German Immigrants and their Religions

Land of religious freedom

Many of the first German settlers had fled their homeland because they had been prosecuted for their religion. This was not to be repeated. The Bill of Rights of 1789 stipulated that people must be able to practice their religion in the USA under any circumstances without interference from the state.

immigrants arriving in new york
Welcome to the land of religious freedom

What religions did German immigrants bring to America?

The arriving German immigrants were Catholics, Protestant, Lutherans, Swiss Mennonites, Baptist Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, Moravians, Amish, Jews, and Waldensians as well as freethinkers.

In God we trust

Americans' faith in God can be found on every dollar bill. One in two people visit a house of worship every week. Religion is an integral part of society in the United States.

Since the times of the American Civil War in the mid-19th century, coins with this slogan began to be minted. In 1957, the U.S. Congress decided not only to print the phrase on every bill, but to make it the official national motto.

Freedom to choose

Among the Germans who immigrated to the U.S. there were many freethinkers or agnostics. These men and women considered themselves independent of any religious group. They were devoted to the abolitionist movement and awakened the conscience of the American people to the evils of slavery.

North America has always been a prolific soil for developing new religions. The Mormons and the Christian Science Church are the best known faith communities to have emerged in the U.S.

Because of its tradition of non-interference in religious affairs, the United States also provided a refuge for many smaller faith communities from Europe.

Some descendants of German immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania and surrounding states live in their own Amish communities.

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