German Influences in Wisconsin Culture

1418 Words6 Pages
Today when a resident of Wisconsin thinks of German culture, many would think of the mass festivals and celebrations that are put on throughout the state. What they are receiving from these celebrations is a small aspect of German influence on this state. In fact, what they did for Wisconsin was much more that what is seen at these festivals. Germans were great farmers, strong workers, and ended up being an important part of the industrialization of Milwaukee which expanded throughout the state. The creation of a German influenced society in Milwaukee and the uniting of the many different types of German immigrants into a strong political and economic culture led to the Americanization of Germans in Wisconsin. Ethnic groups that moved to Wisconsin would settle into certain areas of the state. Germans settled in the southeast portion of the state, in and around the city of Milwaukee. German immigrants were tremendously diverse in their religious and socio-economic backgrounds. They came to Wisconsin from Europe for many reasons. Some came because they wanted religious freedom or to avoid the military draft, while others moved because of the economic opportunities from the Industrial Revolution. The population of German immigrants into Milwaukee exploded. By 1850, sixty percent of Milwaukee’s population was born in Europe, and two-thirds came from Germany and German speaking countries. Germans came in three waves of immigration from different areas of the German lands. The first wave, the years of 1845 to 1860, was from the southwestern lands and came because of bad harvests of farms, overpopulation, and political upheaval. The second wave came between the years of 1865 and 1875 from the northwest lands because wheat prices were falling and it encouraged farmers who were effective grain growers to immigrate to the United States. The third wave,
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