German pioneers on the American frontier : the Wagners in Texas and Illinois /
by Andreas V. Reichstein.
Denton, TX : University of North Texas Press, 2001.
xii, 303 p. : ill., map.
1574411349 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Denton, TX : University of North Texas Press, 2001.
1574411349 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-07-01:
This rare book studies 19th-century German migration to the US by focusing on the experiences of brothers Wilhelm (1803-77) and Julius Wagner (1816-1903). Julius arrived first from Baden, Germany, part of a community group called "Darmstadters," or "Forty," which established the utopian community of Bettina, Texas in 1847. After the experiment failed, Julius stayed on in Texas. Wilhelm left Germany in 1851 because of his liberal political beliefs and settled in Freeport, Illinois, where he founded a German-language newspaper. Reichstein (Univ. of Hamburg) was able to fill in biographical details on the two brothers because of a recently discovered cache of family letters and through the cooperation of descendants of Julius and Wilhelm. He uses the material both to tell a story and to examine broader topics such as assimilation and acculturation. No fan of the melting-pot theory, the author concludes that the Wagners and their descendants identified themselves as Americans through a variety of processes combining acculturation and assimilation. Reichstein offers the interesting suggestion that German migration to the US indirectly led to WW I and II by draining Germany of most of those who would stand up to demagogues and dictators. All levels and collections. W. K. McNeil Ozark Folk Center
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Choice, July 2002
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Publisher Fact Sheet
A case study of two brothers who immigrated to the United States from Baden, Germany.
Unpaid Annotation
German Pioneers on the American Frontier is a case study of two brothers, Julius and Wilhelm Wagner, who immigrated to the United States from Baden, Germany. Julius immigrated as part of an early communist group, the "Darmstadters" or "Forty", who established the utopian settlement of Bettina in 1847. His anti-slavery beliefs forced Julius to Mexico during the Civil War, but he returned to Texas after the war. His older brother Wilhelm fled Germany in 1851 as a result of his liberal political beliefs and settled in Texas. He founded a German-language newspaper when he moved to Freeport, Illinois.Using a newly discovered cache of Wagner family letters, Reichstein examines the lives of the brothers as they sought to make better futures for themselves on the new frontier. More than a narrow family history, however, German Pioneers on the American Frontier uses the individual cases of Julius and Wilhelm Wagner to examine the broader historiographical debate about assimilation and acculturation. Reichstein's conclusion is that immigrants identify themselves as American through a variety of processes that are a combination of assimilation and acculturation.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introductionp. 1
The Beginning in Germanyp. 9
Life on the Texas Frontierp. 41
A "Revolutionary" Emigrantp. 85
A New Home in Illinoisp. 109
Turbulent Times in Texasp. 143
The Legacy of the Immigrantsp. 161
Acculturation or Assimilation?p. 181
Conclusion: Reflections on Immigrationp. 207
Family Tree of Wilhelm Wagnerp. 223
Family Tree of Julius Wagnerp. 229
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 275
Indexp. 299
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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