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History of German-American Relations >
1683-1900 - History and Immigration

German-American Relations Timeline - 1683-1900 1901-1939 1939-1945 1945-1955 1956-1988 1989-1994 1994-2000 2001-
1683-1900 1901-1939 1939-1945 1945-1955 1956-1988 1989-1994 1994-2000 2001
Germans in America | The German Language in the United States | German-American Relations

What kind of information materials are available?
CD: Texts available on CD version.Texts available in multiple languages.

Card on the Tricentennial Anniversary of German Settlers in America, 1983 CD
Chronology of Germans in America CD
Emigration to North America
First German at Jamestown
German-American Biographies
German-American History & Heritage
The German-Americans: An Ethnic Experience
German Immigrant Painters
The Germans in America
Germans in the U.S (Religious Groups).
Germantown, PA
Max Kade German-American Center
Mennonites (Catholic Encyclopedia)
The 1848ers
Research Center German Emigrants in the USA
Seven Million Germans Were Once Foreigners
Why Germans Left Home

Exhibits - Digital Images
Auswandererkarte nach Amerika, 1853
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
German Farm at Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia
The Germans in America
"Schöne Neue Welt - Rheinländer erobern Amerika"
Shaping the Circle German-Americans in Indianapolis: 1840-1918
Virtual Walking Tour of German-American Sites in Washington, DC

German-Born Population, 1850-1990
Historical U.S. Census Browser
Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990
The 1990 Census: German-Americans

Teacher Resources
German-American Internet Scavenger Hunt
German Immigrants: Their Contributions to the Upper Midwest
Teacher's Guide to Celebrate German-American Day, October 6
German Immigrant Culture in America

Link Lists
German-American Historic Sites and Museums
German-American Libraries and Archives
German-American Studies at the University of Cincinnati
IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center

Tricentennial of the First German Settlers in America
Postal Commemorative Society, 1983. German Immigration Tricentennial: First German Settlers Land in America

German immigration began in the 17th century and continued into the late 19th century at a rate exceeding that of any other country. Working with William Penn, Franz Daniel Pastorius established "Germantown" near Philadelphia in 1683. German immigrants in this early period came from the states of Pfalz, Baden, Wuerttemberg, Hesse, and the bishoprics of Cologne, Osnabruck, Muenster, and Mainz.

At the beginning of the 18th century, economic problems in Germany brought a new wave of immigrants. Nearly one million German immigrants entered the United States in the 1850s; this included thousands of refugees from the 1848 revolutions in Europe. In these later phases of German immigration, newcomers joined established settlers. This phenomenon of "chain migration" strengthened the already existing German regions in the United States. Today, approximately 58 million Americans claim German ancestry. They are most numerous in California, followed by Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas. The most dense German-American populations are in the "German belt" -- Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Politics & Government
German-American political participation was more focused on involvement in the labor movement than in government. Germans in America had a strong influence on the labor movement in the United States. Labor union membership enabled German immigrants to improve working conditions and to integrate in American society as a whole. Originally strong in such occupations as baking, carpentry, and brewing, they were also laborers, farmers, musicians, and merchants.

The first and most prominent German figure in American politics was Carl Schurz. He was influential in the election of Abraham Lincoln, served as ambassador to Spain, became a general in the Civil War, later was elected U.S. senator from Missouri, and finally was appointed Secretary of the Interior under President Rutherford Hayes.

Foreign Relations
Relations between the United States and Germany in the 19th century focused chiefly on immigration and commerce. On the whole, the main interest of the United States was to maintain the continental equilibrium of power -- political relations were of secondary importance. The United States was often represented only indirectly through the diplomacy of Great Britain and France. After 1871, as a unified Germany became a more dominant power in European politics, the relationship encountered some frictions as a result of naval and economic rivalries.

See also:
About the USA > History of the United States
About the USA > German-Americans - Genealogy

Original Documents
American Memory Documents on German-American History
America's Most German-American City
Ferner thue ich euch zu wissen...
German Achievements in America
Presidential Proclamation on German-American Day, Clinton, 1995 CD
Treaty between the King of Prussia and the U.S.A., 1786 CD
 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1799 CD
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, 1828 CD


John Quincy Adams, U.S. President (1825-29)
Benjamin Franklin, Scientist and Statesman | Deutsch
Nathanael Greene, General in Revolutionary War
Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President (1801-09) |  Deutsch
Alexander Hamilton, Statesman

Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President (1877-81)
Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President (1861-65) |  Deutsch
Carl Schurz, Politician and Journalist |  Deutsch
Baron von Steuben, General in Revolutionary War Deutsch
George Washington, U.S. President (1789-97)  | Deutsch

Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
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Updated: June 2008