Honors College Thesis

 

Germans and the Union: Immigrants' Struggle Against Assimilation in the Civil War Era Public Deposited

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  • The United States of America is founded upon immigration, and Germans are one of the first European ethnic groups to settle en masse in North America. The common narrative of immigration is that of the “melting pot”; characterized by assimilation of cultures into one ‘super’ culture. German immigration has often been categorized under the “melting pot” theory, however, the German population of the 1800s turns out to be more autonomous and sovereign than the taught narrative of immigrants. Nativism pervades US immigration history. Prejudicial attacks and forced assimilation on incoming people, fostered by the hatred of the “Other”, is all too common in American history. Through evidence found in journals, diaries, and newspapers Germans resisted Americanization and instead, strengthened the bonds of their Germanness. This changes the immigrant narrative from one of assimilation, to one of choice.
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