Revisiting a German State in America
A Traveling Exhibition
In 1834 five-hundred Germans emigrated to the United States, with an intention to establish their own state. Decades of revolutionary struggles had failed, convincing them that the power of their rulers could not be broken, for the time being. Yet, as passionate democrats, they were determined to establish a new German Republic – in North America. This bold, now almost forgotten, venture of the Giessen Emigration Society, was an event much-discussed at that time.
The Society’s founders were unable to achieve their goal they had stated. However they did find the conditions right to contribute to the strong democratic beliefs they found in the fertile United States. Settling in Missouri, they led the hard life of farmers, and began to create a lively intellectual center that exists even to this day. They led in the struggles against religious intolerance, and fought to abolish slavery during the Civil War. They promoted the State’s rich viticultural assets, and encouraged further emigration, ultimately achieving a State rich with German heritage, that still exists today.