The last portion of Emma Lazarus’sonnet,"The New Colossus," is shown as engraved on a tablet inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Illustrations of immigrants arriving and felling trees to build dwellings in America. Reenactments of early English, Scottish, and Dutch settlers building houses and working at crafts in New England. Italian sulphur mine workers in Louisiana. Immigrants, from France and Switzerland, planting vineyards in California and New York State. Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes, sowing seed and cultivating crops in the Midwest. Polish and Welsh immigrants in American coal mines. African Americans harvesting cotton in the South, including a woman with her baby riding on her long collecting bag. A Spaniard on horseback in the Southwest. Mexicans working in Texas oil fields and on ranches of New Mexico. Greek and Portuguese fishermen with huge catches of fish. A German technician working with fine instruments. Hungarian and Russian immigrants working in steel mills. Irish, Slavs, and Chinese, building railroads. Closeup of lumberjack's axes and saws cutting trees. A forge and a blacksmith shoeing a horse with horseshoes. A woman at work with a spinning wheel. Railroad ties and rails being placed. An antique railroad workman's locomotive and car. Men installing telegraph wire on rough poles. An antique steam locomotive pulling a freight train. Cowboys on horseback rounding up steers. Herds of cattle,sheep, and pigs, bound to market. Farmers tilling soil with horse-drawn cultivators, preparing tobacco leaves for drying, and loading cotton bales. Machines spinning thread in a textile mill or factory. Fabric weaving machines at work. An early steam boat underway in a river. Early model automobile driving on dirt road. Wright Flyer airplane in flight with several persons on board. Early tractors and harvester machinery working on a farm. Glimpses of American industrial plants and transportation in rapid succession (some of it showing building of Hoover Dam and building of the Chrysler Building in New York City). Oil well drilling and a "gusher" oil well spouting oil upward. Steel mills, locomotive trains, and then a scientist in a laboratory working with beakers and a solution. Dynamite charges blasting away sides of mountains and gorges, and scenes of dam construction and dams opening to allow water gushing. Large electrical control levers being thrown to run electricity, and scenes of electric transmission towers and facilities. Natural gas storage areas. Golden Gate bridge under construction and high rise skyscraper buildings being constructed, including the Chrysler Building circa 1930 while still under construction in New York City. Aerial view of New York City. Camera panning over the gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery.
British narrated film discusses people and climate of the United States. Shots of CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) President John L Lewis and Father Coughlin speaking. Harlem street scene. Crowd entering a subway station in New York City. Newspaper headlines posted in China Town New York. Storefronts of Greek and Italian merchants in downtown New York City. Signs seen include 'Grande Deposito Dolio Doliva,' and 'Anthony Coulapides, manufacturer of high grade cigarettes.' Hebrew writing and star of David seen on side of building. Buildings with Spanish language signs in New York. A parade float with Virgin Mary depiction. Wide shot of a vineyard. View of a water wheel turning at a mill. Boys skinny dipping. 1930's and 1940's era cars on deep snow covered roads of an American town. Homes in deep snow. People recline on a beach in Florida in winter while on the same day in New Hampshire people ski, some pulled by horses. People slip while walking across a street during a blizzard. A boy takes removes an apple from an icebox (early refrigerator). Dust storms in farm country of the midwest during the dust bowl. Man races across a field toward a barn as a dust storm bears down on it. A farmer leads his horses out of a corral. A farm is destroyed by dust storms during the dust bowl. A family piles their remaining things on a farm truck and abandons their farm destroyed by the dust bowl. A poor family in a shack in the River Mississippi Valley area.
On Election Day, November 7, 1944, in World War 2, Americans are seen waiting patiently to vote. They stand in a long line extending down a city sidewalk next to brick and stone buildings. Views of several persons in the line. Scene shifts in flashback to the election of Woodrow Wilson, in 1912. Four men on horseback arrive at a polling place. Another travels to vote, in his 1910 Ford Model T truck. Change of time and place shows farmer arriving by horse-drawn wagon and walking to polling place past 1930s car and truck. A fully laden truck stops at a rural gasoline station, temporarily serving as polling place. American town residential street scene in the 1930s. Citizens gathering to vote at a polling place set up at a laundry shop, in the Bronx Borough of New York City. Views of various places in the United States, serving as polling places. Americans seen waiting to vote at various places, in the 1944 national election. Among the sites shown is Bridgeport Central High School, built in 1916, (which later became Bridgeport City Hall), at 45 Lyon Terrace in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Persons in various places, registering to vote, including actor Lewis Stone, actress Esther Williams, and USO entertainer, Bob Hope. Voter closing curtain behind him as he votes. Views of voters' feet, below curtains, as they vote. Various types of boxes. Newspaper headline speaks of the large voter turnout in millions during the 1944 election. Shipyard workers at end of their shift, are seen heading to the polls to vote.
Cars, buses, taxi cabs, and other vehicles on Fifth Avenue, in New York City. Sign boards of show-rooms in the street. Several other buildings in the background. Pedestrians cross the street. Several pedestrians stand on the paved roads. United States flag on buildings. A man loads goods into a truck. Midtown Manhattan views, including New York Public library. Uniformed policemen directing traffic of various 1930's and 1940's cars and automobiles, from center of street.
The legislative and maritime history of the U.S. Merchant Marines in the period between World War 1 and World War 2. Newly launched German, Italian and Japanese ships underway at sea. Ships including the German liner Bremen and the Italian Ocean liner Rex are seen underway. People gather at a dock. American ship underway in heavy seas with waves crashing over. Point of view shot at heavy seas from deck of a ship. A man works in a ship radio room. A man watches through binoculars and uses a sextant. Sailors row a small boat with oars in heavy seas. A sailor decorated by officials of the Merchant Marines. Dock workers and ship construction workers at a shipbuilding yard in the United States working on building new ships. American liners are seen undereway including: SS Washington off shore of New York City skyline and skyscrapers, SS Manhattan also off shore of Manhattan, the SS Lurline, the SS Mariposa, and the SS President Hoover (named for Herbert Hoover) underway at sea. The U.S. flag fluttering from a flag pole. The text of the declaration of policy under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 is shown.
Immense rush of pedestrians, cars and vehicles causes traffic congestions and jams on roads of Manhattan, New York City. Groups of men talk to each other in groups on the sidewalks. Two young women in dresses walk by as group of men look on and admire them. Man in suit drops newspaper in trash can; next man walking behind him takes the newspaper back out and walks on. Rush of 1930's cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles on city streets. A man attempts to cross the street on foot but cannot find a break in the traffic. A man escorts a young child across busy street. Two women run across street toward a Chop Suey restaurant. Pedestrians pause in middle of road and prepare to finish crossing busy street. All vehicles stopped in a traffic jam on city streets. Close view of a taxi cab meter continuing to run during traffic jam. Another taxi meter view (made by Pittsburgh taximeter company). Impatient man in a taxi stands up and looks through open sun roof at jam of cars. Fare continues to escalate in taxi cab. Man exits cab in middle of jammed street and pays driver. Huge masses of pedestrians moving on sidelwalks and crossing streets, and exiting tall office skyscraper buildings. A giant crowd of men in hats beneath an elevated subway track and heading toward subway entrance. Police officer directs traffic on streets. Automated signal light with moving sign arms is seen. Various police officers directing cars and pedestrians. Many street sign messages shown close up. Man smokes cigar as traffic passes by. Another smokes a cigarette. Mass of traffic and pedestrians.