I know very little about why my Swiss, German and Danish ancestors came to America. My Swiss and German ancestors came to the US around the same time (late 1830s/early 1840s) and I believe they came for the same reason so many others came at this time, for the opportunities and wide open spaces that this country offered at the time. They came from small villages in Europe, communities which were struggling with too little food to go around, overcrowding, and religious wars. I think this also had something to do with why they left their ancestral homelands to come to the US.
When they did arrive, they settled in Indiana (after a brief stay in Illinois for my Swiss ancestors) where one family farmed and the other went into business making brooms (a business that lasted two generations and over twenty years). They lived quiet, if uneventful lives. I've wondered if they (as with all my immigrant ancestors) ever regretted coming to this country or if they ever felt let down by their adoptive homelands. They certainly didn't strike it rich or lead easy lives once they got here. But I think they were happy they came. They got involved in public affairs, sent their children off to fight for their adoptive homeland and were law abiding, productive citizens.
My Danish ancestors are a bit of a different story. When they got here they seemed to have wandered, eventual settling in Ohio before quickly coming out to California. I also don't know why they left Germany, but they did leave with a mass exodus of fellow Danes in Germany. It was not long after the Austro-Prussian War had ended that they left. The area had changed hands so many times and so many squabbles over the area (dating back to before the Dark Ages) had made it a rather contentious place to live. I know very little about this branch of my family, indeed, I haven't even been able to find where in Germany they lived.
This post was written for the 30th edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, focused on "Arrival in New Lands", dealing with the who, where, and why our ancestors may have left their homelands and settled in new countries.