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Norwegian Essay

978 words - 4 pages

Ethnography Paper
Norwegian Background

     During the 1800’s, a big part of the Norwegian immigrants were families from the rural areas in Norway. Few single people did emigrate from Norway during this time as well; more of them were men then women. Later on in the 1800’s more and more people that were immigrating to the United States were single men from cities in Norway. Every single person however, always had different reason for going to the United States.
     There were many different reasons for why so many Norwegians left their country to move to the United States. Often time’s people had more then one reason why they decided to leave. A lot of the early settlers were farmers, so they would often leave to find land in the U.S., and some of them to Minnesota. One thing that helped open up land for new settlers was the Homestead Act of 1862. This Act would give new settlers land as long as they promised to farm and live on the land for five years.
     There was also a big difference between Norway and America politically and socially, this also lured in the immigrants to move to the United States. The Norwegians were forced to live under a very strict social system. They were expected to show signs of respect, in public, to the people who were in the upper class. When they found out that this kind of stuff didn’t go on in the U.S., it also appealed the Norwegians to move to America. As far as politically America was a land of freedom and new opportunities. The Norwegians liked that the U.S. was a republic and that the people got to elect certain political officials to put in power. In Norway only an elite group of people were allowed to vote for political powers. The possibility of being able to vote was very appealing to the Norwegians.
     A steady increasing population in Norway also forced a lot of the Norwegians to move to America. Even though there was a higher population, there were not as many jobs for people because a lot of the work was now being done by machines rather than humans. There was also very little land that could be farmed available, much of the land was mountains and trees. People that did own farmland often times faced crop failures and foreclosures of their farm. This is why many people went to America to seek new jobs and land to farm.
     Many of the first Norwegian Settlements were in the eastern Mid-West. But they would eventually move westward in Minnesota. There the land was inexpensive, and there was a lot available because of all the treaties made with the Native Americans. Some of the Norwegians that were settled in Minnesota persuaded others to come there by paying for their way to get to the U.S. The Norwegian settlements in Minnesota occurred all over the state. Most of them were in the southeast though. The biggest three settlements were...

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