Ethnic Groups & Discrimination

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The first Norwegians to immigrate to America arrived in 1825 on the sloop vessel “Restauration”. These 46 immigrants were mainly Quakers escaping religious persecution, and were referred to as the “Sloop People”. (Hofland, 2008) Large numbers of Norwegians began immigrating into the United States during the course of the 19th century, and into the beginning of the 20th century. At the beginning it was mainly individual families from rural areas; whereas the trend turned to younger, unmarried individuals beyond the mid-century mark. It was not until the end of the American Civil War however that large quantities of Norwegians began immigrating into the United States; 110,000 over the next 8 years. (Lehman, 2000) The United States was looked upon by Norwegians as a better place to live. The reason that many Norwegian families left Norway tends to vary. However, Norway had strict social expectations that were especially difficult for the lower class. For instance, “if a man of a high social class were to talk to a man of a lower class, the man from the lower class was expected remove his hat as a sign of respect to the other man's higher status”. (History of Minnesota) In the United States people were able to vote and be heard politically. Norway was quite different politically, and the right to vote was mainly given to the “elite.” The increase in Norway’s population made it difficult to find jobs and when they did find jobs the pay was very little. The United States offered better wages, more jobs and the prospect of a better life. As to segregation, Norwegian Americans tended to impose that upon themselves by maintaining strong ties to their communities, and sharing common cultural values and traditions. By the early 20th century, new generations began to move into more urban areas, and eventually began to assimilate. (Lehman, 2000). The extent of prejudice against Norwegian Americans was waged upon them by the “larger culture” of Americans of...
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