Norwegian Immigration to America in the 19th century

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					Norwegian Immigration to
America in the 19th century

                By Silje Moen and Silje R. Paulsen.
                     Institute of Teaching and
                 Amherst, Massachusetts, 2009.
                Why this topic?
• It is a part of our English curriculum:
  “know about important features of history (and
  geography) in the US“ (our translation).
• It is an important part of our national history.
• Some of the students have relatives who emigrated to
• We think it is an interesting topic, that will capture and
  motivate the students.
• The students are 10th
  graders, age 15-16

• Homogenous group

• The time frame we have
  set is:
   – four weeks
   – three lessons a week
   – 45 minutes per lesson
        Objectives and goals
Learn about Norwegian
immigration to America in
the 19th century

– Who left?
– Why did they leave?
– The journey over the
– Ellis Island
– Where did they go?
– Daily life for the immigrants
                  Lesson Plan
• Starting point: A letter from America.
• Brainstorming in class about the subject immigration to
• Introduction to the topic through PowerPoint led by the
• Reading packet compiled from reading material in the
  textbook and handouts from teacher.
• Visiting Ellis Island online:
  Students will have to find answers to questions prepared
  by teacher.
                   …lesson plan continued

• Watch documentary “Forgotten Ellis Island” with group
  discussion afterwards.
• Visit from students’ relatives with first hand
  information/personal account (if possible).
• Dramatization: act out a scene from any part of the
  immigrant experience.
• Written work: Choose one of the written assignments
  and hand in for evaluation.

• This will cover our four basic skills of reading,
  writing, listening and ICT in addition to reading
  graphs and timelines.
Norwegian Immigration to
America in the 19th century
           Historical background
• Between 1825 and 1925 about
  800.000 Norwegians
  emigrated to America.
• The first organized ship that
  left Norway for America was
  called the “Restauration”.
• It left Stavanger on July 4th,
• The ship was 18 m long with
  only 1 m2 for each of the 52
• The next organized trip was
  not until 1836 and had 110
                    Who left?
• Family units with many
  children from rural areas.
• More men than women.
• From the 1860s; younger,
  unmarried individuals.
• Later on; men from the
• All social classes were
  represented, but people
  from the lower classes
  were in majority.
           Why did they leave?
• Push:                      • Pull:
  - Religious freedom.       - “Land of opportunity and
  - Economical reasons.         freedom”.
  - Social reasons.          - The Homestead Act,
  - Political reasons.          1862.
  - Increasing population.   - Adventure.
                             - Family reunions.
                             - Easier and cheaper
                             - “America letters”.
                             - Emigrant agents and ads.
   The journey over the Atlantic
• In the beginning the journey
  lasted for three months.
• The conditions were rough.
• Many got sick and a few even
• They had to bring their own
  food, but water and wood was
  included in the price.
• The conditions improved
  dramatically over the years.
• From sail to steam.
             Statue of Liberty

”Give me your tired, your
poor, your huddled
masses yearning to
breathe free, the
wretched refuse of your
teeming shore, send
these, the homeless,
tempest-tossed to me, I
lift my lamp beside the
golden door!”
Emma Lazarus - 1888
  The first American Experience
• Castle Garden, the first immigration station, received 12
  million immigrants from 1820 through 1891.
• Over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestors to
  this early immigration period.
• Ellis Island opened January 1st 1892 and is now the
  most famous immigrant station. Today it is a museum.
• About 12 million went through the gates of Ellis Island in
  the period between 1892 and 1924.
• Going through Ellis Island could be both an exciting,
  scary and difficult experience.
• It closed for good in 1954.
Ellis Island
Ellis Island today
Isle of Hope – Isle of Tears
  Isle of Hope and Isle of Tears
• Everyone who came to        • …but not everybody
  Ellis Island were hoping      made it through,
  for a better life in          approximately 2% were
  America…                      excluded from entry.
• First and second class      • …while third and
  passengers passed in a        steerage passengers had
  matter of hours and had a     bigger problems passing
  good experience…              through the gates.
• 355 babies were born in     • …3500 people died, 1400
  Ellis Island but…             of them children.
Where did they settle?
         Where did they settle continued…

• Early Norwegian settlements were in
  Pennsylvania and Illinois, but moved
  westward into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and
  the Dakotas.
• Later waves of Norwegian immigration
  went to the Western states such as
  Washington and Oregon, and Utah.
Norwegian Americans in 2000
Daily life of the immigrants
            Useful links

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