German America?

+4 votes
Feb 3 in Education ✍ by Kninjanin (3,678 points)

4 Answers

Rooster Feb 3

Interesting video. Germans have been immigrating here since the 13 colonies. A couple of people here seem to speak pretty fluent German. I still call it the good ole U.S.A.

That's exactly right, Rooster.  E pluribus unum.

Virginia Feb 3

Hi Kninjanin,

Yes it is an interesting video! And I am guessing that if you looked at Scandinavian immigration, it would be almost as much as German? 

Also, I think I might know one reason for so many people coming from Germany; my friend on Mt. Baker (in Washington State) told me that when his father left Germany in 1884, it was because he wanted to leave behind the growing militarism even then.

Yes, Virginia, German religious pacifists like the Amish and the Dunkers had an old tradition of immigrating to the US to escape the wars and political turmoil of Europe.  One branch of my family came to the US in 1848 (when there was a lot of political unrest in Europe), only to be drafted into the American Civil War 12 years later.  :O

The Union 11th Corps, in particular, had so many Germans that commands were given in German. That corps took terrible beatings at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.  :'(

Virginia Virginia Feb 4

There is a great deal in this short video, O'Tink...alluding to the relationship of military service to the process of assimilation, for example, and around 4:30 an intriguing suggestion that decisions made at Chancellorsville are still affecting the course of history today! I will prolly not follow up, but clearly much fascinating US history there...

Anyway, I had not realized that conscription was used in the Civil War, but yes both North and South!

"The Draft Act of 1863 was the first instance of compulsory service in the federal military services. All male citizens, as well as aliens who had declared their intention of becoming citizens, between 20 and 45 were at risk of being drafted."

When my friend Jake's father returned to Germany (Thuringer District) around 1904 to marry his mother and bring her to his homestead on Mt. Baker, he had to cut short the visit because, even though he was then in his forties, the government was about to conscript him!

* * *

THEN I looked up the Doukhobors, because there were a number of them in Washington and Oregon when I was growing up...dedicated pacifists but I could not recall if they were German origin or Russian - Wikipedia says this:

"literally "Spirit-Warriors of Christ")... a Spiritual Christian religious group of Russian origin." 

No, Virginia, the Dunkers (or Dunkards), so called in the US because they practiced full-immersion baptism, had their origin in Germany.  I don't know what connection, if any, they may have had to Russia, unless perhaps some of them may have settled in Russia (as "Volga Germans") before coming to the US.

A famous landmark at the Antietam battlefield is the Dunker church (no steeple; Dunkers thought steeples were too showy), which found itself in the midst of the fighting.


Virginia Virginia Feb 4

O'tink, I had never heard of the Dunkers/Dunkards, so I was indeed looking to see if they were connected...not so, the Doukhobors were apparently Russian origin only. Similar/overlapping philosophies, however!

Incredibly poignant photo you posted...heart-rending...<3

Marianne Feb 4

Yes, indeed, it is, though nationalities changed with history, many language groups and subgroups remained, but involve often several countries and regions: 



TheOtherTink Feb 4

Very good clip.  I was particularly amused that at 6:08, the American Declaration of Independence appeared in German translation.  :)

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