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Assignment: Ethnic Groups and Discrimination: German Americans

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Assignment: Ethnic Groups and Discrimination: German Americans
ETH 125

German Americans comprise about 17% of the American population. This is approximately 15 million Americans. German Americans can be found everywhere in the United States but the strongest concentrations of this group can be found in California, Texas and Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and The Dakotas. These states have in many cases over one third of their population listed as German American. As a group German Americans have enriched the American culture and become a common ancestral designation.
The largest numbers of Germans migrated between the 1680s to 1760s, with two major waves of German colonists in 1714 and 1717 (Conzen, 1980). Most of these immigrants came to America seeking opportunity as central Europe became difficult to farm and own land. Many also came to escape religious persecution. Most of these immigrants came willingly and paid for their travel as indentured servants.
Unlike other groups which received large amounts of resistance from native Americans, German Americans immigrated before urbanization fully began encompassing America. As a result many early immigrants owned farms and become merchants. German Americans would not experience resistance until the advent of world war I. During the fever of World War I, German Americans began to hide their ethnicity by speaking German in private. Many were imprisoned for spying and were ostracized by the community. As a result of the war time tension, many areas which were known as Germanias fell apart and the communities of Germans began to be assimilated into the newly emerging American culture. For instance, German speaking businesses became English speaking after the War. German parochial schools were closed and English was enforced as a first language (Conzen, 1980).
Sadly, World War II would...

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