Steven Nolt's Approach to the Immigrant Story in the Early Republic

Decent Essays
Steven Nolt takes a different approach the immigrant story during the early Republic. Nolt argues that German immigrants were in fact the first true immigrants of the United States because they were the first to struggle culturally to a new country. The immigrants before them were border countries to England, such as the Irish and Scottish. These groups had minimal problems fitting in because they were so similar. The Germans on the other hand had quite a bit more difficulty adapting because their first language was not English and their cultures were drastically different than their new neighbors. Nolt focuses on a different era than most historians, which gives great insight into the struggle and times. Instead of focusing on the…show more content…
Americans of all ethnicities were struggling to fit in to this new idea of being American. The German Lutherans began to resemble American Protestants to ease their way into the local community. Germans would defend their rights just as the other immigrants would. Unsure whether they were part of this new country and ideal yet or still just immigrants biding their time until citizenship. One struggle that Nolt faces in Foreigns in Their Own Land would be that he doesn’t tie together the change from peasant republicanism from the Old World to the New World American ideals. One question Nolt could have discussed would be why peasant ideals were republican and how did that convert to the new American thoughts. One side that Nolt points out would be that the Germans saw the separation of church and state a way for them to keep their German heritage when it comes to church. The Lutherans wanted to keep German speaking worship and since there was a freedom of religion they were allowed to. Nolt showcases the necessity of ethnicity in the unification of Lutheran and Reformed. The new generations coming into the waves of religion made Lutherans and Reformed focused on not only what someone believed but their ethnicity as well. This would be so that their culture thrived even though their religion had begun to fall into the American norm of evangelicalism. This rise of
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