German Immigration Into the United States

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German Immigration into the United States
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Over a period of three centuries, beginning in the early 1600’s, more than seven million Germans immigrated to America. Some immigrated due to the unstable political situation in their country or forced state religion, while others immigrated due to famine or disputes over inheritance laws which restricted who land could be passed down to in a persons will (German Migration, n.d.). By the middle of the 18th century German immigrants accounted for one-third of the total population. By the end of the 19th century German culture was generally accepted in American life. German immigrants were less isolated than previous generations and spoke English as their first, rather than their second language. The German language was taught in public schools and was studied by both German and non-German students. Based on the kindergartens of Germany, German immigrants launched the first kindergarten in 1855 as well as introducing both physical and vocational education into the public schools. German immigrants were also responsible for the addition of gymnasiums in school buildings and were leaders in the call for universal education (Immigrants, n.d.). Due to their introduction of large-scale recreational facilities, picnic grounds, bandstands, sports clubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, and playgrounds, German Americans were occasionally portrayed as figures of fun in the popular press and seldom faced prejudice. German immigrants did not face blatant prejudice until after World War I began. After the United States declared war on Germany anti-German sentiment began and German Americans came under attack. President Woodrow Wilson disapprovingly spoke of “hyphenated Americans” and claimed their loyalties were divided. Ambassador James W. Gerard, a United States Government Official, stated that “Every citizen must declare himself American—or traitor (Immigration, n.d.).”...
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