Hartmut Lehmann, Hermann Wellenreuther, Renate Wilson, eds. In Search of Peace and Prosperity: New German Settlements in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Xii + 332 pp. 00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-271-01929-1.
Reviewed by Robert W. Frizzell (Director of Libraries, Northwest Missouri State University)
Published on H-GAGCS (August, 2002)
To the East and the West
To the East and the West
In 1992, when Helmut Lehmann was Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., he arranged a conference at Pennsylvania State University on German immigration to colonial America. After he returned to Germany and his position at the Max Planck Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen, other papers were collected, other editors were added, resulting in this fine and important book.
A lengthy introductory essay comprises Part One. "Contexts for Migration in the Early Modern World," by Hermann Wellenreuther, challenges Bernard Bailyn's assertion that "around the middle of the eighteenth century emigration to North America developed its own dynamics and became separated from European migration movements and the European labor market" (p. 24). Rather, Wellenreuther asserts, "Viewed from the experiences of actual or potential migrants, migrating to America throughout the eighteenth century was not much different from migrating to the Banat or Russia" (p. 29). The essay is both thoughtful and learned. Some American empirically-minded historians may see pages on the Cameralist views of philosophers Christian Wolff and J. H. G. von Justi as bordering on the pedantic, rather than as a necessary part of examining "the public policy contexts of migration" (p. 10). But one of the most valuable features of a collection of essays from both sides of the Atlantic is the opportunity to compare scholarly approaches.
Part Two includes three essays on "new settlements in Europe." Thomas Klingebeil's essay, "Huguenot Settlements in Central Europe," in contrast to Wellenreuther's analytical introduction, describes an important historical instance of migration into Germany. It cites only secondary sources but is quite valuable, especially on this side of the Atlantic to those with limited linguistic skills, by bringing together the findings of so much research published in the German language and not widely distributed here. Presumably, the point of including this essay in the collection is to compare migrations within Europe to migrations to America. At the same time, one sometimes encounters the descendants of Huguenot refugees among Germans coming to America. This is the case with the Old Lutheran migration to Buffalo, N.Y. and a daughter settlement near Altamont, Illinois.
In a short contribution, Mack Walker tries to delineate who was primarily responsible for the move of some 20,000 Salzburgers in the early 1730s to "the Lithuanian provinces of Prussia." He finds that the migrants themselves were less responsible than political and religious authorities. Andreas Gestrich reports on three German religious migrations to Russia between 1765 and 1818. As with the Huguenot essay, the author summarizes the research of others, but it is research of which most German America scholars, at least in America, know little. Each of the German religious groups in Russia studied here tried to maintain its cultural and religious integrity after migration. Each had great difficulty in doing so in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Part Three, "Bridging the Eighteenth Century," is begun by Jon Butler of Yale. Using the work of Mary Fulbrook and William R. Ward, Butler maintains that Pietism "reshaped the religious world of the late seventeenth century, not only in Germany but on the continent, in England and in America" (p. 113). A. Gregg Roeber extends Butler's concern with transatlantic Pietism to examine problems of religious authority and governance, and the concern of Pietistic religious cultures with science, medicine, and the everyday material world. Many of the issues examined by Roeber are also pertinent to the study of Germans migrating to the rural American Midwest a century later.
Thomas Müller-Bahlke takes a detailed look at the correspondence of A. H. Franke in Halle with Pennsylvania Lutherans based on much archival research. Mark Häberlein continues the theme of transatlantic communications with an in-depth examination of the communication of migrants from the small margravate of Baden-Durlach both to the homeland and among themselves. Rosalind J. Beiler reports on correspondence between Philadelphia merchant Caspar Wister and his agent Georg Friederich Hölzer in Neckargemünd. Together these communications studies provide details of considerable interest, but anyone with even a smattering of knowledge of the era will scarcely be surprised to learn that communication between people in the German states and in the American colonies was slow, difficult, erratic, and largely personal.
Part Four deals with American settlements. Marianne S. Wokeck emphasizes the heterogeneity and fragmentation of German settlements in colonial North America. The clusters of similar kinds of immigrants were local. Renate Wilson puts the Salzburger settlement in Georgia within the religious context of the aforementioned William R. Ward. In contrast to the generalizations made by Wokeck, these Georgia Germans were held together not by personal ties, but by "[outside] financial support and a network of church and social services" (p. 220). Here, too, there were communication problems, but perhaps the most central concern was a shortage of labor which gradually resulted in a favorable attitude toward slaves from Africa.
Carola Wessel reports on a fascinating attempt to bring Moravian communal life to the Delaware Indians in Ohio. At one point more than 400 people lived in Delaware-Moravian towns, but this experiment ultimately failed due to the turmoil of the American Revolution, a massacre of Delawares by American militiamen, and the expansion of white settlers into Ohio.
The concluding section, Part Five, begins with a lengthy review by Hermann Wellenreuther of recent historical findings concerning migration within eighteenth century Europe and migration of Europeans beyond Europe. Significant parallels between the two migrations are drawn. Hartmut Lehmann then concludes the volume by measuring what the emigrants to America achieved in relation to their goals and by specifying some of the conceptual problems encountered by the contributors to this volume.
For all its richness and the quality of the research, analysis, and writing that went into the making of this volume, for all the insight that it conveys, its coherence remains an issue. At the same time, it contains central themes--the importance of both religious and economic factors in the new and old worlds, and the political and social marginality of those who emigrated. Any historian of German-America will find these essays more than worthwhile.
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Robert W. Frizzell. Review of Lehmann, Hartmut; Wellenreuther, Hermann; Wilson, Renate, eds., In Search of Peace and Prosperity: New German Settlements in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America.
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Copyright © 2002 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at email@example.com.