Carl Schurz bigraphy, stories - Union Army general, politician

Carl Schurz : biography

March 2, 1829 - May 14, 1906

Carl Christian Schurz ( March 2, 1829 – May 14, 1906) was a German revolutionary, American statesman and reformer, U.S. Minister to Spain, Union Army General in the American Civil War, U. S. Senator, and Secretary of the Interior. He was also an accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and orator, who in 1869 became the first German-born American elected to the United States Senate.

Schurz, a native of Liblar, Germany, attended the German Gymnasium educational system at Cologne and then enrolled in the University of Bonn in 1847.Dictionary Of American Biography (1935), Carl Schurz, p. 466 Schurz was studying to obtain a doctorate degree and to become a professor of History, however, his studies were interrupted by the German Revolution. At the age of nineteen, Schurz became a leader of a student movement that encouraged democracy, influenced by Gottfried Kinkel. Schurz joined the revolutionary army and fought in various battles against the Prussian Army. When the revolutionary army was defeated at Rastatt in 1849, Schurz escaped to Switzerland, knowing that the Prussians intended to kill their prisoners. Schurz returned to Germany and led a secret mission that freed captured Gottfried Kinkel. Schurz then resided in Paris, until he was expelled by French authorities in 1851. Schurz migrated to England where he married his wife, Margarethe Meyer. In 1852, Schurz and his wife migrated to the United States and resided in Philadelphia. Schurz and his wife moved to Wisconsin, where he joined and campaigned for the Republican Party. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln, after the outbreak of the Civil War, appointed Schurz Minister to Spain. Having returned from Spain in 1862, Schurz was appointed Union Brigadier General by President Lincoln.Dictionary Of American Biography (1935), Carl Schurz, p. 467

During the Civil War, although Brig. Gen. Schurz served with distinction, known for his personal bravery and military discipline, his "German regiments" in 1862 were heavily criticized by the press for retreating during the Second Battle of Bull Run at Chancellorsville.Dictionary Of American Biography (1935), Carl Schurz, pp. 467-468 After the Civil War, Schurz was elected Missouri Senator in 1868. In 1869, Senator Schurz was the first U.S. Senator to offer a Civil Service Reform bill to Congress. During Reconstruction, Senator Schurz was against federal military enforcement and protection of African American civil rights, and held nineteenth century ideals of Anglo superiority and fears of miscegenation.Mejías-López (2009), The Inverted Conquest, p. 132.Brands (2012), The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace, p. 489 In 1870, Senator Schurz formed the Liberal Republican Party, that opposed President Ulysses S. Grant's annexation of Santo Domingo, and opposed President Grant's use of the military to destroy the Ku Klux Klan in the South under the Force Acts. Senator Schurz lost the 1874 election to Democratic Party challenger and former Confederate, Francis Cockrell. After leaving office Schurz worked as an editor for various newspapers. In 1877, Schurz was appointed Secretary of Interior by President Rutherford B. Hayes. Although Secretary Schurz honestly attempted to reduce the effects of racism toward Native Americans and was partially successful at cleaning up corruption, his solutions towards American Indians "in light of late twentieth-century developments", were repressive.Fishel-Spragens (1988), Popular Images of American Presidents, p. 121 Indians were forced to move into low quality reservation lands that were unsuitable for tribal economic and cultural advancement. Promises made to Indian chiefs at White House meetings with President Rutherford B. Hayes and Secretary Schurz were not always kept.

During his later years, Schurz was perhaps the most prominent independent in American politics, noted for his high principles, his avoidance of political partisanship, and his moral conscience. New York Times. November 22, 1906. These tributes are available in Wikisource at Addresses in Memory of Carl Schurz. His wife, Margarethe Schurz, was instrumental in establishing the kindergarten system in the United States. Schurz is famous for saying: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."Schurz, Carl, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872, The Congressional Globe, vol. 45, p. 1287. See Wikisource for the complete speech.

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