With all this talk today about the immigration bill in the Senate, it’s important to remember that America has always been sold to the immigrant as some dream place: But according to Hans Brandt, a well-educated Norwegian who immigrated here in the 1800’s…maybe they should think again:
“I advise the student, whether of law, theology, or medicine, against going to America. I know that Danish, German, and even Norwegian students have had a hard time making a living, and even competent graduates have had to take undignified jobs as bartenders. The seaport towns and the larger cities are everywhere so crowded that workers and artisans are often unemployed. The only one I advise to come here is the farmer, although to the one who is wealthy and making a good living in his native country, he should stay there, for he will have too great difficulties and wish the he were back home again. Everything goes against him. Language difficulties bother him, he gets into wild forests or vast prairies where he often has three to seven miles to his nearest neighbor. There is no church. To hire laborers to work on the farm is very expensive, and because of this and the low prices on grain, it is often difficult to make a profit on the large farms. I prefer Wisconsin to Illinois. The water is bad in Illinois and the best areas have been bought up by speculators.”
Hans went on to complain about the Norwegian colony twenty miles from Milwaukee, who had no religion and were selfish and cruel to many that came around, including him.
“For months now I practiced as a doctor among these people but I should have starved to death if I had stayed there, since they would not even pay for the medicine.”
So, Hans, who was a Norwegian, judged his own native countrymen in America as ignorant. He said that everyone thought they could find a job in their own field, but when they got here, they ended up doing manual labor.
I love email: I got this today, and…well, enjoy. (Thanks to J.R.)