German Immigration to the United States

German Immigration to the United States

  • 1500-1700
  • 1700-1800
  • 1800-1900
  • 1900-1940
  • Total: 1820-1920
  • Totals: 1820-1978
  • Immigration and Occupation
  • Immigrant Settlement: 1860
  • Immigration and Crime
  • Immigration and Illiteracy
  • Countries: Peak Years
  • Decades: 1820-1970
  • Embrakation
  • Journey to America
  • Fires and Shipwrecks
  • Disease
  • 1866
  • 1882
  • 1891
  • 1907
  • 1917
  • 1952
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • Lawrence
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Bulgaria
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Portugal
  • England
  • Russia
  • Finland
  • Scotland
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Greece
  • Switzerland
  • Holland
  • Wales
  • Civil War and Immigrants
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Haymarket Bombing
  • Assassination of McKinley
  • Industrial Workers of the World
  • Anarchism and Strikes
  • Molly Maguires
  • Sedition Act
  • The Red Scare (1919-20)
  • Sacco-Vanzetti Case
  • Jewish Immigration
  • McCarthyism
  • Samuel Adler
  • Louis Lingg
  • John Altgeld
  • Solomon Loeb
  • Karl Arnold
  • Henry Lomb
  • John Jacob Astor
  • Thomas Mann
  • John Jacob Bausch
  • Johann Most
  • August Belmont
  • Thomas Nast
  • Lucian Bernhard
  • Oscar Neebe
  • Albert Bierstadt
  • Peter Osterhaus
  • Wernher von Braun
  • Marion Palfi
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Francis Pastorius
  • Heinrich Brüning
  • Erich Maria Remarque
  • Otto Dix
  • Rosie Scheiderman
  • David Einhorn
  • Jacob Schiff
  • Albert Einstein
  • Carl Schurz
  • Hanns Eisler
  • Michael Schwab
  • George Engel
  • Joseph Seligman
  • Berhard Felsenthal
  • August Spies
  • James Franck
  • Heinrich Steinway
  • William Kueffner
  • Isidor Straus
  • Adolph Fisher
  • Johann Suter
  • Anton Fokker
  • Paul Tillich
  • August Follen
  • Henry Villard
  • Eric Fromm
  • Adalbert Volck
  • George Grosz
  • Robert Wagner
  • Walter Gropius
  • Paul Warburg
  • Oscar Hammerstein
  • Max Weber
  • Karen Horney
  • Frederick Weyerhaeuser
  • Otto Kahn
  • August Willich
  • August Kautz
  • Jurgen Wilson
  • Gottfried Kinkel
  • Marie Zakrzewska
  • Joseph Leyendecker
  • John Peter Zenger

To the United States

In the spring of 1874, representatives from the Wiesenseite colonies met in Herzog to discuss the possibility of emigration and five delegates were elected to investigate appropriate sites:

Nikolaus Schamne from Graf
Peter Leiker from Ober-Monjou
Peter Stöcklein from Zug
Jakob Ritter from Luzern
Anton Wasinger from Schönchen

Peter Stöcklein, Jacob Ritter, Nicholas Schamme, Peter Leiker, and Anton Wasinger (1874). Posted with permission. - Kansas State Historical Society. Copy and Reuse Restrictions apply.

At the same time, representatives from the Bergseite met in Balzer and nine delegates were elected:

Anton Käberlein from Pfeifer
Christoph Meisinger from Messer
Georg Stieben from Dietel
Johannes Krieger from Norka
Johannes Nolde from Norka
Georg Kähm from Balzer
Heinrich Schwabauer from Balzer
Franz Scheibel from Kolb
Johann Benzel from Kolb

These fourteen men boarded the S.S. Schiller in Hamburg and arrived in New York City on 15 July 1874.

By Richard Sallet's count, there were 118,493 Volga Germans of the first and second generation living in the United States according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.


AHSGR Journal 1:3 (Winter, 1978).

Koch, Fred C. The Volga Germans: In Russia and the Americas, from 1763 to the Present (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977): 3.

Igor Plehve, Volga Germans issued passports to travel to America in 1886, 1890-1892, 1900, 1906-1909, 1912 (in Russian)

Igor Plehve, Volga Germans issued passports to travel to America in 1899 (in Russian)

White People of &aposGood Character&apos Granted Citizenship

January 1776: Thomas Paine publishes a pamphlet, 𠇌ommon Sense,” that argues for American independence. Most colonists consider themselves Britons, but Paine makes the case for a new American. 𠇎urope, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe,” he writes.

March 1790: Congress passes the first law about who should be granted U.S. citizenship. The Naturalization Act of 1790 allows any free white person of “good character,” who has been living in the United States for two years or longer to apply for citizenship. Without citizenship, nonwhite residents are denied basic constitutional protections, including the right to vote, own property, or testify in court.

August 1790: The first U.S. census takes place. The English are the largest ethnic group among the 3.9 million people counted, though nearly one in five Americans are of African heritage.

German Immigration to the United States - History

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the origin of Chicago&aposs German population reflected the overall pattern of German emigration. Originating in the southwestern part of the territory in the 1830s, mass emigration had moved toward the middle areas by the 1850s and &apos60s and tapped the agrarian northeast (Prussia, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, etc.) with its large estates in the 1880s and &apos90s. Approximately 35 percent of Chicago&aposs Germans came from the northeast, 25 percent from the southwest, 17 percent from the northwest, 11 percent from the west, and 12 percent from the southeast. A rather crude divide between north (Protestant) and south (Catholic) suggests a 55 percent Roman Catholic German community, although the Protestants were more outspoken on political and community issues. By 1900, German Jews probably numbered approximately 20,000.

Networks of German organizations built upon and reinforced an ethnic identity based on work, family life, and the ethnic neighborhood. This community took form in churches, organizations and clubs, newspapers, theaters, and political and cultural activities. It presented itself to the city at large in beer gardens, at fairs, bazaars, and picnics, and in parades through neighborhood streets. The people who constituted this community, however, were anything but a homogenous group. They not only varied by religion and origin but also by generation, class, gender, and political leanings. Sometimes they were able to unite across class, religious, and political lines to defend “Germanism”—the concept that they considered to be at the core of their ethnic identity.

Class at German Turnverein, 1880s
By 1900, Chicago&aposs Germans fell into four generational categories. The elders were the children of the midcentury immigrants who had been the community&aposs pioneers. This second generation inhabited a functioning German American community with churches, clubs (Vereine), theaters, small businesses, and a vibrant German press. Similar in outlook to this group were young adults who had accompanied their parents to Chicago in the 1880s. Technically “first generation” immigrants, these men and women had grown up and attended school in Chicago and were unlikely to recall specific firsthand experience in Germany. With their American education and access to local occupational niches secured by their fathers, the men were likely to work in skilled crafts and as small businessmen.

More familiar with German culture was a third group, those who had arrived in the great wave of German immigration in the 1880s. These young adults, less Americanized than the first two groups, reinvigorated the community&aposs ties to German culture and formed the core of the turn-of-the-century ethnic community. Many established small businesses, often with an ethnic clientele. Raising their children in the ethnic community, these parents had spent their own youth in Germany and therefore might have been able to convey a sense of German “Heimat” (homeland culture) to these young Chicagoans.

The most recent arrivals from the 1890s constituted the fourth group, the least adapted to American culture and distinguishable from their predecessors by differences in both Germany and the United States at the time of their migration. They had left behind a much more industrialized Germany than earlier emigrants had and arrived in Chicago at a time when skilled work was harder to find in the city&aposs increasingly mechanizing industries.

If generational distinctions help us to understand the diversity of experiences among German immigrants, a focus on class provides insight into the diversity of ethnic identity. By 1900 this community had developed a small elite and a small middle class. Two-thirds, however, were living in working-class households, which meant that the transformation of work processes around the turn of the century affected a large proportion of the community. As late as 1880 Germans had such a large presence among shoemakers, bakers, butchers, cigar makers, furniture and wagon makers, coopers, and upholsterers that these more traditional crafts were considered “typically German.” They also found employment as unskilled laborers in the textile and tobacco industries. By 1900, these sectors of the economy had become less important to German workers. In some cases new immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe had moved into their jobs in others, the factories had moved away from Chicago. But for many the major change was the shift from skilled to semiskilled work, as the skilled baker preparing bread and making cakes in the 1880s had given way to the machine tender in a bread or cracker factory 20 years later.

This class structure was mirrored in the community&aposs institutional life. In 1849 the first German lodge was founded, followed four years later by the German Aid Society, later to be among the most prestigious organizations in the community. In 1865 the small German elite began to meet in the Germania Club, and the “Schwaben Verein,” founded in 1878, still celebrated its “Cannstatter Volksfest” (country fair) in the 1970s. Choirs and gymnastic groups (Gesangs und Turnvereine ), regional associations (Landsmannschaften), theater clubs, and charity organizations offered rich and varied programs for middle-class entertainment and leisure.

A parallel network of working-class associations had emerged by the 1870s. When German workers began to arrive in the 1850s, they brought with them radical ideas which had originated in the years preceding the thwarted revolution of 1848. They also brought practical organizational experience to translate these ideas into action, which took the form of Chicago&aposs first unions as well as enlistment in the Union army to fight slavery. Joseph Weydemeyer, a good friend of Karl Marx&aposs, introduced Communist ideas in the early 1860s during his brief stay in Chicago, and in the late 1870s German Social Democrats, expelled by Bismarck&aposs anti-Socialist laws, supported the nascent Socialist Labor Party and International Workingmen&aposs Association. German workers founded and participated in workers&apos associations and local craft unions, national trade unions such as the International Labor Union, the Knights of Labor, and unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Over-represented in Chicago industry, they were organized to an unusually high degree and thus helped to establish the organizational structures to be used later by an emerging national and multinational labor movement.

This political bent often distinguished working-class entertainment from similar festivals enjoyed by Germans regardless of class. Although both working-class and bourgeois associations followed the seasonal and Christian calendar with carnivals in February and Christmas bazaars in November, the workers spiced their festivities with politics: a political speech, a preceding demonstration, or money collected in support of striking workers. The community&aposs entertainment schedule as a whole suggests the range and diversity of activities: one newspaper&aposs announcements alone for 1898 totaled 350 events, including concerts, parties, masquerade balls, elections of officers, political campaign meetings, bazaars, gymnastic shows, picnics, commemorations, and excursions. The season for formal dances lasted from November until February, with more than 50 different festivities just in January. On any given Saturday in February a German American in Chicago could choose from nine different masquerade balls.

Women participated in these community events, while at the same time creating their own institutions. Beyond organizing women&aposs choirs and gymnastics groups, they created a lively female public sphere of charity organizations and women&aposs clubs in newspapers directed toward female readers they debated “women&aposs issues” such as proper housekeeping and children&aposs upbringing. They also managed to support a large home for the elderly (Altenheim) in Forest Park, which was still functioning at the opening of the twentyfirst century, and organized fancy charity balls where the German American elite could present itself to Chicago society. Their bazaars, fairs, and other fundraising activities broadened the base for community participation in addition to providing material support to ethnic institutional life. Although German women&aposs activities paralleled those of other Chicago women&aposs groups, these women had a strong sense of their own value system. They considered themselves to be the better housewives, and having a more professional grip on household management stood at the center of their ethnic identity.

The physical spaces for this multifaceted institutional life were found in the neighborhoods. The oldest, originally settled by people from Bavaria and Württemberg, was on the North Side. A newer, working-class neighborhood, settled by immigrants from the East Elbian provinces, was situated on the Northwest Side, between Chicago and Fullerton Avenues on both sides of the river, with North Avenue often referred to as the “German Broadway.” Other, less prominent settlements were scattered throughout the Southwest Side. Gymnastics and choir halls, beer gardens, and excursion sites were important parts of German American everyday culture. Whole families met in brightly lit and comfortable pubs, and on Sundays women and children joined the men on excursions to the beer gardens.

Much of this activity attracted criticism from Anglo-American elites, and the German American response to this criticism provided occasions for political organization along ethnic lines. Language was a particularly salient issue. German-language teaching in the Chicago Public Schools dated back to the late 1860s, a result of the election of the well-known forty-eighter Lorenz Brentano as chairman of the school board in 1867. However, German-language programs always had a precarious existence and were the first to be cut when money was tight. German language in the public schools depended heavily on the ability of the German American community to mobilize votes for school board elections. Each of Chicago&aposs German-language newspapers—the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, the Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeitung, the Chicago Freie Presse, and the Abendpost —catered to a particular clientele, but each considered the maintenance of the German language to be of utmost importance to all German Americans.

Temperance and Sunday closing laws touched a similarly raw nerve, attacking fundamental issues of German sociability and way of life. Initially framed as a conflict between Anglo-American whiskey drinking and German beer culture, the liquor issue became a proxy for deeper ethnic divisions. Germans who allegedly wandered through the streets on Sundays, shouting, singing, and intimidating churchgoers and other pious citizens, were a thorn in the flesh of temperance advocates and church officials. German working men and women, who could meet with friends and fellow workers only on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays for leisure and pleasure, regarded the Sunday closing laws as an attack on their culturally specific habits and an infringement on their personal liberties and constitutional rights. For these working-class German Americans, Sunday closing merged class and ethnic interests more than any other issue.

Given their numbers and heterogeneity, Chicago&aposs Germans never assembled an ethnic constituency behind one ethnic cultural broker promoting group interests. Rather, German men participated in nineteenth-century Chicago politics on all levels, in all parties, representing a diverse electorate. However, politicians also made recurring attempts to attract German American voters as an ethnic bloc. During the 1840s to &apos60s Germans were well represented as aldermen and public office seekers. Michael Diversey, brewery owner, generous supporter of Catholic churches (St. Michael&aposs), community builder (New Buffalo on the Near North Side ), and alderman of the Sixth Ward in the early 1840s, was well known beyond his immediate community. Though not all Germans were against slavery, Chicago Germans in the 1850s and &apos60s—mainly out of opposition to the Kansas Nebraska Act—supported the young Republican Party in great numbers and thus helped Abraham Lincoln&aposs rise to power. In 1892 they shifted party allegiance to support German-born Democratic gubernatorial candidate John P. Altgeld. From the 1890s to the early 1930s, however, the more conservative German Americans tended to support Republican candidates, most prominently “Big Bill” Thompson, who sought their votes by standing behind them during the difficult World War I years. In the early 1930s, when Chicago became Democratic, German Americans more or less followed suit with German Catholics in the lead supporting Cermak in the 1932–33 elections.

Anti-German sentiment during World War I took a heavy toll on the influence of Chicago&aposs German Americans, and many chose to hide their ethnicity out of fear of persecution. During the first war years, German American community leaders tried to raise support for neutrality, but German military activities such as the sinking of the Lusitania and unrestricted submarine warfare discredited their position. Though Chicago escaped much of the severe anti-German hysteria, many German American associations thought it opportune to hide their heritage: The Germania Club became the Lincoln Club (then returned to the original name in 1921), and in many German church services (except for the Missouri Synod) and parochial schools, where the German language was already in decline, they chose to preach and teach in English. After the war, many Chicagoans regretted the loss of the beer gardens.

In the 1920s, German community leaders tried to resurrect ethnic culture, recognition of German contribution to American society, and the respectability of the old fatherland. Generally these efforts were in vain, since it was difficult to build on a German American population which had lost interest in ethnic issues. On some occasions such as German Day or May Festival, people continued to publicly demonstrate ethnic pride though with reserved enthusiasm. In the early 1930s, for the most part they chose to ignore the Nazis rise to power in Germany, but they also failed to speak out against it. To some German American leaders Hitler represented Germany&aposs reclamation of power and thus a chance to restore respectability. Others, among them the politically astute Otto Schmidt, issued warnings about political developments in Germany, but these were soft voices, almost inaudible. When Germany became, once again, America&aposs enemy, German Americans kept their ethnicity to themselves, and they were not very eager to revive it in the 1950s and &apos60s. Those who became politically, culturally, and economically active among Chicago&aposs Germans in the late twentieth century were, for the most part, post–World War II immigrants who had not lived through the legacy of anti-German sentiments during two world wars.

For over 150 years generation after generation of German immigrants came to Chicago, constructing a multifaceted, vibrant ethnic community, while at the same time building a Midwestern city. If it seems sometimes difficult to outline their specific contribution to the city&aposs development, it is because of their ubiquitous presence.

German Immigration to Texas Ethnic and Culture Group, American History

The largest ethnic group in Texas derived directly from Europe was persons of German birth or descent. As early as 1850, they constituted more than 5 percent of the total Texas population, a proportion that remained constant through the remainder of the nineteenth century. Intermarriage has blurred ethnic lines, but the 1990 United States census revealed that 2,951,726 Texans, or 17½ percent of the total population, claimed pure or partial German ancestry. Germans rank behind Hispanics and form the third-largest national-origin group in the state. However, most persons of German descent do not regard themselves as ethnic Germans. From their first immigration to Texas in the 1830s, the Germans tended to cluster in ethnic enclaves. A majority settled in a broad, fragmented belt across the south-central part of the state. This belt stretched from Galveston and Houston on the east to Kerrville, Mason, and Hondo in the west from the fertile, humid Coastal Plain to the semiarid Hill Country. This German Belt included most of the Teutonic settlements in the state, both rural and urban.

The German Belt is the product of the concept of "dominant personality," the process called "chain migration," and the device of "America letters." Voluntary migrations generally were begun by a dominant personality, or "true pioneer." This individual was forceful and ambitious, a natural leader, who perceived emigration as a solution to economic, social, political, or religious problems in his homeland, and used his personality to convince others to follow him in migration. In the case of the Texas Germans, Friedrich Diercks, known in Texas under his alias, Johann Friedrich Ernst, was the dominant personality. Ernst had been a professional gardener in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in northwestern Germany. He immigrated to America intending to settle in Missouri, but in New Orleans, he learned that large land grants were available to Europeans in Stephen F. Austin's colony in Texas. Ernst applied for and in 1831 received a grant of more than 4,000 acres that lay in the northwest corner of what is now Austin County. It formed the nucleus of the German Belt.

Ernst wrote lengthy letters to friends in Germany, and through these "America letters" he reached and influenced other prospective migrants. He described a land with a winterless climate like that of Sicily. It had abundant game and fish, was fertile and rich, and awaited German labor to make it produce abundantly. Taxes were virtually nil, and large tracts of land were available for only a surveyor's fee hunting and fishing required no licenses. Texas was an earthly paradise. Like other writers of America letters, Ernst stressed the positive aspects of the new land and downplayed or omitted the negative. One of his letters appeared in a newspaper in northwestern Germany and in an emigrant guidebook, thus greatly magnifying his role in promoting the migration.

Because of these letters, a small, steady stream of migrants left home for Texas. Within ten years they had established several rural communities near Ernst's grant in south-central Texas. In this migration process, people moved in clusters from confined districts to settle similarly confined colonial areas overseas. This led to people from small rural parishes in Germany settling all or part of a county in Texas. The influence of dominant personalities moved easily among people who knew each other, and by personal contact, the decision to emigrate spread quickly. The migration set in motion by Friedrich Ernst drew principally from districts in Oldenburg, Westphalia and Holstein.

In the late 1830s German immigration to Texas was widely publicized in Germany, attracting a group of petty noblemen who envisioned a project to colonize German peasants in Texas. The nobles hoped to gain wealth, power, and prestige, as well as alleviating overpopulation in rural Germany. Their organization, variously called the Adelsverein, the Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, or the German Emigration Company began work in the early 1840s. They chose Texas as the site for their colony, in part because of Ernst’s publicity and also that Texas was an independent republic where the princes might exercise some political control. Though the Mainzer Adelsverein was a financial disaster, it transported thousands of Germans, mostly peasants, to Texas. Between 1844 and 1847 more than 7,000 Germans reached the new land. Some of the immigrants perished in epidemics many stayed in cities such as Galveston, Houston, and San Antonio and others settled in the rugged Texas Hill Country to form the western end of the German Belt. The Adelsverein founded the towns of New Braunfels and Fredericksburg.

Most of the new immigrant clusters came from west-central Germany, particularly Nassau, southern Hanover, Brunswick, Hesse, and western Thuringia. The nobles focused their advertising and recruitment on these provinces, their home districts. John O. Meusebach, for example, entered Texas as one of the leaders of the Adelsverein, and some thirty-four villages in his home county, the Dillkreis in Nassau, contributed to the migration. The chain-migration process in the Adelsverein movement drew on both the local and provincial levels. Some farm villages lost a large part of their population to the Texas project.

At about the same time, another colonization project was launched. The Frenchman Henri Castro directed a project that moved more than 2,000 German-speaking settlers, mainly from clusters in the Upper Rhine Plain of Alsace, to Medina County, west of San Antonio. Castroville, founded in 1844, became the nucleus of the Alsatian colony, though many of the immigrants settled in San Antonio because it offered better economic opportunities. The German settlers who followed Ernst and Castro generally were solid middle-class peasants. They were land-owning families, artisans, and, in a few cases, university-educated professional people and intellectuals who believed their futures were cramped by the social and economic system at home. They were not poverty-stricken and oppressed and had the substantial cash investment required in overseas migration.

By 1850, when the organized projects ended, the German Belt in Texas was well established. America letters and chain migration continued through the 1850s but stopped with the Union blockade of Confederate ports. During the 1850s the number of German-born persons in Texas more than doubled, surpassing 20,000. As the German Belt expanded, settlements entered the sandy post oak woods in Lee County, where some 600 Wends (or Sorbs) from Oberlausitz planted a colony centered on the community of Serbin. Many spoke German and Sorbian and considered Pastor John Kilian their leader. After the Civil War ended, ships loaded with German immigrants once again arrived at the Galveston wharves. From 1865 to the early 1890s, more Germans arrived in Texas than during the thirty years before the war. The number probably reached 40,000. Many of them settled in the rural areas and towns of the German Belt. Interestingly, the postbellum immigrants generally avoided the Hill Country.

Germans also settled elsewhere in Texas. By the 1880s German ethnic islands dotted north central, northern, and western Texas. However, ethnic islands failed to develop in East Texas, the Trans-Pecos, and the Rio Grande valley. As early as 1881, Germans founded the agricultural colony of Marienfeld (later Stanton) on the High Plains of West Texas. These settlers planted splendid vineyards, only to see many destroyed by drought. Most of the postbellum colonies did thrive, and those families generally came from areas of Germany that had supplied the prewar colonists.

However, during these years, larger numbers of colonists from the eastern provinces of Germany began arriving in Texas. Also, by the 1890s German immigrants who arrived earlier in Illinois,

The evolution of German-American culture in the United States

© dpa / picture-alliance

The United States is a country built on immigration — and the largest group of immigrants actually came from Germany!

Based on the most recent US Census, more than 44 million Americans claim German ancestry. That’s a higher number than those who claimed English, Italian or Mexican ancestry.

At the turn of the last century, Germans were even the most predominant ethnic group in the US, with eight million people out of a population of 76 million. The world’s third-largest German-speaking population was in New York City, following only Berlin and Vienna. So what changed?

The perception of Germans in the US became less favorable during World War I. But this change in perception became even more pronounced when the US became involved in World War II. During and after the war, Germans were scrutinized and looked at with suspicion. Their loyalty was questioned and they were accused of being spies. As a result of these changing perceptions, German-Americans let go of their pride, customs and culture and instead began to assimilate. After the war, being German was no longer considered a good thing. German breweries changed their names, people changed their names, German language courses were discontinued in schools and people stopped speaking German publicly.

Germans get ready to travel to the United States in 1949. © dpa / picture-alliance

But as decades passed and people celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, things began to change once again. In 2010, a German-American congressional caucus was created. German-style Oktoberfest celebrations take place all throughout the country – and Americans join in. Today, people are celebrating German heritage and culture in all 50 states.

It would be difficult to list all of the Oktoberfest celebrations in the US, simply because of the sheer volume of these events. But some of the largest of these festivals take place in cities where German ancestry is particularly noteworthy, such as Milwaukee (WI), Cincinnati (OH) and Fredericksburg (TX).

But there are countless others. One such festival is the Germanfest Picnic in Dayton, Ohio. This event celebrates the “German heritage that has given Dayton some of its cultural identity all while enjoying an import beer and a Schnitzel,” according to a Dayton Local article.

Another noteworthy event is the Steuben Parade (scheduled for Sept. 15), which takes place in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. The New York parade is one of the biggest celebrations of German and German-American culture in the US – and it’s followed by a German-style Oktoberfest in Central Park!

So if you’re living in the US but miss the German culture, there’s plenty of events that may prompt you to throw on your Dirndl or Lederhosen. Cheers to that!

© dpa / picture-alliance


In the spring of 1882, a group of Volga German families from Hitchcock County, Nebraska, boarded a Union Pacific train in North Platte enroute to Ogden, Utah, which was at that time the end of the rail line. In Ogden, they formed a convoy of 40 wagons with Frederick Rosenoff as the wagon master. From Ogden, they headed north along the California Trail until they reached the Oregon Trail near the headwaters of the Snake River. They continued on from American Falls (Idaho) through Boise (Idaho) and Baker City (Oregon) to Pendelton (Oregon). In Pendelton, a small group turned west and headed to Portland while the main group continued to Walla Walla where they arrived in late summer.

At about the same time, a group of Volga German families that had originally settled in Rush and Barton Counties in Kansas decided to move to Eastern Washington. They had arrived in Portland in 1881 via steamship from San Francisco. In September 1882 left Portland by covered wagon for Walla Walla. From there they headed north into the Palouse Country arriving in Whitman County and settling four miles east of Endicott on 12 October 1882.

Sallet reports that by 1920, there were 5,000 Evangelical and 375 Catholic Volga German immigrants of the first and second generation settled in Washington.


In 1607 the first successful English colony settled in Jamestown, Virginia. Once tobacco was found to be a profitable cash crop, many plantations were established along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and Maryland.

Thus began the first and longest era of immigration, lasting until the American Revolution in 1775 during this time settlements grew from initial English toe-holds from the New World to British America. It brought Northern European immigrants, primarily of British, German, and Dutch extraction. The British ruled from the mid-17th century and they were by far the largest group of arrivals, remaining within the British Empire. Over 90% of these early immigrants became farmers. [1]

Large numbers of young men and women came alone as indentured servants. Their passage was paid by employers in the colonies who needed help on the farms or in shops. Indentured servants were provided food, housing, clothing and training but they did not receive wages. At the end of the indenture (usually around age 21, or after a service of seven years) they were free to marry and start their own farms. [2]

New England Edit

Seeking religious freedom in the New World, one hundred English Pilgrims established a small settlement near Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Tens of thousands of English Puritans arrived, mostly from the East Anglian parts of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex), as well as Kent and East Sussex., [3] and settled in Boston, Massachusetts and adjacent areas from around 1629 to 1640 to create a land dedicated to their religion. The earliest New English colonies, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, were established along the northeast coast. Large scale immigration to this region ended before 1700, though a small but steady trickle of later arrivals continued. [4]

The New English colonists were the most urban and educated of all their contemporaries, and they had many skilled farmers, tradesmen and craftsmen among them. They started the first university, Harvard, in 1635 in order to train their ministers. They mostly settled in small villages for mutual support (nearly all of them had their own militias) and common religious activities. Shipbuilding, commerce, agriculture, and fishing were their main sources of income. New England's healthy climate (the cold winters killed the mosquitoes and other disease-bearing insects), small widespread villages (minimizing the spread of disease), and an abundant food supply resulted in the lowest death rate and the highest birth rate of any of the colonies. The Eastern and Northern frontier around the initial New England settlements was mainly settled by the descendants of the original New Englanders. Immigration to the New England colonies after 1640 and the start of the English Civil War decreased to less than 1% (about equal to the death rate) in nearly all of the years prior to 1845. The rapid growth of the New England colonies (approximately 900,000 by 1790) was almost entirely due to the high birth rate (>3%) and the low death rate (<1%) per year. [5]

Dutch Edit

The Dutch colonies, organized by the United East Indian Company, were first established along the Hudson River in present-day New York state starting about 1626. Wealthy Dutch patroons set up large landed estates along the Hudson River and brought in farmers who became renters. Others established rich trading posts to trade with Native Americans and started cities such as New Amsterdam (now New York City) and Albany, New York. [6] After the British seized the colony and renamed it New York, Germans (from the Palatinate), and Yankees (from New England) began arriving. [7]

Middle colonies Edit

Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware formed the middle colonies. Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers from Britain, followed by Ulster Scots (Northern Ireland) on the frontier and numerous German Protestant sects, including the German Palatines. The earlier colony of New Sweden had small settlements on the lower Delaware River, with immigrants of Swedes and Finns. These colonies were absorbed by 1676. [8]

The middle colonies were scattered west of New York City (established 1626 taken over by the English in 1664) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (established 1682). New Amsterdam/New York had the most diverse residents from different nations and prospered as a major trading and commercial center after about 1700. From around 1680 to 1725, Pennsylvania was controlled by the Quakers. The commercial center of Philadelphia was run mostly by prosperous Quakers, supplemented by many small farming and trading communities, with a strong German contingent located in villages in the Delaware River valley. [9]

Starting around 1680, when Pennsylvania was founded, many more settlers arrived to the middle colonies. Many Protestant sects were attracted by freedom of religion and good, cheap land. They were about 60% British and 33% German. By 1780, New York's population were around 27% descendants of Dutch settlers, about 6% were African, and the remainder were mostly English with a wide mixture of other Europeans. New Jersey, and Delaware had a British majority, with 7–11% German-descendants, about 6% African population, and a small contingent of the Swedish descendants of New Sweden.

Frontier Edit

The fourth major center of settlement was the western frontier, located in the inland parts of Pennsylvania and south colonies. It was mainly settled from about 1717 to 1775 by Presbyterian farmers from North England border lands, Scotland, and Ulster, fleeing hard times and religious persecution. [10] Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the 18th century. [10] The Scots-Irish soon became the dominant culture of the Appalachians from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Areas where 20th century censuses reported mostly 'American' ancestry were the places where, historically, northern English, Scottish and Scots-Irish Protestants settled: in the interior of the South, and the Appalachian region. Scots-Irish American immigrants, were made up of people from the southernmost counties of Scotland who had initially settled in Ireland. They were heavily Presbyterian, and largely self-sufficient. The Scots-Irish arrived in large numbers during the early 18th century and they often preferred to settle in the back country and the frontier from Pennsylvania to Georgia, where they mingled with second generation and later English settlers. They enjoyed the very cheap land and independence from established governments common to frontier settlements. [11]

Southern colonies Edit

The mostly agricultural Southern English colonies initially had very high death rates for new settlers due to malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases as well as skirmishes with Native Americans. Despite this, a steady flow of new immigrants, mostly from Central England and the London area, kept up population growth. As early as 1630, initial areas of settlement had been largely cleared of Native Americans by major outbreaks of measles, smallpox, and bubonic plague beginning already decades before European settlers began arriving in large numbers. The leading killer was smallpox, which arrived in the New World around 1510–1530. [12]

Initially, the plantations established in these colonies were mostly owned by friends (mostly minor aristocrats and gentry) of the British-appointed governors. A group of Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlanders created a settlement at Cape Fear in North Carolina, which remained culturally distinct until the mid-18th century, at which point it was swallowed up by the dominant English-origin culture. [13] Many settlers from Europe arrived as indentured servants, having had their passage paid for, in return for five to seven years of work, including free room and board, clothing, and training, but without cash wages. After their periods of indenture expired, many of these former servants founded small farms on the frontier.

By the early 18th century, the involuntary migration of African slaves was a significant component of the immigrant population in the Southern colonies. Between 1700 and 1740, a large majority of the net overseas migration to these colonies were Africans. In the third quarter of the 18th century, the population of that region amounted to roughly 55% British, 38% black, and 7% German. In 1790, 42% of the population in South Carolina and Georgia was of African origin. [14] Before 1800, the growing of tobacco, rice and indigo in plantations in the Southern colonies relied heavily on the labor of slaves from Africa. [15] The Atlantic slave trade to mainland North America stopped during the Revolution and was outlawed in most states by 1800 and the entire nation in 1808 Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, although some slaves continued to be smuggled in illegally. [16]

Characteristics Edit

While the thirteen colonies differed in how they were settled and by whom, they had many similarities. Nearly all were settled and financed by privately organized British settlers or families using free enterprise without any significant Royal or Parliamentary government support. Nearly all commercial activity comprised small, privately owned businesses with good credit both in America and in England, which was essential since they were often cash poor. Most settlements were largely independent of British trade, since they grew or manufactured nearly everything they needed the average cost of imports per household was 5–15 pounds sterling per year. Most settlements consisted of complete family groups with several generations present. The population was rural, with close to 80% owning the land on which they lived and farmed. After 1700, as the Industrial Revolution progressed, more of the population started to move to cities, as had happened in Britain. Initially, the Dutch and German settlers spoke languages brought over from Europe, but English was the main language of commerce. Governments and laws mainly copied English models. The only major British institution to be abandoned was the aristocracy, which was almost totally absent. The settlers generally established their own law-courts and popularly elected governments. This self-ruling pattern became so ingrained that for the next 200 years almost all new settlements had their own government up and running shortly after arrival.

After the colonies were established, their population growth comprised almost entirely organic growth, with foreign-born immigrant populations rarely exceeding 10%. The last significant colonies to be settled primarily by immigrants were Pennsylvania (post-1680s), the Carolinas (post-1663), and Georgia (post-1732). Even here, the immigrants came mostly from England and Scotland, with the exception of Pennsylvania's large Germanic contingent. Elsewhere, internal American migration from other colonies provided nearly all of the settlers for each new colony or state. [17] Populations grew by about 80% over a 20-year period, at a "natural" annual growth rate of 3%.

Over half of all new British immigrants in the South initially arrived as indentured servants, [18] mostly poor young people who could not find work in England nor afford passage to America. In addition, about 60,000 British convicts guilty of minor offences were transported to the British colonies in the 18th century, with the "serious" criminals generally having been executed. Ironically, these convicts are often the only immigrants with nearly complete immigration records, as other immigrants typically arrived with few or no records. [19]

Spanish Edit

Although Spain set up a few forts in Florida, notably San Agustín (present-day Saint Augustine) in 1565, they sent few settlers to Florida. Spaniards moving north from Mexico founded the San Juan on the Rio Grande in 1598 and Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1607–1608. The settlers were forced to leave temporarily for 12 years (1680–1692) by the Pueblo Revolt before returning.

Spanish Texas lasted from 1690 to 1821, when Texas was governed as a colony that was separate from New Spain. In 1731, Canary Islanders (or "Isleños") arrived to establish San Antonio. [20] The majority of the few hundred Texan and New Mexican colonizers in the Spanish colonial period were Spaniards and criollos. [21] California, New Mexico and Arizona all had Spanish settlements. In 1781, Spanish settlers founded Los Angeles.

At the time the former Spanish colonies joined the United States, Californios in California numbered about 10,000 and Tejanos in Texas about 4,000. New Mexico had 47,000 Spanish settlers in 1842 Arizona was only thinly settled.

However, not all these settlers were of European descent. As in the rest of the American colonies, new settlements were based on the casta system, and although all could speak Spanish, it was a melting pot of whites, Natives and mestizos.

French Edit

In the late 17th century, French expeditions established a foothold on the Saint Lawrence River, Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. Interior trading posts, forts and cities were thinly spread. The city of Detroit was the third-largest settlement in New France. New Orleans expanded when several thousand French-speaking refugees from the region of Acadia made their way to Louisiana following British expulsion, settling largely in the Southwest Louisiana region now called Acadiana. Their descendants are now called Cajun and still dominate the coastal areas. [22] About 7,000 French-speaking immigrants settled in Louisiana during the 18th century.

The following were the countries of origin for new arrivals to the United States before 1790. [23] The regions marked with an asterisk were part of Great Britain. The ancestry of the 3.9 million population in 1790 has been estimated by various sources by sampling last names from the 1790 census and assigning them a country of origin. The Irish in the 1790 census were mostly Scots-Irish. The French were primarily Huguenots. The total U.S. Catholic population in 1790 was probably less than 5%. The Native American population inside territorial U.S. boundaries was less than 100,000. [ citation needed ]

U.S. historical populations
Country Immigrants before 1790 Population 1790 [24]
Africa [25] 360,000 757,000
England* 230,000 2,100,000
Ulster Scots-Irish* 135,000 300,000
Germany [26] 103,000 270,000
Scotland* 48,500 150,000
Ireland* 8,000 (Incl. in Scot-Irish)
Netherlands 6,000 100,000
Wales* 4,000 10,000
France 3,000 15,000
Jewish [27] 1,000 2,000
Sweden 1,000 6,000
Other [28] 50,000 200,000
British total 425,500 2,560,000
Total [29] 950,000 3,900,000

The 1790 population reflected the loss of approximately 46,000 Loyalists, or "Tories", who immigrated to Canada at the end of the American Revolution, 10,000 who went to England and 6,000 to the Caribbean.

The 1790 census recorded 3.9 million inhabitants (not counting American Indians). Of the total white population of just under 3.2 million in 1790, approximately 86% was of British ancestry (60%, or 1.9 million, English, 4.3% Welsh, 5.4% Scots, 5.8% Irish (South) and 10.5% Scots-Irish. Among those whose ancestry was from outside of British Isles, Germans were 9%, Dutch 3.4%, French 2.1% and Swedish 0.25% blacks made up 19.3% (or 762,000) of the U.S. population. [30] The number of Scots was 200,000 Irish and Scot-Irish 625,000. The overwhelming majority of Southern Irish were Protestant, as there were only 60,000 Catholics in the United States in 1790, 1.6% of the population. Many U.S. Catholics were descendants of English Catholic settlers in the 17th century the rest were Irish, German and some Acadians who remained. In this era, the population roughly doubled every 23 years, mostly due to natural increase. Relentless population expansion pushed the U.S. frontier to the Pacific by 1848. Most immigrants came long distances to settle in the United States. However, many Irish left Canada for the United States in the 1840s. French Canadians who moved south from Quebec after 1860, and the Mexicans who came north after 1911, found it easier to move back and forth. [ citation needed ]

There was relatively little immigration from 1770 to 1830 while there was significant emigration from the U.S. to Canada, including about 75,000 Loyalists as well as Germans and others looking for better farmland in what is now Ontario. Large scale immigration in the 1830s to 1850s came from Britain, Ireland, Germany. Most were attracted by the cheap farmland. Some were artisans and skilled factory workers attracted by the first stage of industrialization. The Irish Catholics were primarily unskilled workers who built a majority of the canals and railroads, settling in urban areas. Many Irish went to the emerging textile mill towns of the Northeast, while others became longshoremen in the growing Atlantic and Gulf port cities. Half the Germans headed to farms, especially in the Midwest (with some to Texas), while the other half became craftsmen in urban areas. [31]

Nativism took the form of political anti-Catholicism directed mostly at the Irish (as well as Germans). It became important briefly in the mid-1850s in the guise of the Know Nothing party. Most of the Catholics and German Lutherans became Democrats, and most of the other Protestants joined the new Republican Party. During the Civil War, ethnic communities supported the war and produced large numbers of soldiers on both sides. Riots broke out in New York City and other Irish and German strongholds in 1863 when a draft was instituted, particularly in light of the provision exempting those who could afford payment. [32]

Immigration totaled 8,385 in 1820, with immigration totals gradually increasing to 23,322 by the year 1830 for the 1820s decade immigration more than doubled to 143,000. Between 1831 and 1840, immigration more than quadrupled to a total of 599,000. These included about 207,000 Irish, starting to emigrate in large numbers following Britain's easing of travel restrictions, and about 152,000 Germans, 76,000 British, and 46,000 French, constituting the next largest immigrant groups of the decade.

Between 1841 and 1850, immigration nearly tripled again, totaling 1,713,000 immigrants, including at least 781,000 Irish, 435,000 Germans, 267,000 British, and 77,000 French. The Irish, driven by the Great Famine (1845–1849), emigrated directly from their homeland to escape poverty and death. The failed revolutions of 1848 brought many intellectuals and activists to exile in the U.S. Bad times and poor conditions in Europe drove people out, while land, relatives, freedom, opportunity, and jobs in the US lured them in.

2. The number of foreign born in 1830 and 1840 decades are extrapolations.

Starting in 1820, some federal records, including ship passenger lists, were kept for immigration purposes, and a gradual increase in immigration was recorded more complete immigration records provide data on immigration after 1830. Though conducted since 1790, the census of 1850 was the first in which place of birth was asked specifically. The foreign-born population in the U.S. likely reached its minimum around 1815, at approximately 100,000 or 1% of the population. By 1815, most of the immigrants who arrived before the American Revolution had died, and there had been almost no new immigration thereafter.

Nearly all population growth up to 1830 was by internal increase around 98% of the population was native-born. By 1850, this shifted to about 90% native-born. The first significant Catholic immigration started in the mid-1840s, shifting the population from about 95% Protestant down to about 90% by 1850.

In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, concluding the Mexican War, extended U.S. citizenship to approximately 60,000 Mexican residents of the New Mexico Territory and 10,000 living in California. An additional approximate 2,500 foreign born California residents also become U.S. citizens.

In 1849, the California Gold Rush attracted 100,000 would-be miners from the Eastern U.S., Latin America, China, Australia, and Europe. California became a state in 1850 with a population of about 90,000.

Demography Edit

Between 1850 and 1930, about 5 million Germans migrated to the United States, peaking between 1881 and 1885 when a million Germans settled primarily in the Midwest. Between 1820 and 1930, 3.5 million British and 4.5 million Irish entered America. Before 1845 most Irish immigrants were Protestants. After 1845, Irish Catholics began arriving in large numbers, largely driven by the Great Famine. [33]

After 1880 larger steam-powered oceangoing ships replaced sailing ships, which resulted in lower fares and greater immigrant mobility. In addition, the expansion of a railroad system in Europe made it easier for people to reach oceanic ports to board ships. Meanwhile, farming improvements in Southern Europe and the Russian Empire created surplus labor. Young people between the ages of 15 to 30 were predominant among newcomers. This wave of migration, constituting the third episode in the history of U.S. immigration, may be better referred to as a flood of immigrants, as nearly 25 million Europeans made the long trip. Italians, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles, and others speaking Slavic languages made up the bulk of this migration. 2.5 to 4 million Jews were among them. [ citation needed ]

Destinations Edit

Each group evinced a distinctive migration pattern in terms of the gender balance within the migratory pool, the permanence of their migration, their literacy rates, the balance between adults and children, and the like. But they shared one overarching characteristic: they flocked to urban destinations and made up the bulk of the U.S. industrial labor pool, making possible the emergence of such industries as steel, coal, automotive, textile, and garment production, enabling the United States to leap into the front ranks of the world's economic giants. [ citation needed ]

Their urban destinations, numbers, and perhaps an antipathy towards foreigners, led to the emergence of the second wave of organized xenophobia. By the 1890s, many Americans, particularly from the ranks of the well-off, white, and native-born, considered immigration to pose a serious danger to the nation's health and security. In 1893 a group formed the Immigration Restriction League, and it, along with other similarly inclined organizations, began to press Congress for severe curtailment of foreign immigration. [ citation needed ]

Irish and German Catholic immigration was opposed in the 1850s by the Nativist/Know Nothing movement, originating in New York in 1843 as the American Republican Party (not to be confused with the modern Republican Party). It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to American values and controlled by the Pope in Rome. Active mainly from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class and Protestant membership fragmented over the issue of slavery, most often joining the Republican Party by the time of the 1860 presidential election. [34] [35]

European immigrants joined the Union Army in large numbers, including 177,000 born in Germany and 144,000 born in Ireland, a full 16% of the Union Army. [36] Many Germans could see the parallels between slavery and serfdom in the old fatherland. [37]

Between 1840 and 1930, about 900,000 French Canadians left Quebec in order to immigrate to the United States and settle, mainly in New England. Considering the fact that the population of Quebec was only 892,061 in 1851, this was a massive exodus. 13.6 million Americans claimed to have French ancestry in the 1980 census. A large portion of them have ancestors who emigrated from French Canada, since immigration from France was low throughout the history of the United States. During the same period, almost 4 million other Canadians immigrated to the U.S. In the New England states 12% of the population can trace its ancestry back to Quebec and 10% can trace its ancestry back to the Maritime Provinces. [ citation needed ] The communities established by these immigrants became known as Little Canada.

Shortly after the U.S. Civil War, some states started to pass their own immigration laws, which prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in 1875 that immigration was a federal responsibility. [38] In 1875, the nation passed its first immigration law, the Page Act of 1875, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act, outlawing the importation of Asian contract laborers, any Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own countries. [39]

In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. By excluding all Chinese laborers from entering the country, the Chinese Exclusion Act severely curtailed the number of immigrants of Chinese descent allowed into the United States for 10 years. [40] The law was renewed in 1892 and 1902. During this period, Chinese migrants illegally entered the United States through the loosely guarded U.S.-Canadian border. [41]

Prior to 1890, the individual states, rather than the Federal government, regulated immigration into the United States. [42] The Immigration Act of 1891 established a Commissioner of Immigration in the Treasury Department. [43] The Canadian Agreement of 1894 extended U.S. immigration restrictions to Canadian ports.

The Dillingham Commission was set up by Congress in 1907 to investigate the effects of immigration on the country. The Commission's 40-volume analysis of immigration during the previous three decades led it to conclude that the major source of immigration had shifted from Central, Northern, and Western Europeans to Southern Europeans and Russians. It was, however, apt to make generalizations about regional groups that were subjective and failed to differentiate between distinct cultural attributes. [44] [45]

The 1910s marked the high point of Italian immigration to the United States. Over two million Italians immigrated in those years, with a total of 5.3 million between 1880 and 1920. [46] [47] About half returned to Italy, after working an average of five years in the U.S. [48]

About 1.5 million Swedes and Norwegians immigrated to the United States within this period, due to opportunity in America and poverty and religious oppression in united Sweden-Norway. This accounted for around 20% of the total population of the kingdom at that time. They settled mainly in the Midwest, especially Minnesota and the Dakotas. Danes had comparably low immigration rates due to a better economy [ citation needed ] after 1900 many Danish immigrants were Mormon converts who moved to Utah. [49]

Over two million Central Europeans, mainly Catholics and Jews, immigrated between 1880 and 1924. People of Polish ancestry are the largest Central European ancestry group in the United States after Germans. Immigration of Eastern Orthodox ethnic groups was much lower. [ citation needed ]

Lebanese and Syrian immigrants started to settle in large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The vast majority of the immigrants from Lebanon and Syria were Christians, but smaller numbers of Jews, Muslims, and Druze also settled. Many lived in New York City's Little Syria and in Boston. In the 1920s and 1930s, a large number of these immigrants set out West, with Detroit getting a large number of Middle Eastern immigrants, as well as many Midwestern areas where the Arabs worked as farmers. [ citation needed ]

Congress passed a literacy requirement in 1917 to curb the influx of low-skilled immigrants from entering the country. [ citation needed ]

Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act in 1921, followed by the Immigration Act of 1924, which supplanted earlier acts to effectively ban all immigration from Asia and set quotas for the Eastern Hemisphere so that no more than 2% of nationalities as represented in the 1890 census were allowed to immigrate to America.

New Immigration Edit

"New immigration" was a term from the late 1880s that refers to the influx of Catholic and Jewish immigrants from southern and eastern Europe (areas that previously sent few immigrants). [50] The great majority came through Ellis Island in New York, thus making the Northeast a major target of settlement. However there were a few efforts, such as the Galveston Movement, to redirect immigrants to other ports and disperse some of the settlement to other areas of the country.

Nativists feared the new arrivals lacked the political, social, and occupational skills needed to successfully assimilate into American culture. This raised the issue of whether the U.S. was still a "melting pot," or if it had just become a "dumping ground," and many old-stock Americans worried about negative effects on the economy, politics, and culture. [51] A major proposal was to impose a literacy test, whereby applicants had to be able to read and write in their own language before they were admitted. In Southern and Eastern Europe, literacy was low because the governments did not invest in schools. [52]

Restriction proceeded piecemeal over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but immediately after the end of World War I (1914–18) and into the early 1920s, Congress changed the nation's basic policy about immigration. The National Origins Formula of 1921 (and its final form in 1924) not only restricted the number of immigrants who might enter the United States but also assigned slots according to quotas based on national origins. The bill was so limiting that the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. between 1921 and 1922 decreased by nearly 500,000. [53] A complicated piece of legislation, it essentially gave preference to immigrants from Central, Northern, and Western Europe, limiting the numbers from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe, and gave zero quotas to Asia. However close family members could come. [54]

The legislation excluded Latin America from the quota system. Immigrants could and did move quite freely from Mexico, the Caribbean (including Jamaica, Barbados, and Haiti), and other parts of Central and South America.

The era of the 1924 legislation, lasted until 1965. During those 40 years, the United States began to admit, case by case, limited numbers of refugees. Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany before World War II, Jewish Holocaust survivors after the war, non-Jewish displaced persons fleeing Communist rule in Central Europe and the Soviet Union, Hungarians seeking refuge after their failed uprising in 1956, and Cubans after the 1960 revolution managed to find haven in the United States when their plight moved the collective conscience of America, but the basic immigration law remained in place.

Equal Nationality Act of 1934 Edit

This law allowed foreign-born children of American mothers and alien fathers who had entered America before the age of 18 and had lived in America for five years to apply for American citizenship for the first time. [55] It also made the naturalization process quicker for the alien husbands of American wives. [55] This law equalized expatriation, immigration, naturalization, and repatriation between women and men. [55] [56] However, it was not applied retroactively, and was modified by later laws, such as the Nationality Act of 1940. [55] [57]

Filipino immigration Edit

In 1934, the Tydings–McDuffie Act provided independence of the Philippines on July 4, 1946. Until 1965, national origin quotas strictly limited immigration from the Philippines. In 1965, after revision of the immigration law, significant Filipino immigration began, totaling 1,728,000 by 2004. [58]

Postwar immigration Edit

In 1945, the War Brides Act allowed foreign-born wives of U.S. citizens who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces to immigrate to the United States. In 1946, The War Brides Act was extended to include the fiancés of American soldiers. In 1946, the Luce–Celler Act extended the right to become naturalized citizens to those from the newly independent nation of The Philippines and to Asian Indians, the immigration quota being set at 100 people per year per country. [59]

At the end of World War II, "regular" immigration almost immediately increased under the official national origins quota system as refugees from war-torn Europe began immigrating to the U.S. After the war, there were jobs for nearly everyone who wanted one, when most women employed during the war went back into the home. From 1941 to 1950, 1,035,000 people immigrated to the U.S., including 226,000 from Germany, 139,000 from the UK, 171,000 from Canada, 60,000 from Mexico, and 57,000 from Italy. [60]

The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 finally allowed the displaced people of World War II to start immigrating. [61] Some 200,000 Europeans and 17,000 orphans displaced by World War II were initially allowed to immigrate to the United States outside of immigration quotas. President Harry S. Truman signed the first Displaced Persons (DP) act on June 25, 1948, allowing entry for 200,000 DPs, then followed with the more accommodating second DP act on June 16, 1950, allowing entry for another 200,000. This quota, including acceptance of 55,000 Volksdeutschen, required sponsorship for all immigrants. The American program was the most notoriously bureaucratic of all the DP programs and much of the humanitarian effort was undertaken by charitable organizations, such as the Lutheran World Federation as well as other ethnic groups. Along with an additional quota of 200,000 granted in 1953 and more in succeeding years, a total of nearly 600,000 refugees were allowed into the country outside the quota system, second only to Israel's 650,000. [ citation needed ]

1950s Edit

In 1950, after the start of the Korean War, the Internal Security Act barred admission of Communists, who might engage in activities "which would be prejudicial to the public interest, or would endanger the welfare or safety of the United States." Significant Korean immigration began in 1965, totaling 848,000 by 2004. [62]

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 affirmed the national-origins quota system of 1924 and limited total annual immigration to one-sixth of one percent of the population of the continental United States in 1920, or 175,455. This exempted the spouses and children of U.S. citizens and people born in the Western Hemisphere from the quota. In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act extended refugee status to non-Europeans.

In 1954, Operation Wetback forced the return of thousands of illegal immigrants to Mexico. [63] Between 1944 and 1954, "the decade of the wetback," the number of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico increased by 6,000 percent. It is estimated that before Operation Wetback got underway, more than a million workers had crossed the Rio Grande illegally. Cheap labor displaced native agricultural workers, and increased violation of labor laws and discrimination encouraged criminality, disease, and illiteracy. According to a study conducted in 1950 by the President's Commission on Migratory Labor in Texas, the Rio Grande Valley cotton growers were paying approximately half of the wages paid elsewhere in Texas. The United States Border Patrol aided by municipal, county, state, federal authorities, and the military, began a quasi-military operation of the search and seizure of all illegal immigrants. Fanning out from the lower Rio Grande Valley, Operation Wetback moved Northward. Initially, illegal immigrants were repatriated through Presidio because the Mexican city across the border, Ojinaga, had rail connections to the interior of Mexico by which workers could be quickly moved on to Durango. The forces used by the government were relatively small, perhaps no more than 700 men, but were augmented by border patrol officials who hoped to scare illegal workers into fleeing back to Mexico. Ships became a preferred mode of transport because they carried illegal workers farther from the border than buses, trucks, or trains. It is difficult to estimate the number of illegal immigrants that left due to the operation—most voluntarily. The INS claimed as many as 1,300,000, though the number officially apprehended did not come anywhere near this total. The program was ultimately abandoned due to questions surrounding the ethics of its implementation. Citizens of Mexican descent complained of police stopping all "Mexican looking" people and utilizing extreme "police-state" methods including deportation of American-born children who were citizens by law. [64]

The failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution, before being crushed by the Soviets, forged a temporary hole in the Iron Curtain that allowed a burst of refugees to escape, with 245,000 Hungarian families being admitted by 1960. From 1950 to 1960, the U.S. had 2,515,000 new immigrants with 477,000 arriving from Germany, 185,000 from Italy, 52,000 from the Netherlands, 203,000 from the UK, 46,000 from Japan, 300,000 from Mexico, and 377,000 from Canada.

The 1959 Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro drove the upper and middle classes to exile, and 409,000 families immigrated to the U.S. by 1970. [65] This was facilitated by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which gave permanent resident status to Cubans physically present in the United States for one year if they entered after January 1, 1959.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act) Edit

This all changed with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, a by-product of the civil rights movement and one of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. The measure had not been intended to stimulate immigration from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world. Rather, by doing away with the racially-based quota system, its authors had expected that immigrants would come from "traditional" societies such as Italy, Greece, and Portugal, places subject to very small quotas in the 1924 Act. The 1965 Act replaced the quotas with preferential categories based on family relationships and job skills, giving particular preference to potential immigrants with relatives in the United States and with occupations deemed critical by the U.S. Department of Labor. After 1970, following an initial influx from European countries, immigrants from places like Korea, China, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan, as well as countries in Africa became more common. [66]

1980s Edit

In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed, creating, for the first time, penalties for employers who hired illegal immigrants. IRCA, as proposed in Congress, was projected to give amnesty to about 1,000,000 workers in the country illegally. In practice, amnesty for about 3,000,000 immigrants already in the United States was granted. Most were from Mexico. Legal Mexican immigrant family numbers were 2,198,000 in 1980, 4,289,000 in 1990 (includes IRCA), and 7,841,000 in 2000. Adding another 12,000,000 illegal immigrants of which about 80% are thought to be Mexicans would bring the Mexican family total to over 16,000,000—about 16% of the Mexican population. [ citation needed ]

1990s: Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 Edit

Passed in September 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was a comprehensive immigration reform focused on restructuring the process for admitting or removing undocumented immigrants. [67] Its passing helped to strengthen U.S. immigration laws, restructured immigration law enforcement, and sought to limit immigration by addressing undocumented migration. These reforms affected legal immigrants, those seeking entry into the U.S., and those living undocumented in the U.S. [68]

IIRIRA Changes to Asylum Edit

IIRIRA created new barriers for refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. by narrowing asylum criteria previously established in the Refugee Act of 1980. [69] To prevent fraudulent asylum filings from people who were migrating for economic or work-related reasons, IIRIRA imposed an all-inclusive filing deadline called the "One Year Bar" to asylum. [70] IIRIRA provided limited exceptions to this rule when an "alien demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General either the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant's eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing the application." [71] IIRIRA also made the asylum process more difficult for refugees by allowing for the resettlement of refugees to third countries, "precluding appeals" to denied asylum applications, implementing higher processing fees, and having enforcement officers rather than judges determine the expedited removal of refugees. [67]

IIRIRA and Illegal Immigration Edit

Law enforcement under IIRIRA was strengthened to restrict unlawful immigration. The Act sought to prevent illegal immigration by expanding the number of Border Patrol agents and allowing the Attorney General to obtain resources from other federal agencies. Provisions were also made to improve infrastructure and barriers along the U.S. border area. [72] IIRIRA also delegated law enforcement capabilities to state and local officers via 287(g) agreements. [72] Illegal entry into the U.S. was made more difficult by cooperation between federal and local law enforcement, in addition to stiffening penalties for illegal entry and racketeering activities which included alien smuggling and document fraud.

IIRIRA addressed unlawful migration already present in the U.S. through enhanced tracking systems that included detecting employment eligibility and visa stay violations as well as creating counterfeit-resistant forms of identification. [73] The Act also established the 3 and 10 year re-entry bars for immigrants who accumulated unlawful presence in the U.S. and become inadmissible upon leaving the country. [74]

The restructuring of law enforcement contributed to an increased number of arrests, detentions, and removals of immigrants. [75] Under IIRIRA, the mandatory detention of broad groups of immigrants occurred, including those who had legal residence status but upon removal could have their status be removed after committing violent crimes. Relief and access to federal services were also redefined for immigrants as IIRIRA reiterated the 1996 Welfare Reform Act's tier system between citizens, legal immigrants, refugees, and illegal immigrants which determined public benefits eligibility. [73] In addition, IIRIRA also redefined financial self-sufficiency guidelines of sponsors who previously did not have to meet an income requirement to sponsor an immigrant. [73]

The top ten birth countries of the foreign born population since 1830, according to the U.S. Census, are shown below. Blank entries mean that the country did not make it into the top ten for that census, not that there is no data from that census. The 1830 numbers are from immigration statistics as listed in the 2004 Year Book of Immigration Statistics. [76]

• The 1830 numbers list un-naturalized foreign citizens and does not include naturalized foreign born. The 1850 census is the first census that asks for place of birth. The historical census data can be found online in the Virginia Library Geostat Center. [77] Population numbers are in thousands.

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1. References have purposely been kept short. For a more extensive discussion of the wide array of literature see Bade , K. J. , “ Massenwanderung und Arbeitsmarkt im deutschen Nordosten von 1880 bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg: Überseeische Auswanderung, interne Abwanderung und kontmentale Zuwanderng ,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 20 ( 1980 ): 265 – 323 Google Scholar idem, “ Politik und Ökonomie der Ausländerbeschäftigung im preussischen Osten 1885–1914: Die Internationalisierung des Arbeitsmarkts im Rahmen der preussischen Abwehrpolitik ,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft , Sonderheft 6 , 1980 , pp. 273 –99Google Scholar idem, “Arbeitsmarkt, Bevölkerung und Wanderung in der Weimarer Republik,” in Stürmer , M. , ed., Die Weimarer Republik—belagerte Civitas ( Königstein , 1980 ), pp. 160 –87Google Scholar idem, “Transnationale Migration und Arbeitsmarkt im Kaiserreich: Vom Agrarstaat mit starker Industrie zum Industriestaat mit starker agrarischer Basis,” in Pierenkemper , T. and Tilly , R. H. , eds., Historische Arbeitsmarktforschung ( Göttingen , 1981 )Google Scholar idem, “Land oder Arbeit: Massenwanderung und Arbeitsmarkt im deutschen Kaiserreich” (unpublished Habilitationsschrift , University of Erlangen , 1979 forthcoming 1982 ).Google Scholar For their helpful criticism I would like to thank Prof. K. Neils Conzen, Dr. R. H. Dumke, Dr. W. D. Kamphoefner, Prof. F. C. Luebke, Prof. A. McQuillan, Prof. O. Pflanze, and Prof. M. Walker, who gave the comment on my paper in San Francisco 1978.

2. Ferenczi , I. , Kontinentale Wanderungen und die Annäherung der Völker ( Jena , 1930 ), p. 21 .Google Scholar

3. Source of data for calculating sectoral shares of total labor force and national income: Hoffmann , W. G. , Grumbach , F. , and Hesse , H. , Das Wachstum der deutschen Wirtschaft seit der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts ( Berlin , 1965 ), pp. 205 , 454f .Google Scholar

4. Source of data: Bundesamt , Statistisches , ed., Bevölkerung und Wirtschaft 1872–1972 ( Wiesbaden , 1972 ), pp. 101ff Google Scholar . compare the diagrams in Mackenroth , G. , Bevölkerungslehre ( Berlin , 1952 ), p. 56 Google Scholar , and Köllmann , W. , “Bevölkerungsgeschichte,” in Zorn , W. and Aubin , H. , eds., Handbuch der deutschen Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte , 2 ( Stuttgart , 1976 ): 24 .Google Scholar

The German Catholics in America

A certain proportion of the Palatines who went to England were of the Catholic Faith, but they were not allowed to proceed to the American colonies, neither was the English government willing to permit their prolonged residence in England. They were therefore returned under government passports to the Palatinate. But of those who came later and directly to America, undoubtedly, a considerable number were Catholics. in 1741 the German Province of the Society of Jesus, sent out two priests to minister to the German Catholics in Pennsylvania. These were Father William Wappelet (born 22 January, 1711, in the Diocese of Mainz), co-founder of the mission of Conewago, and Father Theodore Schneider, a Palatine (born at Geinsheim, Diocese of Speyer, 7 April, 1703), who took up his residence at Goshenhoppen, in Berks County. Other German Jesuits came later on, among them Fathers James Frambach (died 1795 at Conewago), Luke Geissler (died at Lancaster, in 1786), Lawrence Graessel, who was appointed coadjutor to Bishop Carroll, but died in Philadelphia, of yellow fever, before consecration, James Pellentz, one of Bishop Carroll's vicars-general (died at Conewago in 1800), Matthias Sittensperger (changed his name to Manners), Ferdinand Steinmayr (Farmer), who, according to Bishop Carroll, founded the first Catholic congregation in New York (died in Philadelphia, 17 August, 1787, in the odour of sanctity). Father Farmer was a member of the famous Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, and was made a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Philadelphia, when that institution was chartered in 1779. To these early missionaries may be added Father John Baptist de Ritter, who was a German, though a member of the Belgian Province. He died at Goshenhoppen, 3 February, 1787. Father Schneider was the pastor of the parish at Goshenhoppen for twenty-three years, ministering to the Catholics there and in the region for fifty miles around. Before he died, in 1764, he had the satisfaction of seeing the Church firmly established in Pennsylvania. His companion, Father Wappeler, founded the mission of the Sacred Heart at Conewago. Of him, Bishop Carroll wrote that "he was a man of much learning and unbounded zeal". Having remained about eight years in America, and converted or reclaimed many to the Faith of Christ, he was forced by bad health to return to Europe. His successor, Father Pellentz, built the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the first in the country under that title. It is not probable that there was any large, or indeed appreciable, number of German Catholics in any other colony at that time, with the exception of Louisiana, whose French inhabitants shared and honoured their religion, whereas most of the English colonies had severe laws against the "Papists". But gradually all were opened to Catholics.

From a letter by the Rev. Dr. Carroll to the Rev. C. Plowden, in 1785, we learn that in that year he visited Philadelphia, New York, and the upper countries of the Jerseys and Pennsylvania, "where our worthy German brethren have formed congregations". Although we do not know of any German settlement in the Far West during the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, we find during that period German priests labouring among the Indian tribes on the coast of the Pacific, and in the south-western States. The first German priest on the Pacific coast was the Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. His real name was Eusebius Franz Kuehn. He was a native of Trent, and entered the Society of Jesus at Ingolstadt. He came from Germany in 1680 or 1681, and to Lower California in 1683. In the following year he was called to Sonora, where he laboured until his death, in 1710, meanwhile making missionary and exploring trips to the Rio Gila in Sonora. Other German Jesuits in Lower California from 1719 to 1767, were Joseph Baegert, the author of the "Nachrichten von der Kalifornischen Halbinsel" (Mannheim, 1772), Joh. Bischoff, Franz Benno Ducure, Joseph Gasteiger, Eberhard Helen, Lambert Hostell, Wenzeslaus Link, Karl Neumayr, Georg Retz, Ignatz Tuersch, Franz X. Wagner. Arizona saw the indefatigable Father Eusebius Kuehn, towards the latter part of the seventeenth century, as far up as the Gila River at its junction with the Colorado. In 1731, Philip V, at the suggestion of Benedict Crespo, Bishop of Durango, ordered three central missions to be established in Arizona, at the royal expense. To the joy of the bishop, three German Jesuit Fathers were sent, Father Ignatius Xavier Keller, Father John Baptist Grashoffer, and Father Philip Segesser. Of the last two, one soon died, and the other was prostrated by sickness, but Father Ignatius Keller became the leader of the new missions in that district, taking possession of Santa Maria Soamea, 20 April, 1732. About the year 1750, we find Father Ignatius Pfefferkorn, a native of Mannheim, Germany, at Guevavi and at the same time, Father Sedelmayr, at the instance of the Spanish Government, was evangelizing the tribes of the Gila, erecting seven or eight churches in the villages of the Papagos, among whom Father Bernard Middendorf also laboured, and Father Keller was endeavouring to reach the Moquis, who were willing to receive missionaries of any kind but Franciscans. Other prominent Jesuits from the Fatherland were Fathers Caspar Steiger, Heinrich Kürtzel, and Michael Gerstner. By the summary act of the King of Spain, in 1763, every church in Arizona was closed and the Christian Indians were deprived of their zealous German priests.

In 1808, the Diocese of Baltimore, which had, up to this time, embraced the entire United States, was divided, and the four new sees of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Bardstown erected. There were, at that time, under the jurisdiction of the first Bishop of Philadelphia, Holy Trinity, attended by the Rev. William Elling and Father Adam Britt, the latter of whom issued a new edition of the German catechism St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum, erected in 1806, was the first institution of its kind established by Catholics in the United States. The Rev. Louis de Barth attended at Lancaster and Conewago. He was the son of Joseph de Barth, Count de Welbach, and his wife, Maria Louisa de Rohme, and was born at Münster, 1 November, 1764. When the See of Philadelphia became vacant by the death of Bishop Egan, Father de Barth became administrator of the diocese. He died 13 October, 1838. The Rev. Paul Erntzen had begun, in 1793, his quarter-century pastorship at Goshenhoppen. Father Peter Helbron, O. Min. Cap., had reared a log chapel in Westmoreland County. After years of devoted service, he went to Philadelphia, but died at Carlisle on his homeward journey. The Rev. Demetrius A. Gallitzin was labouring in the district of which Loretto was the centre, and had come to America in 1792, with a learned and pious priest, the Rev. F. K. Brosius, who had offered his services to Dr. Carroll. He travelled under the name of Schmet, a contraction of his mother's name, but this in America soon became Smith, by which he was known for many years. He bore letters to Bishop Carroll, and when he was introduced to the priests of Saint-Sulpice, was delighted with their life and work. His father had marked out a brilliant career for him in the military or diplomatic service in Europe, but the peace and simplicity which reigned in America contrasted to forcibly with the seething maelstrom of European revolution that, penetrated with the vanity of worldly grandeur, young Gallitzin resolved to renounce all schemes of pride and ambition, and to embrace the clerical profession for the benefit of the American mission.

In 1808 the diocese of New York was created, and its chief organizer was the learned and able Jesuit Father, Anthony Kohlmann, as vicar-general and administrator sede vacante. He had come over from the old country in 1806, together with two other priests of his order. The German Catholics in New York had gradually increased, so that they organized a little congregation by themselves. Their first pastor seems to have been the Rev. John Raffeiner, of whom Archbishop Hughes said: "Bishops, priests, and people have reason to remember Father Raffeiner for many years to come". He visited his countrymen far and near, always ready to hasten to any point to give them the consolations of religion. For a time the Germans in New York assembled under his care in a disused Baptist place of worship at the corner of Delancey and Pitt Streets, and afterwards, when the lease expired, in St. Mary's church but on 20 April, 1833, the corner-stone of a church to be dedicated to St. Nicholas, on Second Street, was laid. By the sacrifices and exertions of Father Raffeiner the church was completed and dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1836. Father Raffeiner directed the church for several years and became vicar-general for the Germans in the diocese. By the year 1836, the German Catholic element in the Boston diocese required Bishop Fenwick's care, the largest body of them being in and near Roxbury. Having no priest in his diocese who could speak German fluently, Bishop Fenwick applied to his fellow-bishop in New York, and at the close of May, 1835, the Very Rev. John Raffeiner, apostle of his countrymen in the East, arrived. On the last day of May, that zealous priest gathered three hundred in the chapel of St. Aloysius and addressed them with so much power and unction, that he spent the whole evening in the confessional. Quickened by his zeal, they resolved to collect means to support a priest, and in August, 1836, they obtained the Rev. Father Hoffmann as their pastor, with Father Freygang as assistant but, led by designing men, they would not co-operate with those sent to minister to them. Fathers Hoffmann and Freygang were both forced to retire, and an ex-Benedictine, named Smolnikar, became their choice. In a short time, however, the bishop discovered in this priest unmistakable signs of insanity and, unable to obtain another clergyman, became himself the chaplain of the German congregation. In 1841, stimulated by their bishop, they purchased a lot on Suffolk Street, and prepared to erect a church, laying the corner-stone on 28 June he had already secured a zealous priest, Rev. F Roloff, for his congregation. The German Catholic body in New York City, was now increasing so rapidly that soon another church was needed, and in June the corner-stone of St. John Baptist's was laid by the Very Rev. Dr. Power, to be dedicated on 13 September, by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Hughes.

About 1820 Ohio was already the home of many Catholic families of German speech. It was for this reason that Bishop Flaget, of Bardstown and Louisville, urged that a see should be erected at Cincinnati, and for its first bishop recommended the Rev. Demetrius A. Gallitzin, educated in Germany, and familiar with the language and ideas of the people but the good priest, learning of the project, peremptorily refused. In 1829, two zealous German priests began to make a list of their Catholic countrymen in the State of Ohio. They found them everywhere — at Cincinnati, Somerset, Lancaster — and by their untiring zeal awoke in the hearts of many who had for years neglected to practise it. One of these itinerant priests was the Rev. John Martin Henni, a name to be known in time as that of the founder of the first German Catholic paper, first Bishop of Wisconsin, and first Archbishop of Milwaukee. In 1832, on the death of Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati, the administration of the diocese devolved on the zealous missionary priest, Father Edward Reese, who had laboured so earnestly among his countrymen in the diocese and been instrumental in the establishment of the "Leopoldinen-Stiftung", an association for aiding missions, at Vienna, whose alms have fostered so many missions and helped substantially towards developing the Catholic school system, particularly in the Diocese of Cincinnati, and the dioceses formed from it. Dr. Reese was born at Vianenburg, near Hildesheim, in 1791 and, like Pio Nono, had been a cavalry officer before he embraced the priesthood. he was the founder of the Athenæum in Cincinnati, which later was transferred to the Jesuits, and changed into the present St. Xavier College. Holy Trinity, erected in 1834, was the first German church west of the Alleghanies. Its second pastor, the Rev. John M. Henni, whom we have already mentioned, displaying untiring energy in founding and organizing schools in Cincinnati and was actively interested in the development of Catholic educational work throughout the States he also formed the German Catholic Orphan Society of St. Aloysius, and an asylum was soon erected. About this time, log churches arose at Glandorf, Bethlehem, and New Riegel in northern Ohio, sufficient to gather the faithful together, and afforded a place for the instruction of the young. Meanwhile, the Catholic population of the State increased steadily, and the churches and institutions were very inadequate. St. Mary's church for the Germans, in Cincinnati, was dedicated in July, 1842 another German church was erected about the same time, as Zanesville, by Rev. H. D. Juncker. As early as 1836, a German congregation was organized at Louisville, Kentucky, by the Rev. Jos. Stahlschmidt they soon erected St. Boniface's church, which was dedicated on the feast of All Saints, 1838. This church was attended for a time from Indiana and Ohio by the Rev. Jos. Ferneding and Rev. John M. Henni. In 1842, on 30 October, Bishop Chabrat dedicated St. Mary's church, Covington, Kentucky, a fine brick structure, erected by the German Catholics of that city. When, in 1833, the Rt. Rev. Frederick Reese became Bishop of Detroit, there were labouring in his diocese, among other German priests, the Redemptorist Fathers Saenderl and Hatscher. in the following year the German church of the Holy Trinity was established. At that time Vincennes was erected into a diocese. Three years later, we find a German congregation in Jasper County, Illinois. The German Catholics around Quincy, Illinois, had erected a house for a priest, and as a temporary chapel till their church was built. Father Charles Meyer's ministrations in the little log church of St. Andrew, at Belleville, Ill., was his first step to a future bishopric. In 1841, a German Catholic church was erected at West Point, Iowa, in the present Diocese of Dubuque. At Pittsburg the German Catholics attended St. Patrick's until their increasing numbers made it expedient for them to form a separate congregation. They then worshipped in a building previously used as a factory. in 1839, at Bishop Kenrick's suggestion, a community of Redemptorists then in Ohio, came and took charge of this mission, and the factory was soon transformed into the church of St. Philomena, with a Redemptorist convent attached — the first house of that congregation in the United States. Here, before long, the Rev. John N. Neumann received the habit and began his novitiate, to become in time Bishop of Philadelphia, and die in the odour of sanctity. When, on 3 December, 1843, the first Bishop of Pittsburg reached that city, he founded in his district a Catholic population estimated at forty-five thousand, 12,000 being of German origin.

An attempt at Catholic colonization was made about this time at St. Mary's, Elk County, where Messrs. Mathias Benziger and J. Eschbach, of Baltimore, purchased a large tract. Settlers soon gathered from Germany, who, from the first, were attended by the Redemptorist Fathers, but, though well managed, and encouraged by the hearty approval of the bishop, the town never attained any considerable size. Important and wide-reaching in its results, not only for the Diocese of Pittsburg, but for the Catholic Church in the United States was the arrival at Pittsburg, 30 September, 1845, of the Benedictine monk, Dom Boniface Wimmer. The Rev. Peter Lemcke, a German priest, had been labouring for several years in the mission of Pennsylvania. His life had been a strange and varied one. Born in Mecklenburg, of Lutheran parents, he grew up attached to their sect, trained piously by those who clung to the great doctrines of Christianity. Drafted into the army, he fought under Blücher at Waterloo, and afterwards returning to his home, resolved to become a Lutheran minister. To his astonishment and dismay, he found the professors to be men who, in their classes, ridiculed every religious belief which he had been taught to prize. He was led to study, and a thorough mastery of the works of Luther convinced him that Almighty God never could have chosen such a man to work any good in his Church. he went to Bavaria, where he began to study Catholic doctrines, and was received into the Church by Bishop Sailer. Having resolved to become a priest, he went through a course of study and was ordained. Coming to America in 1834, he was sent, in time, as assistant to Father Gallitzin, and laboured in the missions of Western Pennsylvania. As early as 1835, he appealed, in the Catholic papers of Germany, to the Benedictines to come to the United States. He returned to Europe in 1844, mainly to obtain German priests for the missions of the Diocese of Pittsburg. At Munich he met Dom Boniface Wimmer, a Benedictine monk of the ancient Abbey of Metten, in Bavaria, a religious whose thoughts have already turned to the American mission. Father Lemcke offered him a farm of 400 acres which he owned at Carrolltown, Maryland. Correspondence with Bishop O'Connor followed. Dom Boniface could not secure any priests of his order, but he obtained four students and fourteen lay brothers. Their project was liberally aided by the Ludwig-Verein, the Prince-Bishop of Munich, the Bishop of Linz, and others. After conducting his colony to Carrolltown, Father Wimmer paid his respects to Bishop O'Connor. That prelate urged him to accept the estate at St. Vincent's which Father Brouwers had left to the Church in the preceding century, rather than establish his monastery at Carroltown. Visiting St. Vincent's with the bishop, Dom Boniface found there a brick church with a two-story brick house which, though built for a pastoral residence, had been an academy of Sisters of Mercy. He decided in favour of the bishop's suggestion, and, 19 October, 1846, the first community of Benedictine monks was organized in the schoolhouse at St. Vincent's. Father Wimmer took charge of the neighboring congregation, and was soon attending several stations. His students were gradually ordained, and in a few years St. Vincent's was declared by the Holy See an independent priory, and was duly incorporated 10 May, 1853. Prior Wimmer showed great ability and zeal, and from the outset confined his labours as much as possible to German congregations.

Already, before 1850, the Rev. John E. Paulhuber and other Jesuit Fathers from Georgetown had been in charge of St. Mary's church at Richmond, Virginia, erected for Germans, of whom there were seven or eight hundred in the city. In the Diocese of Wheeling, erected in 1850, there was a log chapel near the German settlement of Kingwood. About that time, German settlers were gathering in Preston, Doddridge, and Marshall Counties. Soon after, the Rev. F Mosblech began to plan the erection of a church for the Germans in Wheeling. When Bishop Hughes, in 1843, returned from Europe, one of his first episcopal acts was the dedication of the church of the Most Holy Redeemer, on Third Street, New York, which the Redemptorists had erected for the German Catholics. The Rev. John Raffeiner, the Apostle of the Germans, reported the labours among his countrymen, in New York State, of Fathers Schneider at Albany, Schwenninger at Utica, Inama at Salina, the Redemptorists and Franciscans of St. Peter's church at Rochester, and announced that peace prevailed in the long distracted congregation of St. Louis, Buffalo. In New York City, St. Alphonsus, the second church of the Redemptorists for the Germans, was erected in 1848. The German Catholics of Albany, though struggling with difficulties, were soon rearing a near Gothing church on Hamilton and Philip Streets. Addressing the Leopold Society, in January, 1850, to acknowledge their generous aid, Bishop McCloskey estimated the Catholic population of his diocese at 70,000, including 10,000 Germans. He had sixty-two churches, eleven of them for Germans. At about the same time, Bishop Timon, of Buffalo, estimated his flock at 40,000 souls, half of whome were Germans, attended by five secular priests and five Redemptorists. The Diocese of Cincinnati received, in 1843, a valuable accession, a colony of seven priests of the Congregation of the Most Precious Blood (Sanguinists), led by the Rev. Francis de Sales Brunner. The difficult mission of Peru was assigned to them by the bishop, with the charge of Norwalk and scattered stations in the neighbouring counties. The labours of the Sanguinist priests were singally blessed, and the healthy growth of the Church in that part of Ohio must be ascribed mainly to these excellent missioners. In December, 1844, Father Brunner established a convent of his congregation at New Riegel, another, next year, at Thompson, and, in 1848, one at Glandorf. Each of these became the centre of religious influence for a large district. Father Brunner was born at Mumliswil, Switzerland, 10 January, 1795, entered the Congregation of the Precious Blood in 1838, and, after taking part in the establishment of a community in Switzerland, formed a project of a mission in America.

In April, 1845, Bishop Purcell, with a large gathering of the clergy, societies, ecclesiastics, and pupils of the schools, laid the corner-stone of the German church of St. John the Baptist, Green Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, to be dedicated on 1 November of the same year, by Bishop Henni of Milwaukee, who had done so much for the German Catholics of Cincinnati. St. Mary's church, at Detroit, Michigan, was dedicated for the Germans, 29 June, 1843. In 1844 Bishop Kenrick of St. Louis estimated the Catholic population of Missouri at 50,000, one third being of German origin. At this time, St. Louis possessed the German church of St. Aloysius. The corner-stone of St. Joseph's, another church for the Germans, under the care of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, was laid in April, 1844. A letter sent, in 1850, by Archbishop Kenrick to the Leopold Association, gives the condition of the German Catholics of the diocese at this time. — Four of the ten churches in St. Louis were exclusively German. The Germans had their own orphan asylum and an Ursuline convent, with sisters from Hungary and Bavaria. Three German congregations in Scott County were attended by a priest at Benton. Two congregations in St. Charles County had each a German priest. Those in Washington County were attended by two German Fathers of the Society of Jesus and three other fathers attended four congregations in Osage and Cole Counties. Jefferson City had a German congregation and priest. In Gasconade County, the German Catholics were erecting a church. The archbishop was about to send a German priest to Montgomery County. Those at Boonville were visited by priests, but had no church, while those in Pettis, with five or six small congregations, were regularly visited.

By the close of the year 1844 the Rt. Rev. William Quarter, first Bishop of Chicago, had twenty-three priests in his diocese, one at the cathedral (the Rev. C. H. Ostlangenberg) to care for the Germans, while Quincy had its German congregation and priest. With a steadily increasing German flock, he appealed, and not in vain, to the Leopold Association and made plans to give them a church of their own in Chicago, as they were estimated at one thousand. Chapels were being erected at St. Peter's and at Teutopolis. After Easter, 1850, the Rt. Rev. James Oliver van de Velde, the second Bishop of Chicago, dedicated St. Joseph's church, at Grosse Pointe, or New Trier, erected by the Rev. Henry Fortmann, and exhorted the German Catholics at Ridgeville to commence building. in 1844, the Rev. Ivo Schacht, who had a large district, embracing several counties of the State of Tennessee, laid the corner-stone of a church at Clarksville. The German Catholics in Nashville desired a church of their own, and Bishop Miles appealed in their behalf to the Leopold Association.

When, in 1846, Bishop Loras of Dubuque, visited New Vienna, he found there 250 Germans, all Catholics. There were at that time more or less Germans everywhere in that diocese, and almost all farmers. On 19 April, 1846, Bishop Henni, of Milwaukee, laid the corner-stone of St. Mary's German Church in that city. Before the Mexican War had begun, German settlements were established at Couhi, New Braunsfels, and Fredericksburg, Texas. About the year 1849 the Rev. Gregory Menzel was labouring among his countrymen at the two last-named places, as well as at Bastrop and Austin, urging Catholics, for the sake of the future of their families, to gather near each other so as to enjoy the benefits of church and school. Bishop Odin of Galveston, in 1851, visited Europe and, before the end of the following year, had the consolation of bringing with him four Franciscans from Bavaria to take care of his increasing German flock.

In the Diocese of Pittsburg the community of Benedictines had grown and prospered. New lands were acquired, and suitable buildings for various purposes were erected. In 1855, Prior Wimmer visited Rome, and Pope Pius IX, on 24 August, made St. Vincent's an exempt abbey, and on 17 September appointed the Rt. Rev. Boniface Wimmer mitred abbot for a term of three years. St. Vincent's College, opened in 1849, had thriven with the growth of the community and soon had a large number of students. The course was thorough, and pupils had special advantages for acquiring a practical knowledge of German. The Redemptorists were labouring earnestly in Pittsburg, under Father Seelos and others. in 1851 they laid the foundation of St. Joseph's German Orphan Asylum. When, in 1853, the See of Erie was erected, the German Catholics had a little church in that city. Williamsburg, New York, had a German church of the Holy Trinity many years before the Diocese of Brooklyn, to which it now belongs, was erected. In Brooklyn, St. Boniface's, purchased from the Episcopalians, was dedicated for the use of the Germans in 1854, as were Holy Trinity and St. Malachy's in East New York. From the year 1849, the German Catholics at Elizabeth, Diocese of Newark, were visited by the Redemptorist Fathers till the Rev. Augustine Dantner, O.S.F., became their resident priest in 1852. Bishop Bayley endeavoured to secure the Benedictine Fathers for St. Mary's German Church, Newark, and in 1856 the Rt. Rev. Abbot Wimmer sent Father Valentine Felder, O.S.B., to that city. Two years later, St. Michael's German church was dedicated. In 1853 the Abbot of Einsiedeln, at the request of the Bishop of Vincennes, sent a colony of Benedictine monks to Indiana. They settled in Spencer County, where they founded the Abbey of St. Meinrad. At that time, the Very Rev. Jos. Kundeck had been for twenty years vicar-general of the diocese, in which he laboured most zealously. In 1857 the sovereign pontiff established the Diocese of Fort Wayne, selecting for its first bishop, the Rev. Henry Luers, born near Münster, Westphalia, 29 September, 1819. He soon dedicated St. Mary's German church, the pastor of which was the Rev. Joseph Wentz. In the summer of 1858 the Franciscan Fathers of the Province of the Holy Cross founded a residence at Teutopolis, Effingham County, Illinois, under the Very Rev. Damian Hennewig. The corner-stone of the college was laid in 1861, and the institution arose at Quincy. The German Catholic church at Alton was, in June, 1860, destroyed by a tornado, but the congregation courageously set to work to replace it by a more substantial edifice. In 1856, the Salesianum, the famous seminary of Milwaukee, was opened, with the Very Rev. Michael Heiss as rector and the Rev. Dr. Joseph Salzmann as leading professor. The church of the seminary was consecrated in 1861. The fine church of St. Joseph was erected at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1856, by Rev. C. Holzhauer. A community of the Capuchin Order, destined to spread to many parts of the United States and to distinguish itself by successful mission work, arose in the diocese. Two secular priests, Fathers Haas and Frey, conceived the idea of establishing a Capuchin house. After some correspondence, a father of the order came from Europe and opened a novitiate, receiving the two priests as novices in 1857. After their profession postulants came, the community grew, and God blessed their labours wonderfully. The first German priest on record in Upper California, was the Rev. Florian Schweninger, who first appears at Shasta, in 1854. He must have arrived in 1853. In 1856 the Rev. Sebastian Wolf had charge of a station in Placerville, California. He was later (1858-59) stationed at St. Patrick's church as assistant, but preached the German sermon at St. Mary's cathedral, at the nine-o'clock Mass on Sundays. He began to erect a church for the Germans early in 1860, and since then St. Boniface's congregation has formed an independent parish. He remained pastor until the archbishop called from St. Louis some Franciscans, who took charge and, in 1893, founded another German parish, St. Anthony's, in the southern part of the city. In the lower part of the State, the Diocese of Monterey, the first German name found in the parish records of San Diego is that of the Rev. J. Christ. Holbein, missionary Apostolic, who was in charge of both the former Indian mission and the city of San Diego, from July, 1849, to February, 1850. A German settlement for the first time appears in the Catholic Directory as an out-mission of Santa Anna in 1867, but it had no German priests until years after. It is St. Boniface's. The first German parish of Los Angeles, St. Joseph's, was organized in 1888 the first German church in Sacramento in 1894. German Jesuits went to work in what is now Oregon and Washington, with others of their order, in the early forties, and since then German parishes have arisen. No German priests or settlers of account reached New Mexico until within the last fifteen or twenty years.

Gradually German Catholics were to be found in nearly every part of the United States, especially in New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, everywhere establishing flourishing congregations with schools and churches. The number of German Catholics in the United States can only be given approximately. Over one-third of the Germans from the German Empire, as well as the majority of the Germans from Austria, are Catholics accordingly, almost one-half of the Germans in this country should be Catholics. making liberal allowance for the leakage, we may safely say that at least one-fourth, i.e. over three millions, are Catholics. This is a conservative estimate. The leakage is considerable among Catholics of all nationalities. For the defection of Germans in particular, the following reasons must be assigned. Where Germans settled in small numbers, frequently there were no priests of their own tongue. Left to themselves, they were in a condition of religious isolation they gradually neglected religious practices and finally lost their faith. Although this applies to all immigrants who do not speak English, it proved specially disastrous in the case of the Germans. As over one-half of the German settlers were Protestant, and frequently had churches and various church organizations, there was a non-Catholic atmosphere around them mixed marriages, particularly in such placed, frequently resulted in losses to the Catholic Church. Great as the contributions of the immigrants of '48 were to the intellectual advancement of the United States, it cannot be denied that, on the whole, their influence was not favourable from a religious viewpoint. The same must be said of certain German organizations, as the turnvereins, which frequently manifested an anti-Catholic, and even anti-religious, spirit. Nor can it be denied that Socialistic principles were largely spread by German immigrants and German publications. Small wonder that hundreds of thousands of Germans have been lost to the Catholic Church.

German churches and religious communities

No attempt is made to give exact statistics of German Catholic churches and parishes, because such are not available at the present time. A general idea, however, can be formed from the fact, that among the 15,655 priests in the Catholic Directory for the United States, about one third bear German names. Among the more distinguished German prelates, mention should be made of John Martin Henni, first Bishop, and later Archbishop, of Milwaukee Michael Heiss, Archbishop of Milwaukee Seb. Gebhard Messmer, Bishop of Green Bay, now Archbishop of Milwaukee Winand S. Wigger, third Bishop of Newark, a wise ruler, a devout priest, and notable for his practical work as head of the St. Raphael Society for the protection of immigrants and most particularly of the saintly Bishop Neumann of Philadelphia, whose beatification is the earnest hope of all American Catholics.

Of the great number of European orders and congregations of men and women labouring in the United States for man's spiritual or physical welfare, the following are of German origin and even now (1909) are recruited chiefly from Germans or their descendants:-

(1) Benedictines, — (a) American Cassinese Congregation, founded in 1846, by the Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., — At the present time there belong to this congregation the following independent abbeys: St. Vincent's Arch-Abbey, Beatty, Pennsylvania, with 126 fathers, 5 deacons, 23 clerics, 64 lay brothers, and 4 novices St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, with 94 fathers, 11 clerics, 26 lay brothers, 9 novices St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas, with 51 fathers, 6 clerics, 18 brothers St. Mary's Abbey, Newark, New Jersey, with 40 fathers, 7 clerics, 14 lay brothers Maryhelp Abbey, Belmont, North Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Leo Haid, D.D., O.S.B. abbot-bishop, 31 fathers, 1 deacon, 4 clerics, 36 lay brothers, 4 novices St. Bernard's Abbey, Cullman Co., Alabama, with 38 fathers, 1 deacon, 3 subdeacons, 12 clerics, 16 lay brothers, 6 postulants St. Procopius's Abbey, Chicago, Illinois, with 14 fathers, 6 clerics, 20 lay brothers, 6 novices St. Leo's Abbey, St. Leo, Florida, with 12 fathers, 16 lay brothers, 3 novices. (b) Swiss American Congregation, founded by Pope Pius IX, 1871, and Pope Leo XIII, 1881. — To this congregation belong the following abbeys: St. Meinrad's Abbey, St. Meinrad, Indiana, founded in 1854 by two Benedictine Fathers from Einsiedeln, Switzerland an abbey since 1871, 50 fathers, 6 clerics, 42 lay brothers, 7 novices Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri, founded in 1873 by Fathers Frown Conrad and Adelhelm Odermatt from the Benedictine Abbey, Engelberg, Switzerland an abbey since 1881, 42 fathers, 7 clerics, 26 lay brothers, 4 novices New Subiaco Abbey, Spielerville, Arkansas, with 30 fathers, 5 clerics, 23 lay brothers, 5 novices St. Joseph's Abbey, Gessen, Louisiana, with 19 fathers, 4 clerics, 8 lay brothers, 3 novices St. Mary's Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota, with 21 fathers, 8 clerics, 12 lay brothers, 11 novices St. Benedict's Abbey, Mt. Angel, Oregon, with 18 fathers, 7 clerics, 28 lay brothers, 2 novices. — With these abbeys are connected 17 colleges and numerous parishes, stations, and missions. (2) Capuchins. — There are two provinces: (a) St. Joseph's, extending over the States of New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and the Dioceses of Chicago and Fort Wayne (b) St. Augustine's, comprising the States of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois (the dioceses of Chicago and Fort Wayne excepted). — (a) St. Joseph's Province, founded in 1857 by two secular priests, Fathers Gregory Haas and John Anthony Frey, numbers 67 fathers, 19 professed clerics, 43 professed brothers, 2 novices, and 10 Brothers of the Third Order (b) St. Augustine's Province, founded in 1874, by the Capuchin Fathers Hyacinth Epp and Matthias Hay, with 64 fathers, 18 professed clerics, 37 professed lay brothers, 5 novices, 2 Brothers of the Third Order. (3) Franciscans. — The three provinces, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of St. John the Baptist, of the Most Holy Name, number 431 fathers, 148 clerics, 233 lay brothers, 36 Tertiary Brothers, and 10 novices. (4) Jesuits. — About 200 Jesuits from the Fatherland are labouring in the United States. Besides, there are several hundred Jesuits of German descent who were born in this country. For nearly forty years there was a distinct German division called the Buffalo mission of the German Province, with colleges at Buffalo, New York Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin two Indian missions in South Dakota, and other houses. In 1907, the mission numbered about 300 members in that year the mission was separated from the mother-province, and the houses and members joined to different American provinces. (5) Redemptorists. — Although now many other nationalities are represented in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, it still numbers a great many Germans among its members. The two provinces of Baltimore and St. Louis are composed of 325 fathers, 95 professed lay brothers, 48 novice lay brothers and postulants. (6) Fathers of the Precious Blood. — This congregation, founded at Rome in 1814 is divided into four provinces, three European and one American. The American province was organized in 1844 by the Rev. Francis S. Brunner, and most of its members are Germans, either by birth or by descent. The congregation is represented in the Dioceses of Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Joseph, St. Paul, Chicago, and San Antonio. — 100 fathers, 6 clerics, 82 lay brothers, and 32 novices. (7) Alexian Brothers. — They conduct hospitals and asylums, in the Archdioceses of Chicago and St. Louis, the Dioceses of Green Bay and Newark. — 99 professed brothers, 5 novices, 6 postulants. (There are also numerous Germans among the Passionists, Dominicans, Lazarists and the Fathers of the Holy Cross.)

Religious Orders of Women

(1) Sisters of St. Benedict. — In 1852 the first colony of Benedictine Sisters came to the United States from Eichstätt, Bavaria, and settled in St. Mary's, Elk County, in the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania. At present they have also houses in many other dioceses. They number about 2000 sisters, 135 novices, and 115 postulants. (2) Sisters of Christian Charity. — They were established in 1874 by sisters from Paderborn, Germany. The sisters conduct establishments in 17 dioceses they number about 731, including novices and postulants. The mother-house for the United States is at Wilkes-barre, Pennsylvania. (3) Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. — (a) Mother-house at Peoria, Illinois, founded in 1876, by sisters from the house of Bethlehem, Herford, Westphalia, Germany. 151 sisters, 32 novices, 28 postulants. (b) Mother-house at Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania. 804 professed sisters, 54 novices, 8 postulants. (c) Mother-house at 337 Pine Street, Buffalo, New York. 256 sisters, 30 novices, 14 postulants. (d) Mother-house at Syracuse, New York Millvale, Pennsylvania, and at Mt. Loretto, Staten Island, New York. All these houses are German foundations, though now many sisters of other nationalities belong to them. (4) Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. — There are about 500 sisters, 48 novices, and 7 postulants, with mother-house at Oldenburg, Indiana. They were founded in the year 1851, by Mother M. Theresa of Vienna, Austria. (5) Sisters of St. Francis. — Their mother-house at 749 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York, was founded in 1874, ny sisters from Nonnenwerth near Rolandseck, Rhenish Prussia. There are 268 sisters. (6) Franciscan Sisters. — Founded in 1872, by sisters from Salzkotten, Germany. Mother-house for the United States, at St. Louis, Missouri. There are 192 sisters. (7) School Sisters of St. Francis. — Their mother-house and novitiate are at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There are 668 professed sisters, 110 novices, 54 postulants. (8) Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration. — Founded in 1853, by Most Rev. M. Heiss, D.D. There are 364 professed sisters, 45 novices, and 42 postulants. Mother-house at St. Rose Convent, la Crosse, Wisconsin. (9) Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. — Founded in 1875, by sisters from Münster, Westphalia, Germany. Sisters 299, novices 24, postulants 6. Provincial House at St. John's Hospital, Springfield, Illinois. (10) Poor Sisters of St. Francis of the Perpetual Adoration. — Provincial house at St. Francis Convent, Lafayette, Indiana. Founded by Sisters from Olpe, Westphalia, Germany. Professed sisters 573, novices 65, postulants 24. (11) Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. — Founded by sisters from Aachen, Germany. They conduct hospitals in eight dioceses, and number about 530. (12) The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. — The American Province of this sisterhood was established in August, 1868, at Fort Wayne, Indiana. The mother-house and novitiate are still united with the general mother-house at Dernbach, Germany. They number 423 professed sisters, 32 novices, 19 postulants. (13) School Sisters of Notre Dame. General mother-house, Munich, Bavaria. Principal mother-house in America, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. First convent established at Baltimore, 1847. The sisters form the largest teaching Congregation in the United States and conduct schools in nearly all the dioceses. Number of sisters and novices 3368, besides 238 candidates, with 99,009 pupils. (14) Sisters of the Most Precious Blood. — (a) Mother-house at Maria Stein, Ohio, established in 1834, by sisters from Switzerland. (b) Mother-house at Ruma, Illinois established in 1868, at Piopolis, Illinois, by sisters from Gurtweil, Baden, Germany transferred to Ruma, in 1876. (c) Mother-house at O'Fallon, Missouri. About 1000 sisters belong to this congregation. (15) Sisters of Divine Providence. Mother-house at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Brightside, Holyoke, Massachusetts. The Pittsburg mother-house was established in 1876, by sisters from Mainz, Germany. There are now about 400 sisters in all.

Beside all these, there are several smaller German religious congregations in the United States. In other congregations also, not of German foundation, there are now many German sisters. There must be, therefore, upwards of twelve thousand sisters of German origin in this country.

Parochial schools

From the very beginning, of their settling in this country the German Catholics had at heart the establishing of parochial schools. Interesting details are given concerning the schools at Goshenhoppen and Conewago. The school at Goshenhoppen was begun by Father Schneider, S.J. (who had previously served as Rector Magnificus, or elective head, of Heidelberg University), soon after his arrival, in 1741. It was under his charge for twenty years, and under Father Ritter's during the twenty-three succeeding years. It was attended by the children of the whole neighbourhood, Protestant as well as Catholic, it being the only one in the place. About the time of the close of the French and Indian War, the school, fo rthe first time, engaged the services of a lay teacher. Contrary to the custom which prevailed in the Colonies generally, the schoolmaster was looked upon as a person of distinction in the little world of Goshenhoppen. Three schoolmasters are mentioned in the parish registers between 1763 and 1796 Henry Fredder, Breitenbach, and John Lawrence Gubernator. The last-named was no doubt the most distinguished of the three. Born at Oppenheim, Germany, in 1735, he served as an officer in the army of the Allies in the Seven Years' War, and came to America during the Revolutionary War. highly educated, and a devoted teacher, he rendered eminent services to the cause of Catholic education in Pennsylvania, during a period of twenty-five years. When, about 1787, the school near Conewago was so far developed as to be able to support a lay teacher, the services of this famous schoolmaster were obtained.

These schools, along with the other schools established and conducted by the Jesuits, have greatly influenced the development of the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. This early zeal for founding parochial schools is typical of the activity of the Germans during all succeeding periods. Wherever they settled in sufficient numbers the schoolhouse soon rose by the side of the parish church, and until the present day they have never ceased to be staunch and unflinching and advocates of the parochial school system.


The natural inclination and aptitude of the Germans for organization issued in the formation of numerous social and religious associations. Besides parochial and local societies there is one organization which exerted a far-reaching influence, namely, the Central-Verein. The wonderful organization of the Centre Party in the Fatherland and the admirable unity shown by the German Catholics during the Kulturkampf, naturally stimulated the German Catholics in the United States to unite their efforts in vast organizations. "Germany is the land of fearless Catholicity, where Catholics have made themselves respected . . . . . There is a vigor in German Catholicity, both political and doctrinal, that should excite our admiration, and be for us a splendid example for imitation. Who can reflect upon the work of the Centre Party, from Mallinckrodt and Windthorst to the late lamented Lieber, without a feeling of pride and satisfaction?" (Father John Conway, S.J.). — There is no doubt that the Central-Verein would never become what it now is without the noble example of Catholic Germany. Founded in 1855, the Central-Verein had for its object, above all, the material aid of its members. But gradually, it broadened its programme, and it became one of the objects of the organization "to stand for Catholic interests in the spirit of the Catholic Church". It has been said, and justly, that perhaps no other Catholic organization in the United States can point to a greater number of positive results, tending to promote the welfare of our fellow-men, than the Central-Verein. It has been a firm support of our youthful and flourishing Church, and has nobly contributed towards its gratifying development. For decades it has unflinchingly laboured in the interest of the parochial school and for the preservation of the German language. Chiefly under its influence were founded the Teachers' Seminary, at St. Francis, and the Leo House, an institution in New York City for Catholic immigrants by which thousands have been rescued from bodily and spiritual perdition. The German American Katholikentage likewise owed their origin to the activity of the men of the Central-Verein, after the model of the famous annual assemblies of the German Catholics, in the Fatherland. The influence of this splendid organization on the formation of the Federation of Catholic Societies cannot be overrated. — "The young organization breathes the spirit which animated the Central-Verein during the past fifty years the programme of the Federation, in its essential parts, is identical with that of the Central-Verein, so that the former helps to further and complete what the vigorous and valiant Germans began." — Together with Bishop McFaul of Trenton, the German Archbishop Messmer, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the prime mover and leading spirit of the Federation.

The press

More than twenty-five weekly papers are published in the United States for the benefit of German Catholics, besides a goodly number of monthly periodicals. The first German Catholic paper, "Der Wahrheitsfreund", was established in 1837, by the Rev. John M. Henni. After an existence of almost seventy years it ceased to appear in 1907. Another weekly which no longer exists, but which for many years rendered essential service to religion, was the "Katholische Kirchenzeitung". Maximilian Oertel, the founder of this weekly, was born at Ansbach, Bavaria, in 1811, and arrived in this country in the beginning of the year 1839, highly commended by the heads of his denomination, to attend Lutheran immigrants in the United States. on 15 March of the following year he was received into the Catholic Church, to which he remained true and faithful throughout the rest of his life, doing excellent service to the Catholic cause as one of the most brilliant editors the Germans ever produced in this country. The "Ohio Waisenfreund", founded in 1873, and edited by the indefatigable Rev. Jos. Jessing, later Monsignore, has a larger circulation than any other Catholic weekly in the country. It has been doing a great amount of good these thirty-five years, the finest monument of its missionary spirit being the "Josephinum", a seminary for the education of candidates for the priesthood. Whereas and English Catholic daily for many years has been a desideratum not yet realized, the German Catholics have two daily papers: "Amerika" (St. Louis), from 1878-1902 under the editorship of the famous Dr. Edward Preuss, and the Buffalo Volksfreund" (Buffalo, New York). In connection with these periodical publications, may be mentioned the "Pastoral-Blatt", for a number of years edited by the Rev. W. Färber, of St. Louis, which existed long before the able English "Ecclesiastical Review" was founded and edited by Dr. Herman J. Heuser.

Mobile and well-integrated

Once in the USA, the Germans initially established themselves as a respected immigrant group, classic “hyphen-Americans” with dual identity. Countless communities developed with schools, churches and clubs, in which the German language and culture was preserved and cultivated. As advanced industrialisation took hold in the USA, German-Americans were among the most established groups of the population, both in farming and among the new blue-collar professions.

Their early presence among the new industries also led to Germans becoming more mobile than virtually any other group. They were less tightly concentrated in individual regions than other immigrants and spread across the country working as foremen in railway construction, for example.

The image of those with German roots changed abruptly upon the outbreak of the First World War. All of a sudden, they came under pressure to cast off their ethnic identity. Full-blown anti-German hysteria meant that the German language and culture were ostracised.

Thus, a process was set in motion which made German immigrants unique among all the major immigrant groups, and which was further fuelled by the Second World War – the almost complete erosion of their original identity. No other group lost its public visibility to quite the extent of the German-Americans during the course of the 20th century.

After the Second World War, the USA remained an important destination country for new groups of German emigrants. These included the fiancées and wives of American soldiers who had been stationed in Germany, as well as an increasing number of academics and highly qualified professionals. They still form the most important group of German immigrants in the USA today. In 2017, around 12,500 Germans emigrated to America.

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