German Catholics migrated in large numbers to the United States, throughout the nineteenth century especially during the 1870’s, as a result of the anti-catholic policies of the German government led by Count Otto Von Bismarck (Jones).
These Catholic immigrants set up Church based communities in the rural Midwest. Many of Catholic immigrants to the mid-west continued their agriculture based lifestyle in their new home. Their communities depended upon the farming of wheat, corn and oats. Others set themselves up in small cities such as St. Paul Minnesota (Gjerde).
The German immigrants to Minnesota tended to retain their German cultural and language characteristics. They intermarried mostly with other people of Germanic descent and their Churches tended to use German rather than English as the language of service (Gjerde).
In contrast to the farmlands and small towns of Minnesota, the German immigrants to New York, lived in cluttered and unhealthy German neighborhoods where there was no demarcation of commercial, industrial, residential or agricultural zones (Gjerde).
The Churches these German Catholics attended were shared between, Irish, Italian and Hispanic Catholic communities. The services at these Churches would be in the Lingua Franca; English.
The Germans of New York also intermarried more frequently with Irish, Italian or Hispanic or other white communities (Gjerde).
It is no wonder than the Germans in New York were quicker in casting off their German identity and assimilating into the general ‘White’ population.
The German Immigrants of the Southern States were on the whole opposed to slavery and had generally friendlier relations with the African American slaves and freemen than other people of European ancestry. They were willing to trade with then even when such trade was against the law (Strickland).
For some German immigrants, the relationship with African Americans went beyond trade. These German Americans found no sstigma or loss of prestige in marrying African Americans and a number of such unions have been recorded (Strickland).
However after the civil war, in order to be accepted as ‘White’ in the Southern society, the Germans took up white supremacist and anti-Black politics (Strickland)
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