German Immigration and Assimilation

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The ethnic group to which I most belong is German American. In this paper I will briefly describe and Immigration and Assimilation of the Germans to America. The first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in British Colonies in the 1680s (German America, 2010). In the 1800s millions more came to America. They settled mainly in New York and Pennsylvania. America had lured Germans with promises of available land for farming and freedom from religious persecution. Germany was encountering major land shortages. Germany was also creating an environment of military involvement and political oppression during the Napoleonic Wars. Another reason to leave Germany was an increase in taxes, making the prospect of America more promising. Today the German American population counts for about 17% of the population, the largest of any ancestral group (German America, 2010). According to German America (2010), most of the immigrants before 1850 were farmers searching for land. They had extensive farming experience from Germany. After 1850, Germans mainly came to America to live in the cities. The Midwest offered several reasons for the immigrants to settle there. One reason was the increasing industrialization processes that use machines to perform what was once done by hand. This caused German immigrants to search for work in the cities. By 1910 German Americans had founded their own prosperous districts in which only German was spoken. These areas were known as “Germania.” These districts were abruptly ended with the introduction of WWI because of the rising concern for the loyalty of German speaking Americans. German schools quickly switched to English speaking schools. German taverns that closed down because of prohibition, reopened as English speaking taverns. By the 1940s Germania had been completely eliminated and the Assimilation of German Americans had been completed. Germans have made a significant contribution to the...
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