Pennsylvania Germans

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PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS comprise several religious communities rooted in sixteenth-century Anabaptism, a Protestant movement emphasizing adult baptism, nonviolence, separation from "worldly" society, and communal self-sufficiency. Between 1700 and 1840, three to five thousand Mennonites and Brethren and one thousand Amish emigrated from the German Palatine and Switzerland to Pennsylvania. They established agrarian settlements in Lancaster County that have maintained their language and Ordnung (religious and social customs). "Old Order" Amish and Mennonite populations increased dramatically in the twentieth century, in 2000 numbering some fifty thousand in Pennsylvania. They have continued to avoid motorized vehicles, public utilities, and government services, as their economic base shifts from farming to small enterprises. Their distinctive folk art, music, manufactured products, and efficient farming techniques are widely appreciated.


Kraybill, Donald B. and Carl F. Bowman. On the Backroad to Heaven: Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Yoder, Paton. Tradition and Transition: Amish Mennonites and Old Order Amish, 1800–1900. Scottsdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1991.


See alsoAmish ; German Americans ; Mennonites ; Pennsylvania .

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Pennsylvania Germans

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Pennsylvania Germans