German Immigration in 1848
Nearly 6 million Germans came to the United States between 1820 and the onset of World War I in 1914. The largest wave arrived after the Revolutions of 1848, in which the 39 German states sought democracy and increased political freedoms. Nicknamed the “Forty-Eighters,” these immigrants were typically professionals, journalists, and politicians. They came to the United States with money—an advantage over most European immigrants of the 19th century, which gave them the option to migrate further west. While some remained on the East Coast, many chose to settle on farms in the Midwest, where they hoped to return to a more simple life. By 1900, the cities of Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and St. Louis boasted high numbers of German Americans.