Book Review Radical Warrior: August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General by David Dixon

Pat Young

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That is correct. Carl Schurz being one of the most notable examples. Protestent German Americans tended to be strongly anti-slavery, seeing parallels between the Germany monarchical oppression they had fled and the oppression of blacks in the South. Which probably loops back on the question of why Know-Nothings disliked German Protestants.

The Republican Party was such an amalgamation of factions they had both Northern Know-Nothings as well as anti-slavery Protest German immigrants. Edward Bates had some involvement with the Know-Nothings and that made him seen as liability for the Republicans. One of the big reasons Lincoln got the nomination is he didn't have any of the baggage the three contenders ahead of him had (see Doris Keane Goodwin's A Team of Rivals, among others).

Schurz was baptized a Catholic and received a Catholic education as a child. Schurz remembered his village as having only one Jew and no Protestants, it was so Catholic. In later life, Schurz was more an exemplar of the secular German.

Some Protestant Germans were strongly anti-slavery, but Lutherans were often described as being similar to many German Catholics who were quiescent on the issue of slavery.

Bates was not the only Republican to be tainted with Know Nothing affiliations. Thad Stevens, Henry Winter Davis, U.S. Grant, Nathaniel Banks and many other had ties ranging from deep (Davis, Banks) to brief (Grant, Stevens). Republican Know Nothingism reappeared in the mid-1870s.
 

Pat Young

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Correct me if I am wrong, Pat, but the early Republican Party eagerly embraced Protestant German immigrants as an important building block of the broader Republican coalition, especially in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Lincoln and Seward both rejected Know Nothingism within the Republican Party, but the Know Nothings certainly were a strong force within the 1860 Convention. Former Know Knothings Simon Cameron and Edward Bates combined for 98.5 votes on the first ballot, only 3.5 fewer than Lincoln!

The Know Nothings had been strong as a "party within a party" in the old Whig Party. The Whig collapse was in part caused by the decision of the Know Nothings to bolt to for their own American Party. John Bell, who ran as the Constitutional Union Party candidate in 1860 had unsuccessfully campaigned for the American Party nomination four years earlier. Bell was one of many Southern Whigs who were attracted to the Know Nothings in 1856. In that year the Know Nothings actually did much better in the South than in the North.

Lincoln saw the anti-immigrant men as bigots and he understood that in the North, almost a quarter of the population was foreign born. He believed that many immigrants could be persuaded to vote Republican and he actively campaigned in German, owned a German-language newspaper, published campaign literature in German, gave interviews to German journalists, lined up German-speaking "influencers" and paid their travel expenses to speak in German communities. He also saw attacks on the Irish as needlessly alienating potential voters. He never saw the Irish as a winnable constituency, but he clearly believed that he could win at least a portion of the Irish vote. Lincoln was incredibly sharp as a politician.
 

Pat Young

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Strangely, in Louisiana, some of the most prominent Know-Nothings were Catholic! Aside from staunch Unionism and opposition to immigrants (anything 'foreign,' really), they were remarkably flexible. In La., they could tolerate "the right kind of Catholics." In the South, they supported slavery; in the North, they tried to ignore the slavery issue -- that's the reason they never formed an alliance with Abolitionism (though some joined, the Abolitionist leadership condemned them).
Can you post their names. I am very interested in Louisiana.
 

John Hartwell

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Can you post their names. I am very interested in Louisiana.
I don't recall any names being given, just mention of the fact in some of my reading RE Kn-Nothingism.


["Louisiana contrasted with the Know Nothings' expansion nationally and elsewhere in the South. For example, many Roman Catholics in the state joined the Know Nothings, even though the party was nationally known as anti-Catholic." (from book description)] I have not read this book, and it may well contain the names you seek.
also:
 
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rpkennedy

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I don't recall any names being given, just mention of the fact in some of my reading RE Kn-Nothingism.


["Louisiana contrasted with the Know Nothings' expansion nationally and elsewhere in the South. For example, many Roman Catholics in the state joined the Know Nothings, even though the party was nationally known as anti-Catholic." (from book description)] I have not read this book, and it may well contain the names you seek.
also:

Louisiana was a society unto itself in a lot of ways. This seems to have been because of its polyglot history as a crossroads to a lot of different cultures (and being ruled by several) that intermixed, creating some odd deliniations.

Ryan
 

John Hartwell

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1601221105235.png
"Papa Willich" had his troops march into battle with the bands playing stirring the strains of the revolutionary anthem, La Marseillaise! [LoC image]

There is a drawing of Willich with his pet raccoon. I like it and hope someone can post it. He had this raccoon with him all the time, some say. I wondered if mentioned in the book.
willich - Edited.jpg

Detail from a drawing by Capt. Adolph Metzner, 32nd Indiana.
[https://www.loc.gov/item/2017647007/]
I've searched high and low for something about that raccoon, but can find nothing beyond passing mention of its existence. One would expect a story, an anecdote, something, somewhere. But I haven't found it yet.
 
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Pat Young

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I have searched too for story of the raccoon. I will keep looking. I love that drawing.
Lee White references the raccoon:

 

Bruce Vail

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View attachment 375952"Papa Willich" had his troops march into battle with the bands playing stirring the strains of the revolutionary anthem, La Marseillaise! [LoC image]


View attachment 375955
Detail from a drawing by Capt. Adolph Metzner, 32nd Indiana.
[https://www.loc.gov/item/2017647007/]
I've searched high and low for something about that raccoon, but can find nothing beyond passing mention of its existence. One would expect a story, an anecdote, something, somewhere. But I haven't found it yet.

Library of Congress has a nice selection of Metzner drawings/watercolors online. See https://www.loc.gov/collections/civil-war/?fa=subject:drawings|contributor:metzner,+adolph&sp=1
 

NedBaldwin

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Schurz was baptized a Catholic and received a Catholic education as a child. Schurz remembered his village as having only one Jew and no Protestants, it was so Catholic. In later life, Schurz was more an exemplar of the secular German.

Some Protestant Germans were strongly anti-slavery, but Lutherans were often described as being similar to many German Catholics who were quiescent on the issue of slavery.

Bates was not the only Republican to be tainted with Know Nothing affiliations. Thad Stevens, Henry Winter Davis, U.S. Grant, Nathaniel Banks and many other had ties ranging from deep (Davis, Banks) to brief (Grant, Stevens). Republican Know Nothingism reappeared in the mid-1870s.
Id argue that Banks belongs in the "brief" category.
He was a Democrat until mid 1854
As a congressman, he opposed the Kansas Nebraska bill that year but the State party endorsed the bill and not him,
so he joined the Know Nothings to get on the ballot for reelection in the 1854 Congressional Election.
The State Democratic party put up a Kansas-Nebraska friendly candidate, but Banks beat him
He then was elected speaker of the house and considered himself a Republican from them on
 
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