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The German Forty-Eighters in the United States


Charlotte L. Brancaforte

Between 1845 and 1854 over one million German citizens left their homes and emigrated, many of them as a result of the unsuccessful revolution of 1848 and its aftermath. The «Forty-Eighters» who came to the United States, both for political and economic reasons, went through different stages of adaptation to the new country. The immigrants contributed to the political, social and cultural life of their new homeland by transforming staid communities on the East coast, by founding new settlements in the Midwest and West, and by swelling the number of politically conscious artisans and workers in the big cities. Their voting power and personal sacrifices were of great importance in the abolition of slavery in the U.S. They participated in the debate about the women's vote and in stressing the concepts of free and general education.
The contributors to this volume of essays illustrate a new direction in German-American studies. By bringing together the expertise of many disciplines they show that this powerful group among 19th century immigrants helped shape U.S. communities in ways which can still be felt today.