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My name is Addler and I am a German immigrant to the United States. I am twenty years old and left my homeland for economic opportunity. My father passed and my brother is staying home to provide for my mother. Many other Germans left for religious persecution, war-like tendencies, and political and social reasoning. After the Napoleonic Wars ended, the industry for military collapsed and the economy began failing in 1815 and didn't improve, so I left in 1872, following the footsteps of relatives that moved in the 1820s.
In April of 1872, I rode the McCorbell line to the port in Philadelphia. The ship contained about 6,000 passengers and I rode steerage to save money for my new life. Luckily, I did not get ill on the one month voyage, unlike so many of the others. After a couple of days on the Philadelphia Ellis Island, I was finally an American.
I settled in with my aunt, uncle, and five cousins in what was considered an American big city (Germantown), but did not compare to the unavailability of living space back in Berlin. I couldn't believe the food and job availability, there was no time to waste! My new life was here.
Germantown is located just outside Philadelphia. My strong education background and ability to speak English well, gave me the opportunity to be a highly successful, skilled tradesman in the shoe making business with my uncle at his own shop. Many Germans, like myself, were high middle class in America, even the ones that didn't speak English well, because of how many Germans settled together. Germans, as a whole, were highly educated and economically successful without much burden of prejudice.
Although it was named Germantown, there were still quite a number of Irish settling in the area. The Irish, as a whole, were less educated and many were working low wage factory jobs. The less fortunate became indentured servants, which anyone could be with a low income. Multiple families lived in one living space and men found dangerous jobs in and out of the city to provide for their families.
After a couple of years working for my uncle, I transitioned into a well-rounded, skilled artisan and business man. I was financially stable enough for my own shop, living area, and could send money back home to my brothers and mother who seemed to be struggling to hold jobs. They did not want to move to America with me and be so far from home, but I have found my new home.
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