Danish, Socialist, Chicago, migrate, America, Louis Pio


The vast majority of the 200,000 Danes who migrated to America in the 19th century came as ordinary, anonymous people looking for work and willing to live within the American system. Louis Pio, on the other hand, was wellknown in Denmark, especially to the Copenhagen police and businessmen, and came to America with a mission to reform society in both Europe and America. In America, however, Pio never gained the status that he had held in Denmark and his attempts at social reform were unsuccessful. Yet, in spite of Pia's lackluster life in the United States, scholars, for good reason, have been drawn to his activity in the New World. At the very least, his life provides insights into the process of assimilation, and even though he was not a typical immigrant, he, like other immigrants, made adjustments and altered his goals. His life, from the broader perspective, is also instructive, in that we can learn about the United States and the way a host society of the late 19th century responded to a dynamic intellectual with foreign ideas.