immigrants, culture, community


As contemporaries and historians noted, the development of the ethnic American depended upon a unique blend of two cultures. This study has illustrated that fact, beginning with the sources of immigration. We found that immigration resulted from a complex interplay of European and American factors, which influenced not only the immigrant and his community, but the old culture as well. For example, the existence of plentiful American farmland led to an immigration to American farms. As American produce then rose in volume, more was exported to Europe, contributing to an agricultural crisis in Denmark. That in turn generated a new supply of Danish immigrants, many of whom became American farmers. The introduction also suggested the importance of impressions about a country or a people. Danish impressions about America contributed to the increasing flow of immigrants and their concentration in the Midwest. Native impressions about Danes were equally important and in one sense, self-fulfilling. Because Americans assumed that Danes were americanized, they never isolated the Danish immigrants. The greater contact with Americans insured that the Danes americanized rapidly, just as everyone said. This brief sketch hardly begins to explain the whys and hows of Danish-American life. But it suggests where answers might lie. As long as there are DanishAmericans, they must be viewed as products of both Denmark and America, of Danish perceptions about America and American impressions of Denmark. Such external factors as technological change and urban growth also contributed to the evolution of the Danish-American.