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Forty-eighters and Friends

Forty-eighters and Friends: 1848er Democratic Revolutionaries from Germany (Schleswig-Holstein) in America (Iowa) — video financed by Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. Travis J. Bockenstedt, Wartburg College, Iowa; Scott C. Christiansen, Iowa City; Dr. Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann, Flensburg / Northfield, MN. by the Stoltenberg Institute for German-American Forty-eighter Studies.

Friends of Forty-eighters – the Forgotten Ideas & Values in America’s Past and Present

The “Forty-eighters” were a relatively small number of individuals who emigrated from Europe in the late 1840s and early 1850s after fighting unsuccessfully with both pen and sword for liberty, democracy, and national unity. Many of the German Forty-eighters immigrated to the United States, with a large number from the present-day state of Schleswig-Holstein choosing Davenport & Scott County, Iowa as their adopted home. After settling in America, these unique and talented individuals provided an intellectual transfusion affecting not only their fellow German immigrants, but also the political and social history of the United States during one of its most critical periods. (e.g. Theodor Olshausen, Hans Reimer Claussen & Christian Müller).

Many Forty-eighters left lasting marks in the fields of politics, education, business, journalism, the arts, and the military. Carl Schurz, perhaps the most well-known of the German Forty-eighters who settled in America, was an ambassador to Spain for President Lincoln, a general during the Civil War, a United States senator, and the Secretary of the Interior under President Rutherford B. Hayes.

The significance of the legacy of Carl Schurz has become more timely. With the steady increase of immigration to the United States, it has become more important than ever to establish the proper framework for the absorption of the newcomers. Schurz’s solution to this problem, assimilation with the retention of each newcomer’s ethnic heritage, while no longer put in these terms, is still valid today. The fusion of ethnic identities and American values becomes of the utmost importance, and the example set by Carl Schurz might well be upheld today as a model for all immigrants.

The video is espousing the Forty-eighters’ conviction that we all embody moral values that should be publicly expressed, thereby making a meaningful contribution towards solving the myriad of challenges confronting the Western world.”

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