Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Hal Rothman

Number of Pages



This study discusses the experiences and the acculturation process of German immigrants in Arizona from the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 to World War I. German immigrants with distinct regional identities, Bavarians, Badeners, Wuerttembergers, Rhinelanders, and Prussians, made the transition to a regional New World identity and became Arizonans. Even though their history is ultimately the story of acculturation to a dominant society, it is the process that is important. Based on the analysis of census schedules, letters, newspaper reports, interviews, and other archival materials, this study tries to uncover the forces and mechanisms that determined the processes that formed American Arizonans out of German Arizonans and German pioneers; Germans who came to Arizona beginning in the 1850s encountered a cultural, social, and political environment that was distinctly different from many that their fellow compatriots experienced. During the first decades of their settlement the region was devoid of a dominant "Anglo-American" presence, and in a multi-cultural environment, in the interplay with Hispanics, Native Americans, Americans, and other European immigrants, Germans were able to settle in their new home and participate in the construction of Arizona's social, cultural, and political structures. In this process they formed ethnic identities for themselves that fostered their accommodation to the environment and reflected their position within the regional society. Early German pioneers became German Arizonans and ultimately, under the pressures of anti-German sentiments during World War I, acculturated into American Arizonans. In this process German immigrants created, invented "Germanness" to help them accommodate in a new environment and filled it with a content that included the German language, ethnic food, internalized American stereotypes about Germans, and ethnic traditions on a lowest common denominator.


Arizonians; Arizona; Ethnic; Ethnic Identity; Formation; Frontier; German; German Identity; Society; Southwestern; Society; War; World

Controlled Subject

Ethnology--Study and teaching

File Format


File Size

5468.16 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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