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Minority Groups Exam 2 Ch.5-7

Terms in this set (202)

The German immigrants of the 18th century first settled in Pennsylvania and then in other mid-Atlantic states. The 19th century immigrants predominantly went to the Midwest. There they became homesteaders, preserving their heritage through their schools, churches, newspapers, language, mutual-aid societies, and recreational activities.
The failure in 1848 of an attempted liberal revolution in Germany brought many political refugees to the U.S. Known as the "Forty- Eighters," these Germans settled in large cities of the East and Midwest.
Although more dispersed throughout the country then the Irish, in the cities, they concentrated in "Germantown" communities. Here Germans owned and operated most of the businesses, and German functioned as the principal spoken language. An array of parallel social institutions-- fraternal and mutual-aid societies, newspapers, schools, churches, restaurants, and saloons-- like those of other immigrant groups, aided newly arrived Germans in adjusting to their new country.
Gymnastic societies and cultural centers known as Turnvereine provided libraries, reading rooms, discussion groups, and singing and dramatic groups for German Americans. They became controversial, however, as a result of their radical reform proposals and political activism on behalf of social-welfare legislation, direct popular election of all public officials, tax and tariff reform, abolition of slavery, and their militant opposition to prohibition.
In the "German Triangle"-- the area defined by Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and St. Louis-- the presence of hundreds of thousands of German Americans resulted in many states printing their documents in German and English and also authorizing the use of the German language in public schools for classroom instructions. The use of German in the schools served as additional purpose: It was intended to preserve the whole range of German culture.
The Irish Catholics fared poorly. Their religion, peasant culture, and rebelliousness against England marked them as strangers to the dominant culture and set the stage for the most overt discrimination and hostility any ethnic group thus far had encountered.
By 1790, Irish Catholics accounted for nearly 4% of the almost 3.2 million total population. Their growing numbers became a source of increasing concern to the Federalists. Fearing that "wild Irish" rebels would attempt to turn the U.S. against England and that they would join the Republican Party, the Federalists strongly opposed the incoming "hordes of wild Irishmen."
After 1820, emigration to the U.S. became increasingly essential to the Irish Catholic, who suffered under oppressive British rule in their native land. Failure of the potato crop in successive years and the resulting famine during the late 1840s accelerated the exodus. Approximately 1.2 million Irish emigrated between 1847 and 1854; in the peak year 1851, almost a quarter of a million Irish Catholics arrived.
The immigrants settled mostly in coastal cities. Their living conditions in these overcrowded 'Dublin Districts' were deplorable. With man families living in poorly lighted, poorly heated, and badly ventilated tenements, contagious, deadly diseases were widespread. Moreover, when the immigrants were drawn elsewhere to work in mines or to build canals and railroads, shantytowns sprang up in many locales, their presence serving as a symbol to native-born U.S. residents that an "inferior" people had appeared in their midst.
The Italians settled mainly in urban "Little Italys". Often families from the same village lived together in the same tenement. Earning poor wages as part of the unskilled labor force, the new Italian immigrants moved into rundown residential areas vacated by earlier arrivals whose children and grandchildren had moved up the socioeconomic ladder. Their numbers enabled them to create an Italian community abounding with Italian stores, newspapers, theaters, social clubs, parishes, and schools. Because of their regional and family orientations, however, they at first failed to establish a national social identity.
A variant of the extended family system of southern Italy society was adapted to Italian life in the U.S. Relatives were the principle focus of social life, and non-Italians usually were regarded as outsiders. True interethnic friendships were rare. Individual achievement was not strongly encouraged. More importantly were family honor, group stability, social cohesion, and cooperation. Each member of the family was expected to contribute to the economic well-being of the family unit.
In the U.S., as in Italy, the working class-- especially males-- had little involvement with the church, and schooling was regarded as having limited practical value. Children attended school, for the most part, only as long as the law demanded; then they were sent to work to increase the family income. A few families did not follow this pattern, but most 2nd gen Italian Americans who attended college did so against the wishes of their families.