The Forty-Eighters (48ers) were Europeans who participated in or supported the Revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe. In the German Confederation, the Forty-Eighters favoured unification of Germany, a more democratic government, and guarantees of human rights.[1] Disappointed at the failure of the revolution to bring about the reform of the system of government in Germany or the Austrian Empire, and sometimes on the government's wanted list because of their involvement in the revolution, they gave up their old lives to try again abroad, emigrating to Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They included Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, among others. A large number were respected, politically active, wealthy, and well-educated, and found success in their new countries.

Carl Schurz in 1860. A participant of the 1848 revolution in Germany, he immigrated to the United States and became the 13th United States Secretary of the Interior.

In the Americas edit

Brazil edit

Disappointed by the failure of the Prussian Revolution in 1848, the biologist Fritz Müller realised there might be adverse effects on his life and career. As a result, he emigrated to South Brazil in 1852, with his brother August and their wives, to join Hermann Blumenau's new colony in the State of Santa Catarina. There, he studied the natural history of the Atlantic forest in that region, and wrote the book Facts and Arguments for Darwin.

Chile edit

After being advised by Bernhard Eunom Philippi among others, Karl Anwandter emigrated to Chile following the failed revolution. In 1850 he settled in Valdivia.[2] He was joined there by numerous other German immigrants of the period.

United States edit

St. Louis Turnverein, 1860

Germans migrated to developing midwestern and southern cities, developing the beer and wine industries in several locations, and advancing journalism; others developed thriving agricultural communities.

Galveston, Texas, was a port of entry to many Forty-Eighters. Some settled there and in Houston, but many went to the Texas Hill Country in the vicinity of Fredericksburg. Due to their liberal ideals, they strongly opposed Texas's secession in 1861. In the Bellville area of Austin County, another destination for Forty-Eighters, the German precincts voted decisively against the secession ordinance.[3]

More than 30,000 Forty-Eighters settled in what became called the Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. There they helped define the distinct German culture of the neighbourhood, and in some cases also brought a rebellious nature with them from Germany. Cincinnati was the southern terminus of the Miami and Erie Canal, and large numbers of emigrants from modern Germany, beginning with the Forty-Eighters, followed the canal north to settle available land in western Ohio.

In the Cincinnati riot of 1853, in which one demonstrator was killed, Forty-Eighters violently protested the visit of the papal emissary Cardinal Gaetano Bedini, who had repressed revolutionaries in the Papal States in 1849.[4] Protests took place also in 1854; Forty-Eighters were held responsible for the killing of two law enforcement officers in the two events.[5]

Many German Forty-Eighters settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, helping solidify that city's progressive political bent and cultural Deutschtum. The Acht-und-vierzigers and their descendants contributed to the development of that city's long Socialist political tradition.[6] Others settled throughout the state.

In the United States, most Forty-Eighters opposed nativism and slavery, in keeping with the liberal ideals that had led them to flee from Europe. In the Camp Jackson Affair in St. Louis, Missouri, a large force of German volunteers helped prevent Confederate forces from seizing the government arsenal just prior to the beginning of the American Civil War.[7] About 200,000 German-born soldiers enlisted in the Union Army, ultimately forming about 10% of the North's entire armed forces; 13,000 Germans served in Union Volunteer Regiments from New York alone.

After the Civil War, Forty-Eighters supported improved labor laws and working conditions. They also advanced the country's cultural and intellectual development in such fields as education, the arts, medicine, journalism, and business.

Many were members of the Turner movement.

Notable German Forty-Eighters in the US
Notable Czech Forty-Eighters in the US
Notable Hungarian Forty-Eighters in the US
Notable Irish Forty-Eighters in the US
Notable French Forty-Eighters in the US
Notable Polish Forty-Eighters in the US

In Australia edit

In 1848, the first non-British ship carrying immigrants to arrive in Victoria was from Germany; the Goddefroy, on 13 February. Many of those on board were political refugees. Some Germans also travelled to Australia via London. In April 1849, the Beulah was the first ship to bring assisted German vinedresser families to New South Wales.[24] The second ship, the Parland,[25] left London on 13 March 1849, and arrived in Sydney on 5 July 1849.[26]

The Princess Louise left Hamburg 26 March 1849, in the spring, bound for South Australia via Rio de Janeiro. The voyage took 135 days, which was considered slow, but nevertheless the Princess Louise berthed at Port Adelaide on 7 August 1849, with 161 emigres, including Johann Friedrich Mosel. Johann, born in 1827 in Berlin in the duchy of Brandenburg, had taken three weeks to travel from his home to the departure point of the 350-tonne vessel at Hamburg. This voyage had been well planned by two of the founding passengers, brothers Richard and Otto Schomburgk, who had been implicated in the revolution. Otto had been jailed in 1847 for his activities as a student revolutionary. The brothers, along with others including Frau Jeanne von Kreussler and Dr Carl Muecke, formed a migration group, the South Australian Colonisation Society, one of many similar groups forming throughout Germany at the time. Sponsored by geologist Leopold von Buch, the society chartered the Princess Louise to sail to South Australia. The passengers were mainly middle-class professionals, academics, musicians, artists, architects, engineers, artisans, and apprentices, and were among the core of liberal radicals, disillusioned with events in Germany.

Many Germans became vintners or worked in the wine industry; others founded Lutheran churches. By 1860, for example, about 70 German families lived in Germantown, Victoria. (When World War I broke out, the town was renamed Grovedale.) In Adelaide, a German Club was founded in 1854, which played a major role in society.

Notable Australian Forty-Eighters

In Europe edit

Belgium edit

France edit

Ludwig Bamberger settled in Paris and worked in a bank from 1852 until the amnesty of 1866 allowed him to return to Germany.[27] Carl Schurz was in France for a time before moving to England.[28] He stayed there with Adolf Strodtmann. Anton Heinrich Springer visited France.

Netherlands edit

Ludwig Bamberger was in the Netherlands for a time,[27] as were Heinrich Bernhard Oppenheim[29] and Anton Heinrich Springer.

Switzerland edit

The following were all refugees from Germany:

  • Friedrich Beust settled in Switzerland to work in early-childhood education. He lived and worked there until his death in 1899.
  • Albert Dulk, a dramatist, settled in Geneva after touring the Orient. He eventually returned to Germany.
  • Gottfried Kinkel moved to Switzerland in 1866 after living in England. He was a professor of archaeology and the history of art at the Polytechnikum in Zürich, where he died 16 years later.
  • Hermann Köchly first fled to Brussels in 1849. In 1851, he was appointed professor of classical philology at the University of Zürich. By 1864, he was back in Germany as a professor at the University of Heidelberg.
  • Johannes Scherr, novelist and literary critic, fled to Switzerland and eventually became a professor at the Polytechnikum in Zurich.
  • Richard Wagner, the composer, first fled to Paris and then settled in Zurich. He eventually returned to Germany.

United Kingdom edit

In the early years after the failure of the revolutions of 1848, a group of German Forty-Eighters and others met in a salon organized by Baroness Méry von Bruiningk and her husband Ludolf August von Bruiningk in St. John's Wood, then a suburb of London.[30] The baroness was a Russian of German descent who was sympathetic with the goals of the revolutionaries. Guests included Carl Schurz, Gottfried and Johanna Kinkel, Ferdinand Freiligrath, Alexander Herzen, Louis Blanc, Malwida von Meysenbug, Adolf Strodtmann, Johannes and Bertha Ronge, Alexander Schimmelfennig, Wilhelm Loewe-Kalbe and Heinrich Bernhard Oppenheim.[31]

Carl Schurz wrote in his memoir about this time:

"A large number of refugees from almost all parts of the European continent had gathered in London since the year 1848, but the intercourse between the different national groups – Germans, Frenchmen, Italians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians – was confined more or less to the prominent personages. All, however, in common nourished the confident hope of a revolutionary upturning on the continent soon to come. Among the Germans there were only a few who shared this hope in a less degree. Perhaps the ablest and most important person among these was Lothar Bucher, a quiet, retiring man of great capacity and acquirements, who occupied himself with serious political studies."[32]

Other Germans who fled to the United Kingdom for a time were Ludwig Bamberger,[27]Arnold Ruge, Alexandre Ledru-Rollin and Franz Sigel. Along with several of the above, Sabine Freitag also lists Gustav Adolf Techow, Eduard Meyen, Graf Oskar von Reichenbach, Josef Fickler and Amand Goegg.[33] Karl Blind became a writer in Great Britain. Bohemian Anton Heinrich Springer was in England for a time during his years of exile.

Hungarian refugee Gustav Zerffi became a British citizen and worked as a historian in London. Lajos Kossuth, a Hungarian revolutionary, toured England & Scotland and then the United States. He returned to Great Britain, where he formed a government in exile.

French refugees Louis Blanc, Pierre Leroux, and Louis-Nicolas Ménard found relief in Great Britain for a time.

Italian Giuseppe Mazzini used London as a place of refuge before and after the revolutions of 1848.


In addition, the British possession of Heligoland was a destination for refugees, for example Rudolf Dulon.


Wandering Forty-Eighters edit

  • Karl Hermann Berendt, a German physician, emigrated to the United States and spent his time there and in Mesoamerica investigating Mayan linguistics.
  • Ferenc Pulszky, a Hungarian politician, who joined Kossuth on his tour of England and the United States, became involved in Italian revolutionary activities and was imprisoned, and then was pardoned and returned home in 1866.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Forty-Eighters," Handbook of Texas Online.
  2. ^ "Carlos Anwandter", Icarito, archived from the original on December 17, 2013, retrieved August 30, 2013
  3. ^ Charles Christopher Jackson: Austin County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved December 23, 2008..
  4. ^ James F. Connelly (1960). The visit of Archbishop Gaetano Bedini to the United States of America: June 1853 – February 1854. Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana. p. 96ff. ISBN 88-7652-082-1. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  5. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page: Deputy Sheriff Thomas Higdon Archived 2008-11-21 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Holzman, Hani M. The German Forty-eighters and the Socialists in Milwaukee: A Social Psychological Study of Assimilation, 1948 University of Wisconsin thesis.
  7. ^ Williams, Scott. "THE ROLE OF GERMAN IMMIGRANTS IN CIVIL WAR – MISSOURI". The Missouri Civil War Museum. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  8. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Burger, Louis" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  9. ^ "Girsch, Frederick". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. IV, Part 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1959. pp. 322–3.
  10. ^ Logge, Thorsten (2014). Zur medialen Konstruktion des Nationalen: Die Schillerfeiern 1859 in Europa und Nordamerika (in German). Göttingen: V&R unipress. p. 298. ISBN 978-3-8471-0237-3.
  11. ^ "Die Todten des Jahres 1898". Der Deutsche Correspondent. January 1, 1899. p. 5.
  12. ^ "News of the German Societies". The Pittsburg Press. November 8, 1908. p. 24 – via
  13. ^ "Solger, Reinhold". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. IX, Part 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1963. pp. 392–3.
  14. ^ Marmer, H. A. (1960). "Hassaurek, Friedrich". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. IV, Part 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 383–384.
  15. ^ Bergquis, James M. (1999). "Rapp, Wilhelm". American National Biography (online ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1601346. (subscription required)
  16. ^ Zucker, Adolf Edward (1963). "Schnauffer, Carl Heinrich". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. VIII, Part 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 444–445.
  17. ^ In The German Element in the United States (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1909, Vol. II, Chapter VII, p. 369), Albert Bernhardt Faust gives the following list of 48er journalists: Carl Schurz, F. R. Hassaurek, Carl Heinzen, Friedrich Hecker, Christopher Esselen, Lorenz Brentano, Theodor Olshausen, Hermann Raster, Friedrich Kapp, Franz Sigel, Oswald Ottendorfer, Wilhelm Rapp, Kaspar Beetz, Friedrich Lexow, Carl Dilthey, Emil Praetorius, F. Raine, H. Börnstein, C. L. Bernays, Karl D. A. Douai, Emil Rothe and Eduard Leyh. He also notes: "There were strong men among the political refugees between 1818 and 1848 prominent in journalistic work, as Friedrich Münch (Missouri), J. A. Wagener (Charleston, South Carolina), H. A. Rattermann (Cincinnati). It must be conceded, however, that the great progress in German journalism in the United States came with the advent of the political refugees of 1848, and immediately thereafter. A large number of new journals were founded by these 'forty-eighters,' and as a rule they commanded a better German style and furnished a greater amount of desirable information in politics and literature. The presumption of the 'forty-eighters' in many cases offended the older class (of 1818–1848), and a journalistic warfare arose between the two parties ('die Grauen' and 'die Grünen'). The result, however, was favorable to the cause of journalism, and the Grays and the Greens, as explained before, soon united in the great struggle against secession and slavery."
  18. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Sigel, Franz" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  19. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1892). "Krackowizer, Ernest" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  20. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1889). "Weber, Gustav C. E." . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.; "Weber, Gustav Carl Erich". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. X, Part 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1964. pp. 581–2.
  21. ^ "Krez, Konrad". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. V, Part 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1961. pp. 505–6.
  22. ^ Anarchy and Anarchist: A history of the red terror and the social revolution in America and Europe by Michael J Schaack, 1889
  23. ^ Wittke (1952), pp. 89–90.
  24. ^ recruited by Wilhelm Kirchner, who published Australien und seine Vortheile fur Auswanderer in Frankfurt in 1848
  25. ^[dead link] date given as May
  26. ^ The Board's List, reel 2459, GRK; fiche 851, Germans on Bounty Ships, GRK.
  27. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bamberger, Ludwig" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  28. ^ See Chapter XII of Volume One of his Reminiscences.
  29. ^ Karl Wipperman (1887), "Oppenheim, Heinrich Bernhard", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (in German), vol. 24, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 396–399
  30. ^ Carl Schurz. Reminiscences.   Vol. 1, Chap. 13.
  31. ^ Hermann Baron Bruiningk, Das Geschlecht von Bruiningk in Livland, Riga: N. Kymmels, 1913, table of contents.
  32. ^ Carl Schurz. Reminiscences.   Vol. 1, Chap. 13, p. 371.
  33. ^ Sabine Freitag, German Historical Institute in London, Exiles from European revolutions: refugees in mid-Victorian England, Berghahn Books, 2003.

Bibliography edit

  • Lattek, Christine. Revolutionary refugees: German socialism in Britain, 1840–1860, Routledge, 2006.
  • Wittke, Carl. Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America, Philadelphia: Univ. of Penn. Press, 1952. at
  • Wittke, Carl. "The German forty-eighters in America: a centennial appraisal." American Historical Review 53.4 (1948): 711-725. online
  • Daniel Nagel, Von republikanischen Deutschen zu deutsch-amerikanischen Republikanern. Ein Beitrag zum Identitätswandel der deutschen Achtundvierziger in den Vereinigten Staaten 1850–1861. Röhrig: St. Ingbert, 2012.

External links edit