Immigration Laws


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Oct 28, 2000
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I want to reccomend that everyone read what Parks has written before coming to conclusions about the way the third class was treated on Titanic.

--David G. Brown
 

Sam Brannigan

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Dec 20, 2000
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Very interesting stuff.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who saw any perceived discrimination against third class passengers as White Star policy rather than American law.

I was aware of how stringent the authorities were on Ellis island but I didn't click along the way that the shipping lines would have to be equally strict. It seems so obvious now.

Thank you for the info Parks.

Regards

Sam
 
Apr 27, 2000
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Parks,

You might have saved yourself a trip to the Library by looking at Butler's Unsinkeable (p.105), where the same point you make about the immigration laws is articulated.

I don't agree with David Brown, however, that this is very helpful in understanding the treatment of the third class that evening. A few brief points:

1. It is true that under normal circumstances the third class was separated from second and first class areas by gates and emergency doors. However, there were designed routes for the third class passengers, both from the forward and rear quarters respectively, to the Boat Deck. These are delineated by Edward Wilding, the naval architect for Harland & Wolff in testimony to the Parliamentary Inquiry. Logistically there was no reason why the third class passengers couldn't get to the upper decks, and indeed some 122 women and children and 54 men did.

2. There is conflicting testimony as to whether 'barriers' throughout the ship were up or down after the accident, and indeed whether there were any real physical barriers. But no one disagrees with the fact that the gates and doors could easily have been broached in any case. Minor confrontations that occurred, such as that involving Daniel Buckley, did end in just that way.

3. Lastly, I noticed your reference to Steward Hart as having rescued a large number of third class passengers. Here again, Butler makes the same reference. You might look at my research article on Hart. It could lead you to re-evaluate this.

David Gleicher
 
Mar 3, 1998
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David,

I read Dan Butler's book a couple of years ago. As he doesn't footnote his assertion, I decided to check on it myself. What I found, and articulated on my website, is that Butler's assertion isn't exactly true. He implies that regulations dictated the use of physical barriers. I find no such statement in any U.S. legislation. I believe I clarified the actual situation a little better. Now, I could be wrong...there could be a supplementary piece of legislation that I couldn't find that states such a thing. I wish you luck in finding that, so that you can prove me wrong to the world.

You bring up the issue about the evacuation routes as though it was a rebuttal of some kind. I didn't address the evacuation routes, the requirements for which are also clearly defined in the legislation, because it was outside the scope of my discussion. My intent was to show the factors that influenced the shipbuilders, not to recount emergency procedures, which are, by definition, an exception.

Since Butler regurgitated Walter Lord's account of Hart's activities, that means that no one else can use that information to provide an illustration of a particular point? You are a true fan of Butler...I'm afraid I don't share your enthusiasm.

<FONT COLOR="0000FF">You might have saved yourself a trip to the Library by looking at Butler's Unsinkeable (sp)

I don't believe that any read of Butler (or any other author, for that matter), takes the place of conducting one's own research to satisfy a curiosity. You mentioned that you wrote your own research article on Hart...why didn't you take your own advice and save yourself the effort, when Butler had already addressed the issue?

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Correction to my last...

In my last post, I made an off-statement to the effect that you must be a fan of Butler. After reading your article on Hart, I withdraw that statement. Your article argues against Walter Lord, and therefore by association Dan Butler, who recycled much of Lord's text for his Titanic book.

Parks
 
Apr 27, 2000
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Parks

My apologies to you: I didn't realize you were correcting Butler.

You might want to clarify your statement though. The heading concerns whether there was discrimination against the steerage passengers after the accident, so it is natural to think that this is what your comments on the immigration laws are addressing.

Again, the point I wish to make--which I take it you do not dispute--is that in an emergency there was nothing about the construction of the ship that should have prevented third class passengers from reaching the boat deck in time to be rescued.

By the way, concerning Butler's book (spelled Unsinkable)I think it is terrible. It is replete with errors of fact, and verges at times on plagerism in its use of unnamed sources.

DG
 
Mar 3, 1998
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David,

Concerning the point you are making, I am not taking issue with you over evacuation routes for steerage. As I was reading through the legislation, looking for factors that influenced the installation of barriers aboard, I noticed clauses that specifically required safe evacuation routes for steerage. I didn't copy those down at the time, because I was working against the clock and that subject fell outside my scope. I do, however, plan to return to the Library this Friday, for the purpose of photocopying those records I found to be of interest. I'll grab those references with the rest.

Should I re-write that section of my website? I certainly don't want to give anyone the impression that immigration laws were still being consciously enforced as the ship foundered, so I'll take a look at restructuring the section when I update it with the new information.

One small correction...I wasn't out to correct Butler, as much as I have been intrigued by the subject (Butler isn't the only one to make a vague reference about the impact of immigration laws on the ship's design) and wanted to dig a little deeper. I originally took Butler's statement at face value, and was surprised (although I shouldn't have been) to find that the statutes had something else to say. I am constantly re-learning the lesson that one should never take anyone else's account of history at just face value.

As for my own lack of footnotes...my website makes no claim to be a valid reference. Its sole purpose is to generate informal discussion, like it did in this case. If I ever get around to putting any of my assertions into print, I will properly reference all the facts and ideas I have collected from elsewhere.

Parks
 
A

Alan Williams

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Is anyone familiar with US non-immigrant laws in 1912? For example, what travel documents were required for non-immigrant Titanic passengers to enter the US upon arrival in New York? Were a valid passport and visa required? And what system was in place to review documents upon arrival?
 
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