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Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review

Authors

Keywords

Switzerland, Swiss history, European history

Abstract

In his most recent , global history oriented study Jochem Oltmer, the noted German historian of migration concisely summarizes reasons for an actual migration. 1 Poverty was blocking social mobility, and generally absent life prospects or hoped for religious or political liberties in the destination country may also have been involved ; but there were always personal, biographical motives at play in the decision to change one's position for a time or for good and to risk a new and generally difficult start somewhere else . Individual circumstances such as the breakup of a relationship, piled up debts, conflicts with parents , or an impending imprisonment might have been the final reason to leave the old homeland. Such enmeshment of personal and circumstantial life conditions also applies to the so called mass emigration of the long 19th century when some 55 to 60 million Europeans sought their fortune in America.

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