Week Three Readings

In the diaries from Weitz and the Stille/Krumme family, readers get to examine primary sources that discuss German immigration to the United States during the mid-1800s. These sources display the hardships these parties experienced during the time, but also shed light on positive occurrences for them during this time.

The reading from Weitz chronicles Martin Weitz’s emigration from the impoverished Schotten in Germany and provides the reader with the ability to empathize with Weitz. Throughout the course of his journey, Weitz feels guilt about leaving home, however, he does send home money to help support his family, and keeps his family up to date as to what he is experiencing in his day to day life, especially with political concerns. Weitz also mentions the fact that he would have had an easier time finding work if he spoke English, but overall Weitz ran into a bit of luck when entering the workforce in the United States due to the friends he was able to make upon arriving there.

In the Stille/Krumme reading, there is much more focus on the actual period of emigration, especially on the toll it took upon the population within their town. There is also a variety of people this reading focuses on, and the number of people who’s stories are shared through it is partially a product of the chain migration performed by this family, as well as the amount of times someone changed their mind within the letters. A lot of the focus falls on Wilhelm Stille and the reader gets to see him grow his net worth while creating his own life within the United States. Of course, even as Stille gains his wealth, he is still struck by economic struggles of his own, however, he manages to rise up from that and have a farm and new life for his family in their new home.

Overall, I found Weitz’s story easier to understand and follow, and I mostly credit that to the fact that there was a smaller number of writers for that reading. I found his focus on the political situation within the U.S. very interesting and interesting to see in his letters back to his family. The Stille/Krumme reading was interesting because it appeared to give the reader more background information on what was happening in the area they were emigrating from, and not only in the sense of why they were emigrating, but also for the effects of population density in that area and the thoughts of the family in Germany.

One thought on “Week Three Readings

  1. I also had problems following the Stile and Krumme reading, and for me, it was because the changing perspectives led to shifts in the topic which made it harder to follow. As you said in your post, both of these readings demonstrate a lot of the hardships in migrating, but the authors seem to view positives as well. Both the Weitz and Stile-Krumme reading have the authors saying that, when you find decent work, living in America is better than in their home countries. These texts show aspects of chain migration as well since many of these letters discuss sending money to families and discussing potentially bringing others to the United States as well.

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