Danish Americans (Multicultural America:)
The year of Erik Christian Jensens birth, 1870, was a time of major economic change in Denmark. The economy, shifting from general agriculture to specialized dairy and pork production and industrialization, was unable to absorb the country's rapid population growth. Work opportunities were clearly limited. A 1939 interview with Jensen highlighted the difficulties and challenges facing Danish immigrants seeking employment in the United States.
Danish immigration to the United States began to escalate after 1860, peaking in the early 1880s. The Mormon Church recruited a large number of Danes to settle in Utah, while many others sought agricultural opportunities in the Midwest. By the 1890s ten percent of the Danish population had emigrated out of the country seeking employment, with most headed primarily to the United States. Danish immigrants increasingly were single, journeying outside the family context. Among those immigrants in 1893 was Erik, enticed by a friend who earlier immigrated. Erik found work in a wire mill in Worcester, Massachusetts.
After four years in the United States, Erik briefly returned to Denmark to marry and bring his new bride back to the States. When the U.S. economy worsened, Jensen still speaking little English, found work on a farm and began a bicycle repair service as a second job. Carrying newly gained skills with him, Erik...
(The entire section is 4133 words.)
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