Regarding our new IEG open access publication “On site, in time” here is Sarah Panter’s article on St. Louis, in which she focuses on German revolutionaries and aboltion.
Cross-posted from: http://en.ieg-differences.eu/on-site-in-time/sarah-panter-st-louis-mo/
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.