Revolutionary War, German Speakers, immigrants


In 1768, Joseph II, afraid oflosing manpower and wealth within his own country, issued a decree forbidding his people to immigrate to lands outside the Holy Roman Empire. This effort to stem the tide of the American Auswanderung showed little result, as the annual number of German speaking emigrants to the New World remained in the thousands until 1775. At this time, the relationship between Great Britain and her subjects across the Atlantic was rapidly deteriorating. Although the reasons for this decay are numerous and varied, many British colonists resented the actions of the mother country. The end result, of course, was the Revolutionary War and the official establishment of the United States of America. However, with German speakers arriving in America since 1607, the British colonies were clearly not all British. How did these immigrants react to the clash between their adoptive country and her distant ruler?