting Pot vs. the Salad Bowl? Explain.


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