THE BUSINESS OF MIGRATION IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT

 

Migration is ubiquitous to life. Birds do it, bees do it, even plants do it (intergenerationally), and it has been part of human history from its African origins to its globalizing dispersion today. (“Repeat Migration”, p. 160.)

 

 

At the transatlantic heart of the globalizing economy of a century ago, the business of migration between Europe and the United States played a leading role in the greatest and most diverse transoceanic relocation of all time. Migration travel was the core business of the multi-million dollar coal-powered transatlantic steamships, which, during the era of Lusitania and Titanic, brought the immigrant ancestors of over one-third of today’s Americans to immigration entry points such as Ellis Island. U.S. policy during the peak immigration prior to World War I focused on migration processes rather than migration outcomes, and, in contrast to those of more recent years, was a policy that “worked”.

 

For the past two centuries, economic and business factors have often helped propel and shape mass long distance relocation in pursuit of more promising, though also more uncertain opportunities than those available at home.

 

For more see:

  Migration Processes

  Ellis Island

  Titanic

  Migration today
  Short general articles on contemporary migration

  Scholarly historical articles


Full length historical book (reviews here):

The Business of Transatlantic Migration between Europe and the United States, 1900-1914, by Drew Keeling (Chronos, 2012)