The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of the Civil War

The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of the Civil War

by Bruce Levine
     
 

ISBN-10: 0252018737

ISBN-13: 9780252018732

Pub. Date: 06/28/1992

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

Immigrants and their children became the chief component of the U.S. working class during the nineteenth century. Bruce Levine examines the early years of this social transformation, focusing on German-born craft workers and the key roles they played in the economic and political life of the wage-earning population of antebellum America. Interweaving themes often…  See more details below

Overview

Immigrants and their children became the chief component of the U.S. working class during the nineteenth century. Bruce Levine examines the early years of this social transformation, focusing on German-born craft workers and the key roles they played in the economic and political life of the wage-earning population of antebellum America. Interweaving themes often treated separately--immigration, industrialization, class formation, and the political polarization over slavery--Levine sheds new light on the development of the working class, the nature and appeals of partisan politics, and the conflicts that led to sectional war. This study begins by carefully delineating the European background of these emigrants, especially their involvement in the economic, political, and cultural developments that culminated in the revolution of 1848. It then follows them to the New World, where it locates them within the multi-class German-American population. The author subtly analyzes the deepening political divisions within German-America, differentiating conservative, liberal, radical-democratic, and Marxist currents. At the same time, Levine explores the distinctive role that German-American workers played in American society at large--notably, in the multi-ethnic antebellum labor movement and in popular responses to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the rise of the Republican party, and the outbreak of sectional war. Throughout, Levine stresses the way in which European memories, traditions, and values conditioned (and were reshaped by) the immigrants' encounter with industrial, political, and cultural realities in their new land. The volume concludes with a discussion of the legacy of the radical craftworker milieu in postbellum decades and an assessment of later attempts to ignore or minimize this aspect of German-American and American working-class history. The Spirit of 1848 offers much new information and insight concerning craftwork, the nature of the antebellum lab

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780252018732
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
Publication date:
06/28/1992
Series:
Working Class in American History Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: "Either Social or Political Refugees"1
Pt. 1Fleeing the Old World
1"So Deeply Interwoven": General Crisis and Emigration15
2"SociaI Freedom and Independent Existence": Labor and Revolution35
Pt. IIAdjusting to the New
3"Where Nobody Need Be Poor": Immigrants and Industry in America53
4"The Love of Liberty Is Almost a Religion": Political Unity and Dissension83
5"It Is Time to Fight Again": The Organizations of Labor111
Pt. IIISlavery and the People's Land
Introduction: The Challenge of Kansas-Nebraska149
6The Response in the East159
7The Response in the West181
Pt. IV"The Second Fight for Freedom"
8"The Content of Freedom": Germans, Republicans, and Democrats213
9"The Spirit of 1848": Nationality, Class, and the Fight for Votes233
10"When Poor Men's Sons Must Sacrifice": The War and Beyond257
Appendix273
Notes277
Selected Bibliography: Primary Sources349
Index357

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