Merchants and Migrations: Germans and Americans in Connection,1776-1835by Sam A. Mustafa
Pub. Date: 10/01/2001
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
The period 1776-1835 witnessed not only the emergence of the United States as an independent nation, but also the expansion of world trade on a scale never previously seen. Whilst many scholars have studied trans-Atlantic commerce and diplomacy in this period, most who have done so have focused on the conflict between the major powers. Relatively little, in contrast, has been written on the commerce of this period as a force for bringing nations into closer co-operation. Looking specifically at the relationship between America and Germany, this work investigates how the commercial activities of merchants and entrepreneurs was instrumental in forging links between two states both undergoing fundamental change. It argues that the activities of individual merchants and entrepreneurs, though less glamorous than the official manoeuvrings and correspondence of statesmen, was far more successful in laying the foundation block of a solid and profitable German-American relationship that lasted until the First world War.Through the detailed study of the records of German and American travellers, entrepreneurs, immigrants, intellectuals, social and religious leaders, diplomats, magistrates, politicians, smugglers and even criminals, a many layered portrait emerges of how two cultures developed a successful economic and political relationship. At the heart of this relationship is commercial activity, the 'invisible diplomacy of merchants' which Dr Mustafa argues was the primary locus for of change and development. Starting with German migration, a network of connections gradually developed that eventually shaped diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is how this process of economic interests acted as the motor for wider relations that form the focus of this book.
Author Biography: Sam Mustafa, Visiting Professor of History, The College of Charleston, USA.
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