German Immigration to the United States and Their Contribution to This Country

Topics: German American, United States, Immigration to the United States Pages: 5 (1823 words) Published: April 26, 2008
In the United States of North America ethnic groups are easily found everywhere. As a result, the American culture is a combination of many other cultures such as Irish, Latin, African, British, etc. However, one of the most significant of these is the German culture. German influence over this country is so strong that it goes through science, to architecture, to music, to sports and entertainment. Germans left their homeland for several reasons such as, looking for an improved standard of living, and later looking for freedom from military connection and political oppression (1796-1815), etc. It is possible to say that Germans have been present in America since the United States belonged to Great Britain. According to Eltis (2002), as many other immigrant groups, German immigrants constituted a small group; however, the members of this small crew were the pioneers of reasonably prosperous colonists. Their success and the communities that they built provided models for other German fellows. An important article available online (German Immigration, 1999) explains that one of the reasons why Germans left their homeland is the increasing industrialization and the use of machinery, which affected employment, driving Germans to urban areas in search of employment. Unfortunately, the cities became overcrowded very quickly and jobs declined as well, forcing some Germans to migrate to other countries such as the United States. Another reason for migration was that life in America was reasonably promising for Germans, especially, because of the increase in taxation, which affected the German economy. Therefore, an economical factor played an important role in German migration to the U.S. In addition, Germans’ unstable political situation (1848) was another factor that drove Germans to America, “…revolutions in opposition of the monarchical governments were springing up throughout Europe [...] the leaders of these revolutions wanted new, republican forms of government to replace the existing monarchies. However, the revolutions failed and resulted in even stricter regulations being placed upon the people.” (German Immigration, 1999) In order to avoid dictatorial governments, many people fled Europe and; consequently, America was a good option for them. Germans, as many other ethnic groups, where willing to arrive in the “promised land” at any price, which can be noticed in what they had to do to come here. Eltis notes that since the voyage was long, difficult, and expensive, “indentured servitude […] allowed emigrants in effect to charge the price of the transatlantic fare until after their arrival in America.”(2002) At the time, it was pretty common that immigrant groups were bound to their ethnic lines; for example, German immigrants were bound mostly to German-American masters. In effect, German colonists financed the surge of German immigration –families and single young men, “Merchant with interests in developing the shipping of immigrants across the Atlantic into profitable business introduced the innovative adaptation of indentured servitude –a strategy which depended in large part on the willingness of German settlers to invest in the future labor of kin and former neighbors.” (Eltis, 2002) Although German-speaking immigrants complained about indentured servitude concerning particular abuses or situations, they complained about the whole system almost as much. For instance, a German Lutheran pastor “condemned the circumstances that forced parents to bind out their children to strangers and that pressed German immigrants into service with Englishmen.” (Eltis, 2002) As Luebke (1990) infers, the United States was not the only country that Germans headed to, they also used Brazil as another destination. However, Brazil was not their favorite destination due to many reasons; one of them is the many diseases that the people had at the time. Luebke noted that Germans in the United States were more likely to get used to their...
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