This edited volume investigates the development of the concepts and practices of “humanity” from the sixteenth century to the present. By choosing a longue-durée approach the book analyzes how shifting concepts of humanity shaped various practices and at the same time how ideas themselves were informed by these practices in the course of four hundred years. As humanity is evoked in a remarkable array of themes, the contributors deliberately focus on issues such as humanism, colonial expansion and imperialism, missions, abolitionism, international humanitarian law, humanitarianism, human rights, charity and philanthropy. In their understanding, these are crucial arenas, in which concepts and practices of humanity were sustainably shaped, defined, questioned and reconfigured. While there are a huge number of individual studies on each theme, the book seeks to connect these various fields and analyze their entanglements under the overarching theme of the idea of humanity.
Vom 16. bis ins 19. Jahrhundert verschleppten Europäer rund 12 Millionen Afrikaner über den Atlantik in die Kolonien nach Amerika, wo sie als Sklaven auf den europäischen Plantagen und Minen Zwangsarbeit leisten mussten. Über diesen jahrhundertelangen Handel mit der “Ware Mensch” zwischen Europa, Afrika und Amerika hat BR-Journalist Michael Zametzer einen sehr hörenswerter Radiobeitrag auf Bayern 2 Radiowissen gemacht.
Slave Trade Memorial in Stone Town, Sansibar, Foto: Fabian Klose
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For the Union and against slavery: the Camp Jackson Affair in May 1861
St. Louis, which was originally founded in 1763 as a French trading post, grew into a centre of European immigration from the 1830s and became a hub for settlers in the American West. The city’s favourable location on the Mississippi River earned it the name “Gateway to the West”. The Missouri territory, however, was not acquired by the United States from France (“Louisiana Purchase”) until 1803. Under the so-called Missouri Compromise, the area was included in the Union in 1821 as a state where slavery was legal. Still, unlike many Southern states, Missouri had only few slaves.
Depiction of Camp Jackson affair, first published in the New York Illustrated News on 05.25.1861 under the title “Terrible Tragedy at St. Louis, Mo.”
The key role of St. Louis as a stronghold of secular “abolitionism” was already apparent in the early stages of the American Civil War (1861–1865). On May 10th, 1861, tensions developed at Camp Jackson between pro-Union and pro-Confederate militias regarding the nearby St. Louis Arsenal, which belonged to federal troops. In the ranks of the pro-Union militia there were many German immigrants. By contrast, along with governor of Missouri Claiborne Fox Jackson (1806–1862) and the local slaveholders, most Irish immigrants supported the Confederate camp. When shots were fired during this dispute, turmoil ensued and anti-German insults followed. In the end, there were 30 deaths. The Union militias were finally able to successfully defend the armoury, and Missouri remained part of the Union. At the same time, however, the incidents led to deep divisions among the population.
On April 13th, 1598 in the city of Nantes, King Henry IV of France signed a document ending a series of religious wars that had devastated the country and brought the French monarchy to the point of ruin. In the form of Calvinism, Protestantism had been attracting increasing numbers of followers in France by the mid-16th century. These Huguenots, as they were called, were persecuted by the Catholic Church and the French Crown. Intensified by a dynastic crisis after the death of King Henry II (1559) the conflict escalated to a veritable civil war. One of the bloody climaxes of this more than 30-year struggle was the so-called St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572), in which between 3,000 and 4,000 Protestants died in Paris alone.
The Edict of Nantes
When Henry of Navarre, the Huguenot military leader, succeeded the murdered Henry III to the throne, the conflict appeared again to worsen. Only after the new king converted to Catholicism in 1593 and was accepted by the Catholics was the path open to a peaceful solution to the conflict. Five years later, Henry IV guaranteed his erstwhile fellow Protestants a series of privileges that henceforth would ensure a non-violent coexistence for the two Christian confessions under the protection of the Crown.
Confessional Division and Political Unity (differences)
With the Edict of Nantes, which in large part resembled earlier so-called pacification edicts, France’s confessional division was reinforced. The ideal of religious unity in the commonwealth was sacrificed in the name of political unity. Although the document was in fact the result of negotiations between the warring parties, it took the form of a royal amnesty. Thus the Edict’s legal form made it in principle revocable, even though its text called it “perpetual” and “irrevocable”. On this basis, it was possible to pacify the violent conflict for nearly 100 years and establish rules for the coexistence of Catholics and Protestants that were accepted by both sides.
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”.
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: