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Thread: The German Americans: An Ethnic Experience

  1. #11
    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladstone
    In a broader sense even those English Jamestown settlers were Germanic being the descendents of the Anglo-Saxons who came from the German forest. That would be interesting if someone could adequately explain (in a thread) why powerful elements of the English seemed to have turned against and want to forget their roots. Excessive self-centerdness and pride?
    Cultural rift and warfare between England and Scotland and the rest of Europe produced a seperate identity. That's my theory.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Post German America

    Gladstone, the answer to your question can be summed up in one word, "Norman". The Normans made everything Anglo-Saxon, that is evrything Germanic, obscene. They made us ashamed of ourselves. This happened in 1066, so by the early 1600s, this feeling was engrained in Colonial thought.

    As an American, please believe me, we always wanted more German immigrants. We always wanted more from all the countries of Northern Europe. English-Americans brought with them a dislike of the Irish which caused problems after the 1848 potato famine. Nobody wanted the Jews, ever, and that is the truth. We just couldn't find legal grounds to stop them. Give the "founding fathers" credit for this one, at least.

    Germans were always sought because they were willing to work hard and were willing and able to learn English and blend after one generation. The same can be said of the other ethnic groups mentioned. They all became Americans upon landing here. Germans in Europe have never forgiven us for this but this is how it is. When you come here, it must be with a 100% commitment. This is exactly the problem with Mexicans. With them, there is nothing---they remain Mexican.

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    Senior Member Gladstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
    Gladstone, the answer to your question can be summed up in one word, "Norman". The Normans made everything Anglo-Saxon, that is evrything Germanic, obscene. They made us ashamed of ourselves. This happened in 1066, so by the early 1600s, this feeling was engrained in Colonial thought.
    That is interesting, particularly as the Normans were in a sense not too distant relatives of the Anglo-Saxons (ie the Normans were Germanics). You have read writings which support this presumably? (If so I would be curious as to any links you might have if it's on the net)
    Turman found a copy of The Graduate, and thought highly enough of the story that he made a movie he considered to be 90-percent faithful to the book.

    But Turman and director Mike Nichols made one key adaptation, changing the Braddocks from WASP-y blonde characters into a dark-haired, more ethnic-looking family.

    From NPR's Present at the Creation

    http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/graduate/

    http://www.norcalmovies.com/TheGraduate/tg11.jpg

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Germans in America

    I think this is all true, but it does beg the question as to why a predominantly German nation went to war with Germany twice in the 20th century with disasterous results for the Germans.
    This may throw some light on the effects of acculturation.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Post Re: Germans in America

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordhammer

    Adapted from: The German Americans: An Ethnic Experience
    by LaVern J. Rippley and Eberhard Reichmann


    1776 The Great American Revolution / Braunschweiger and Hessian troops land in Quebec (and introduce the decorated Christmas tree to North America); more than 10,000 remained in America
    Very interesting, for sure.

    One of my direct forbearers was one of the 10,000 'Hessians' mentioned above. He actually came from Hildesheim and was in the Brunswick regiment.

    I can only imagine the amazing opportunity it must have been for a poor, lower class German & life-long professional soldier, with little chance of advancing in society at home, to actually have the ability to acquire his own land and build his own homestead and farm here in the New World. The pull and allure of this must have been great as this is exactly what he did.

    He settled in Lexington, NY in the Catskill Mountains where the Angle (Engleke) farm still stands today.

    Here are a pic of the house and its setting.

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    Post Re: German America

    America is much less "British" than Commonwealth countries. This is because of the extensive German immigration. Americans are so quick to forget their roots but they still drink German-like beer and eat German-like sausages in comparison to the English. As a matter of fact, there was a debate in this country during the Constitutional Convention as to which language would be "American". We had a sizeable population of Germans in Pennsylvania (Penn's forest from a Slavic word) and a sizeable population of Dutch in New York. German vs. Engish was debated at that time. German was taken seriously as our national language.

    Let me tell you about "American English". My great-grandfather had a Ph.D. but my Grandfather was raised on the Oklahama frontier as a peasant. His father's father's father came from Germany. Yet my Grandfather, who had a third grade education, once asked me on a visit there in Oklahoma, if he had made the coffee too "stark" (strong). He could count in German. He didn't learn this in school. It was a carry-over from the German immigration of about 1848. But people in Oklahoma understood this talk. Today, in rural America, there are still echos of the German lanugage in the peasant people.

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    Post Re: German America

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
    ...(h)is father's father's father came from Germany.
    Correct me if my calculations are wrong, but that makes you, what - sixth generation German-American. I'm curious – what type of activities do you (and all other x generation "euro"-americans in the States) participate in, in order to maintain a connection to your cultural heritage? As an example - California has a good number of German(German/American) organizations. Do you take part in any such ethnic (for lack of a better term) activities or functions? Support ethnic markets, butchers, importers, newspapers, etc..?

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    Senior Member Vestmannr's Avatar
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    Post Re: German America

    The Oktoberfest in Tulsa, OK is ranked #5 in the world, or so they told me there last year. They still play the traditional music, which many other Oktoberfest's do not. German restaurants are not so common, but do well across Texas and Oklahoma. The beer culture here is entirely German (I'm particularly a fan of Shiner, TX brewery.) Sausage factories and butchers are common, and most often are German. I've found the same to be true in Wisconsin. I dont see German language newspapers so much, and the only community I recall offhand is at Ft. Hood, TX. Oklahoma City has one good German bakery, run by a man who was apprenticed in Berlin after WWII, before moving to Oklahoma City to set up a bakery. When driving through, I make it a point to stop and buy as my mother worked their at her first job. Bakeries in America are often German run. My grandmother only speaks a few phrases of Plattsdeutsch, and their German identity was hurt very much by WWI and WWII (mostly by WWI). However, many things did not change. I find most of my German ancestors who came to America before the late 1800s, Anglicized their names as well. It is difficult to find anyone in America in the West or South, who if they are English, Scots, Irish descent.. are not also German descent. Other than that: loyalty to German brands is the only other thing I could note: Volkswagen, Haribo, etc. I dont think German culture and identity was ever threatened as much as Irish was in the Northern states, so it is not overly emphasized. IOW, Americans of German descent have no need to prove their Germanity.

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    Senior Member Annikaspapa's Avatar
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    Post Re: German America

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontiersman
    I dont see German language newspapers so much...
    For those who might be interested in German language publications in the USA: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa071299b.htm

  10. #20
    Senior Member JoeDas's Avatar
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    Thumbs Up Germans in America: A brief study

    A Brief Study of Germans in America and German Immigration to America

    In the year 1800, there were 450,000 Germans in America. There were 5 million total Americans that year, so Germans represented 9% of the total American population in those days. Slaves accounted for 18% of the population; so the free population was about 4.1 million. Germans represented 11% of free population.
    A few decades later, Germans would start immigrating to America in large numbers:

    German Immigration to America by decade (out of the total German population that decade; percent of the total population that emigrated to America)
    1830s......175,000 (30 million; 0.6%)
    1840s......400,000 (33 million; 1.2%)
    1850s......900,000 (35 million; 2.5%)
    1860s......800,000 (38 million; 2.1%)
    1870s......750,000 (42 million; 1.8%)
    1880s...1,500,000 (45 million; 3.3%)
    1890s......550,000 (49 million; 1.2%)
    1900s......400,000 (57 million; 0.7%)
    1910s......200,000 (65 million; 0.3%)
    Total.....5,675,000

    Total number of persons in America today who are of German descent: 58 million. Of these 58 million, 23 million are only of German descent; 22.5 million are majority German descent (“first ancestry”); 12.5 million are minority German descent (“second ancestry”). Germans are the largest ethnic group in the United States. They represent 20% of the total American population, and nearly 30% of the White population.

    Where the German-Americans Live
    Germans represent a majority of the total population of 5 states (Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota). Germans represent between 1/3rd and one half of the population of 10 states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon). Germans represent between 1/4th and 1/3rd of the population of 9 states (Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Idaho, Washington state, Arizona, Alaska). Therefore, Germans represent at least 1/4th of the population of 24 states. Germans represent at least 15% of the population in every state except for the New England states and the Deep South.

    Look at these maps to get a better idea of where the German-Americans live:



    The third map shows every county in the United States. It shows the number of persons of German descent in that county per 1000 population.

    In-Depth breakdown of persons of German descent
    There are 58 million persons of German-descent in America. Approximately 4 million are descended from the Germans that were already in America by 1800. (2 million of these are only of German descent; 1 million are majority German descent; 1 million are minority German descent). 53 million of the persons with German ancestry are descended from the German immigrants that arrived between the 1840s and WWI. Approximately 1 million persons who claim German descent were either born in Germany or are the descendants of Germans who arrived after WWI.

    Biggest Supplier of Immigrants
    Germany was the biggest supplier of immigrants to America of any country in Europe. Between 1820 and 1920, there were 30 million European immigrants that came to America. Nearly 5.7 million of them were Germans. Therefore nearly 20% of all European immigrants that came to America between 1820 and 1920 were Germans.
    Last edited by JoeDas; Friday, August 6th, 2004 at 06:56 AM.
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