Carl Antonsen


Danish immigrants, language, economic status


To begin this little essay, which can only amount to a few scattered remarks because of its place and its general nature, I want to repeat some of what I was able to say in a speech in Aarhus on Danish-American Day on July 4, 1909:

“Speaking as I undoubtedly am on this occasion to those whose longing to travel has been or soon will be focused on America; I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the United States is not a paradise, not the utopia about which C.H. Winther and H.C. Andersen sang. America is the Promised Land only for those who make it that themselves by means of hard, disciplined, and patient work. There are opportunities in America that a Dane will not find at home, but on the other hand there are difficulties that are hard to imagine for those who have not experienced them. America is no land for those whose willpower is weak. For that reason, I cannot caution strongly enough against transplanting young people of weak character from Danish to American soil. Only where there exists a strong desire to leave and a strong will to overcome all obstacles, the will to start from scratch, only then should there be talk about immigration.”