Missouri’s German Heritage

Missouri’s rich German heritage has made a definite impact on its history, and the history of America. Missouri’s entry into the United States as a slave state happened because of Senator Henry Clay’s great Compromise, allowing us to enter with Maine so that there would be one free to balance one slave State. Many, like Thomas Jefferson, would call this a “fire bell in the night” and consider it the real beginning of America’s Civil War.

During the 1830s over 120,000 Germans would emigrate to the U.S. with over 40,000, or one-third of those emigrants choosing Missouri because of a book A Report on a Journeyby Gottfried Duden published in 1829. They were fleeing the monarchy and oppression, desperate times of overpopulation and famine. In search of the freedom they found in our Constitution, it included those involved in the 1848 Revolutions as well.

These Missouri Germans would become Abolitionists, lead  our U. S. Colored Troops, and help those enslaved via the Underground Railroad. They changed the demographics, the history and the heritage of our State. By 1900, Missouri’s largest City, the fourth largest in the U.S. was St. Louis, and had one of the most foreign-born populations. While over 50% were emigrants, the largest amount of those were of German descent.

Today, St. Louis is part of the German Triangle, with Cincinnati and Milwaukee where the largest of amount of those with German Ancestry live. Over 50 million Americans claim German as their ethnic heritage still making it the largest ethnic culture in the U.S. today. Please join us as we celebrate our rich German Heritage at any event or online at Mo-Germans.com

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