As the United States was expanding, so were the prospects for my family. My ancestors arrived in the United States with the hope of bettering themselves and taking advantage of the opportunities that the United States was said to hold. This made my family excited about coming to a new land, one where their future generations, with me included, would be able to progress and prosper. Upon arriving to the United States, my uncle Ben made the journey to the lands in the Far West. They were rumored to hold a great opportunity, and my uncle could not miss out on this chance to gain prosperity (Unruh, 1993). My cousin Michael arrived from Europe as an immigrant to Ellis Island, and was also able to establish his life and those of his family members in New York City (Behdad, 2005). In addition to the two family members mentioned, it was my aunt Carol that joined the Reform Movement of the United States and became a part of a turning point in American political history (Buechler, 1990). With such a rich historical background, I was able to compel together a historical representation of my family's growth and involvement from the beginning with America.
My uncle Ben was the first to tackle the great frontier. After the lands west of the Mississippi River were obtained from the Native Americans, great opportunities arose for American citizens who were looking for a fresh start (Beard, 2013). The lands were rumored to be quite dangerous. Only a few men were able to gather enough strength to pack their families together to head to a completely new environment. However, it had to be done. Jobs were dwindling and economically, my ancestors could no longer afford their daily necessities (Unruh, 1993). My uncle Ben decided to purchase a wagon and one horse with their life savings and took the remainder of the money with them in order to start their new lives.
As trading posts were systematically set up around the lands in the far west, my uncle Ben got word that the west was expanding. The mail carrier system that was also implemented allowed for records to be kept of the letters that my uncle sent back to the east (Beard, 2013). This also provided family members with information about the progress of the development in the West. My uncle turned to farming as a way of maintaining his family. He was able to make enough money to have his own property, send his children to the local school house, and to maintain his own farm, animals, and home. However, soon after settling down, there was word of the California Gold Rush and it gave my uncle the idea of going on his own to explore this new prospect (Beard, 2013). This proved to be fruitful as he was one of the first men to actually obtain some gold -- enough to provide his family with great comfort and with financial security.
Just as my uncle Ben was able to successfully adapt to life in the far west, my cousin Michael arrived on Ellis Island from Europe, with the hopes of also establishing a financially stable lifestyle for himself. When he first arrived from Italy, he was in complete shock upon entering New York City. Going through the immigration process on Ellis Island proved to be extraneous. He was interviewed over and over again in order to establish his true reasoning for wanting to come to the United States in the first place. He was also then forced to change his last name as it was impossible for the Americans to pronounce (Behdad, 2005). He contracted a slight cold on the ship ride to the United States, so he was forced to stay at an isolation center until he was well enough to leave (Beard, 2013). After going through the arduous process, he was more determined than ever to make something of himself in his new country.
My cousin Michael was not prepared for the discrimination he experienced once he settled in to his residence. He found an area in New York City named Little Italy, and called it home. Being around those individuals…