Cross-posted from: H-TGS
Sarah Panter, Review of: Kristen Layne Anderson. Abolitionizing Missouri: German Immigrants and Racial Ideology in Nineteenth-Century America. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2016. 272 pp. $48.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8071-6196-8.
Reviewed by Sarah Panter (Leibniz Institute of European History)
Published on H-TGS (September, 2016)
Commissioned by Alison C. Efford
Until a decade ago, it seemed that almost everything had been said about the experiences of nineteenth-century German immigrants in the United States. In recent years, however, historians have provided fresh perspectives on broader aspects of the social, political, and cultural history of the German-speaking diaspora in the United States. This is especially true of the second half of the nineteenth century and becomes visible, for example, in the claims for a “transnational turn in Civil War history.” As a result, younger scholars have adapted new methodological approaches and started to open up the international potential of this research field by emphasizing the need to contextualize the attitudes of German-speaking immigrants and how they negotiated social, cultural, and racial differences in an entangled transatlantic space.
In this larger context, Kristen Layne Anderson provides a valuable and well-written study. Anderson aims to question the image of German immigrants as idealistic fighters for humanity and as indisputably radical abolitionists in the border state of Missouri, particularly in St. Louis. In so doing, the author shows convincingly that “the racial ideology of the majority of German Americans in St. Louis was quite pragmatic, in that they shifted their position on slavery and the place of African Americans in American society when it benefited their own community to do so” (p. 3). Correspondingly, German Missourians took different stands on questions of race, gender, class, and religion between 1848 and 1870. The study’s arguments are supported by drawing on a broad range of sources, including the German- and English-language press representing different political orientations, statistical material from census documents, and personal and family papers. The six chapters are arranged chronologically and mainly follow political events and dynamics with regard to the questions of slavery and racial equality.
On Thursday 14 January 2016 there will be an interesting conference on the global history of slavery at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Among other speakers Orlando Patterson will give an evening lecture on “Slavery: Ancient, Modern and Contemporary”.
For further information see http://www.adwmainz.de/fileadmin/adwmainz/veran16/2016_01_14_Antike_Sklaverei.pdf
Charles Walton, Global History & Culture Center of the University of Warwick, is organizing an international Workshop on “Human Rights in Global History” on 29 January 2014.
The programme includes:
“Abolition of Slavery and International Rights for Humanitarian Reasons”
- Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz):
“Enforcing Humanity – The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention”
- Saul Dubow (University of London, Queen Mary):
“The Problem of Rights for Apartheid and Anti-Apartheid South Africa”
- Jenny Raflik-Grenouilleau (University of Cergy-Pontoise):
“Human Rights or Peoples’ Rights: Some Reflections”
- Charles Walton (University of Warwick):
“Rights, Reciprocity and the Politics of Obligation: 18th-20th Centuries”
For more detailed information see:
024 7652 3350 Email: Amy.Evans@warwick.ac.uk
The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz is publisher of EGO | European History Online (http://www.ieg-ego.eu/), a transcultural history of Europe on the Internet. EGO is product of international and interdisciplinary cooperation. The chief editors are the directors of the IEG, Irene Dingel and Johannes Paulmann (until September 2011: Heinz Duchhardt).
The project investigates processes of intercultural exchange in European history whose impact extended beyond state, national and cultural borders. EGO describes Europe as a constantly changing communicative space which witnessed extremely varied processes of interaction, circulation, overlapping and entanglement, of exchange and transfer. Within a wide range of themes EGO contains also contributions relating to the history of humanitarianism and human rights such as:
Abolitionism in the Atlantic World: The Organization and Interaction of Anti-Slavery Movements in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by Birgitta Bader-Zaar:
Transnational Women’s Movements by Leila J. Rupp:
Prisoners and Detainees in War by Sibylle Scheipers: