Category Archives: January
In the third bloody year of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the Confederate States, those states that separated from the Union. The Proclamation, interestingly only addressed slavery in the southern states that had seceded from the Union, and did not address the issue of slavery in the states that were loyal to the Union. However, the Proclamation forever tied the issue of Freedom for slaves with the cause of the Civil War, as each victory for Union forces added more free territories to the nation. The Proclamation also allowed black men to enlist in the Army, and by the end of the Civil War, more than 200,000 black men had fought in the Union Army for their freedom.
The Emancipation Proclamation was a very important move for Abraham Lincoln, and for Americans everywhere. Why do you think it took so long to issue the Proclamation? Why do you think we had a Civil War?
During the turn of the twentieth century, no station was more iconic and integral to the wave of European immigrants that flooded America’s shores than Ellis Island. The immigration center opened on January 1, 1892 to welcome 15-year-old Irish immigrant Annie Moore, travelling with her brothers to meet her parents in New York, as its first customer. That day, 700 more travellers would pass through the processing center in New York Harbor, participating in rigorous political, mental, and physical inspections. Over 12 million individuals passed through its gates – 1 million in its busiest year (1907)! Historians and genealogists surmise that today, a whopping 40% of Americans can trace their roots back to that building. Immigration processing thrived at Ellis Island well into the next few decades, until World War I convinced the government to start using Ellis Island for other purposes, like detention and deportation, military training, and hospitalization. Ellis Island, however, will always be remembered as a critical portal for American immigration. Ellis Island didn’t open for visitors again until 1990, after the most expensive historical restoration project ($160 million) was performed on its grounds and a museum was established.
Do you remember where your ancestors came from? Do you remember when they came to America?