Motivations and Aspirations - From Repression to Freedom

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Tijdschriftillustratie (Magazine Illustration)

Tijdschriftillustratie (Magazine Illustration) Der Altmarkt in Dresden während des Aufstandes Mai 1849. (The Old Market Square in Dresden during the uprising in May 1849) Greetings Card 'Men and Women of Mark' newspaper cuttings album

Motivations and Aspirations - From Repression to Freedom

Although economic motivations played a key role in an individual’s decision to leave for the United States other motivations could also be involved. For some, migration was merely an urge for freedom. In many European countries, governments were becoming more and more involved in their peoples’ daily lives, forming state organised churches, introducing compulsory military service and demanding higher taxes. This sometimes led to protests, and social upheaval. In the turbulent 19th century, revolutionary winds swept across Europe. Many of those revolutionaries were inspired by the liberal ideals and values of the American system. When some of these revolutions failed, many escaped Europe, seeking their much-desired freedom in America. 
The pressure of governments did not only lead to political tensions, but also to religious or ethnic conflicts. For some minorities, life became harder and harder, resulting in harassment and discrimination. Some groups, like Dutch protestant denominations, Catholics in Ireland or Danish Mormons, were attracted to the freedom of religion offered in America, so they left. Other minorities were treated even more harshly, with violence, repression and persecution. This was the case with the millions of Eastern European Jews, who tried to escape the anti-Semitism and the violence of the pogroms. The United States, with its religious tolerance, was their main destination.

←
Introduction
 
Land of Hope and Dreams
 
Leaving Europe
 
From Repression to Freedom
 
A country open to immigrants
 
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