Letters from the Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914

Letters from the Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914

Letters from the Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914

Letters from the Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914

Excerpt

We are, as President John F. Kennedy and others have reminded us, a nation of immigrants. In 1800 the United States had a population of only 5.3 million, approximately the same as that of Sweden a century later. During the next century and a half more than 35 million immigrants came to these shores. Of these, some 1.2 million were Swedes, the overwhelming majority of whom arrived between 1840 and 1914, the period covered by this book. In absolute numbers Sweden ranks seventh among the countries of origin for immigrants to the United States and first among the Scandinavian lands. Relative to total population, only Ireland and Norway have experienced heavier emigration. The American census of 1930 showed the record number of 1,562,703 persons born in Sweden or in the United States of Swedishborn parents, out of a total population of 122,775,046. If the Swedish element forms only a small part of the total American population, it has nevertheless played a proud and distinctive part in the history of the nation. Emigration has meanwhile had a profound impact upon Sweden: by 1910, it was estimated, one out of every five Swedes was in America. It is a rare family in Sweden that does not have relatives across the Atlantic. Innumerable grass-roots contacts have tied the two countries together.

Some Swedes came to America before 1840 and some after 1914. It is . . .

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