The German-Language Press in America

The German-Language Press in America

The German-Language Press in America

The German-Language Press in America

Excerpt

There is scarcely a nationality or language group in the United States, however small, that has not at some time or other supported its own press, and there have been more foreign-language papers and periodicals published and read in America, in proportion to population, than in the home countries from which their readers came.

The reasons for the development of a foreign-language immigrant press are obvious. In a new country there is novelty and news. The newcomer wants to know what is going on in the strange neighborhood in which he has decided to make his home, and he can learn about it most easily in a language with which he is familiar. National consciousness usually is accentuated by immigration. This is especially true of political refugees and of the suppressed nationalities of Europe. The sense of national consciousness is emphasized by the mere fact of living in an unfamiliar environment; and in a land without censors or official orthodoxies, even the smallest nationality group enjoys complete freedom of expression. Until World War I the foreign-language press was allowed to go its way virtually without government regulation, restriction, or concern. General laws of libel, slander, and obscenity, and postal regulations which barred certain printed matter from the mails, applied to all publications, but in the case of foreign-language newspapers they would have been especially difficult to apply, for relatively few Americans in public life could read the . . .

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