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German Immigration

A history of Germans immigrating to America.

During the beginning of the 1700’s Germans began fleeing their homeland to find an easier life in different countries. In 1709 about 3000 Germans Crossed the Atlantic Ocean into New York. Unlike most immigrants, German immigrants mostly didn’t immigrate for political reasons. Different armies repeatedly attacked Germany. Inhabitants of the southwestern part were constantly robbed and tortured. Entire villages were often burnt down and their inhabitants killed. Because of this many Germans fled to other countries including America. Also there were religious groups being persecuted for their believes so they immigrated to America so they could practice their religion. After the year 1800, Germans still immigrated into the US, but for different reasons, modernization and population growth forced many Germans from their respective family businesses. Also, modernization made immigrating more convenient and faster with inventions such as the steam boat and steam train.

The people of Germany came over in a couple waves. The first wave of Germans came in The Early 1700’s, The second wave came around the 1820’s when many Germans, including the Jews leaving in 1828 because of Discriminatory laws passed in the German states of Bavaria and Württemberg.

German Immigration since 1820

The Immigration policies during the times Germans came to America were varied. In 1795 the minimum residency requirement in the United States before naturalization was fixed at five years, but in 1798 the minimum residency requirement for citizenship was extended to 14 years

German-Americans made many contributions to the United States. German was once a flourishing language in the United States. Today, more than 45 million Americans declare their main ancestry as German, and 1.5 million claim to speak the language. Also many German Schools were set up in America for German students. Baltimore had long enjoyed the benefits of numerous and successful German-American businesses and despite their often-mocked industry and without their hard work, Baltimore would never have become what it is today. In the 19th century, there were unmistakably German residential and business centers in many of the large cities. In New York there was “Kleindeutschland,” in Chicago it was the North Side, in Cincinnati “Over the Rhine,” and in New Orleans “Little Saxony.” Because of the strong and active participation of German-Americans in the Civil War on the side of the North, the political socialization of the entire German ethnic group accelerated, which in turn caused a rapidly increasing number of German-Americans, including even politicians who had been born in Germany, to get elected or chosen for appointment to public offices, ranging all the way from local school boards to state legislatures, even the U.S. Congress and the presidential cabinet.

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