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We Are the Revolutionists: German-Speaking Immigrants and American Abolitionists after 18

August 17 2012 at 6:44 PM

Provost  (Login MPOne)

We Are the Revolutionists: German-Speaking Immigrants and American Abolitionists after 1848, by Mischa Honeck
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Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011. Pp. xx, 236. Illus., map, notes, biblio., index. $24.95. ISBN: 0820338230.

The suppression of the European revolutionary outbreaks of 1848-1849 caused many people to flee to the United States. The largest such group consisted of Germans, many well educated veterans of the uprising. In We are the Revolutionists, Prof. Honeck (German Historical Institute, Washington) takes a look at the Red-48 German immigrants and their interactions with and influence on not only the American anti-slavery movement, but, albeit to a lesser extent, other reform movements of the period, such as womens and workers rights, and even socialism.

Honeck weaves through his account a look at generational differences in the political and social outlook of what might be termed three waves of German immigrants, those who arrived before the revolutions, the revolutionary migrants, and those who arrived after Reconstruction. He notes that the older German-American community was usually more conservative and those arriving after Reconstruction generally bought into the Reconciliation myth, while some of the old radicals became conservatives. Honeck covers many topics, from the liberal German attempt to form free labor settlements in Texas, the strong streak of abolitionism in the feminist movement, German volunteerism during the Civil war, and so forth, including the persecution of Germans in the Confederacy during the Civil War.

A valuable book for those interested in the abolitionist, labor,and feminist movements, immigration and assimilation, and the social roots of the Civil War and German participation in that conflict.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor


Nemo me impune lacesset,

[linked image]"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.

It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.

Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."

John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.
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