German American

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German Americans are citizens of the United States of ethnic German ancestry and currently form the largest ethnic group in the United States, accounting for 17% of the U.S. population.[1]

The first significant numbers arrived in the 1680s in New York and Pennsylvania. Some eight million German immigrants entered the United States since then. Immigration continued in substantial numbers during the 19th century; the largest number of arrivals came 1840–1900. By 1914 some 5.5 million German immigrants had entered the United States. Between 1920 and 1932 nearly 430,000 more Germans (some may have actually been Jews) came to America many of them veterans of the First World War.[2]

Germans form the largest group of immigrants coming to the U.S., outnumbering the Irish and English.[3] Some arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others simply for the chance to start afresh in the New World. California and Pennsylvania have the largest populations of German origin, with over six million German Americans residing in the two states alone.[4] Over 50 million people in the United States identify German as their ancestry. In the 1990 U.S. census, 58 million Americans claimed to be solely or partially of German descent.[5] In Pennsylvania, English and German were co-official languages until around the time of World War I.[6]

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German American Day

German-American Day is a holiday in the United States, observed annually on October 6. The holiday, which celebrates German American heritage, commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld near the Rhine landed in Philadelphia. These families subsequently founded Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies.[7] Originally celebrated in the nineteenth century, German-American Day died out in World War I as a result of the anti-German sentiment that prevailed at the time. The holiday was revived in 1983.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October 6th as German-American Day to celebrate and honor the 300th anniversary of German American immigration and culture to the United States.[8] On August 6, 1987, Congress approved S.J. Resolution 108, designating October 6, 1987, as German-American Day. It became Public Law 100-104 when President Reagan signed it on August 18. A proclamation (#5719) to this effect was issued October 2, 1987, by President Reagan in a formal ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, at which time the President called on Americans to observe the Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

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References

  1. US demographic census. Retrieved on 2007-04-15.; The 2000 census gives 15.2% or 42.8 million. The 1990 census had 23.3% or 57.9 million.
  2. Waking to Danger: Americans and National Socialist Germany, 1933-1941, By Robert A. Rosenbaum, page 70
  3. Adams, J.Q.; Pearlie Strother-Adams (2001). Dealing with Diversity. Chicago, IL: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. 0-7872-8145-X. 
  4. German Immigrants in the United States
  5. Chronology : The Germans in America (European Reading Room, Library of Congress)
  6. [1] "Some states mandated English as the exclusive language of instruction in the public schools, while Pennsylvania and Ohio in 1839 were first in allowing German as an official alternative, even requiring it on parental demand."
  7. "German-American Day: A Short History,"[2]
  8. Tricentennial Anniversary Year of German Settlement in America (1983-01-20). Retrieved on 2007-07-29.
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