Carl Schurz, German-American

Carl Schurz and Siebengebirge, 1849
Carl Schurz and Siebengebirge, 1849

Rhineland history is also a bit German and European history. During the last 2,000 years, people of numerous nationalities have come to the Rhine. Similarly, there are Rhinelanders who fled political or religious persecution and built up a new life in America. One of them was Carl Schurz.

German revolutionary

“Before I left the house I went for a moment to my study. From the window I had a free outlook on the Rhine and the lovely Seven Mountains. How often, gazing upon this charming picture, had I dreamed of a quiet and beautiful life! Now I could in the darkness distinguish only the outline of my beloved hills against the horizon. Here was my room quiet as ever. How often had I peopled it with my imaginings! Here were my books and manuscripts, all testifying of hopes, plans, and endeavors, which now perhaps had to be left behind forever. An instinctive feeling told me that all this was now over.”
Carl Schurz, Reminiscences, Volume 1

It was the evening of May 10, 1849, in Bonn. The young Carl Schurz, a student at Bonn University, said good-bye to his family and his home. That night, he set out to join the revolutionary democratic forces in a desperate attempt to save the achievements of the revolution 1848/49.

We know they failed. Schurz barely escaped alive and had to emigrate. His first station London, here he married Margarethe. Some years later, in 1852, they emigrated to the United States. During the following years, Schutz became an important politician, and almost a friend to President Abraham Lincoln.

American Statesman

Schurz loved his new homeland. Here all that he had fought for back then in Germany should become reality. He was elected to the US Senate from Missouri, and in 1977 President Hayes appointed him Secretary of the Interior. Back then, the Lincoln County War and the Indian Wars raged in the Wild West.

President Hayes did not run for re-election, so Schurz returned to journalism and writing, and he moved to New York. He remained a strong fighter for honest government and encouraged reform-minded Republicans until his death in 1907.

Kingdom of Prussia and German Reich
Prussian Rhineland | Prussian Rhine Province | Revolution 1848/49 | Bismarck Era | Wilhelmine Era | Carl Schurz, German-American

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