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The Business of Transatlantic Migration

between Europe and the United States, 1900-1914

by  Drew Keeling       ( Zurich: Chronos, 2012 )


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This examination of mass migration travel across the pre-1914 North Atlantic explicates reinforcing strategies of shipping lines, their migrant customers, and government authorities, showing how they helped keep the migration safe, smooth and largely self-regulated. It details the motives and mechanisms by which eleven million Europe-born migrants made nineteen million ocean crossings on eighteen thousand voyages of several hundred large steamships between 1900 and 1914. It describes how the long-lived long-distance travel business which moved them across the Atlantic operated as the crucial common denominator of the greatest and most ethnically diverse mass transoceanic relocation ever.


In the history of globalization, the early twentieth century North Atlantic was an exceptional example of mostly unfettered and cooperatively managed long-distance mass migration. The migration business had potential downsides for those involved, but successful risk management strategies helped make the process more reliable and longer-lasting.



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