The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 18, 1861
    Changes in the City's Charter (Editorial)

    We have already published a survey of the proposed changes in the charter of Chicago which have been made by certain interests. We cannot but wish that this agitation were more general in character, and that the bills which we published in outline, could be printed in full and submitted to the public, so that public opinion, the deciding judge, could have opportunity for expression.

    In the final analysis the people of Chicago are the ones who are most interested in the nature of the changes, and no alterations should be made without their express consent. Such a procedure would make it clear that the changes were undertaken for the benefit of the whole city, rather than only in the interest of certain individuals.

    We have already published a survey of the proposed changes in the charter of Chicago which have been made by certain interests. We cannot but wish that this agitation were ...

    German
    I H
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 18, 1861
    Changes in the City's Charter (Editorial)

    We have already published a survey of the proposed changes in the charter of Chicago which have been made by certain interests. We cannot but wish that this agitation were more general in character, and that the bills which we published in outline, could be printed in full and submitted to the public, so that public opinion, the deciding judge, could have opportunity for expression.

    In the final analysis the people of Chicago are the ones who are most interested in the nature of the changes, and no alterations should be made without their express consent. Such a procedure would make it clear that the changes were undertaken for the benefit of the whole city, rather than only in the interest of certain individuals.

    We have already published a survey of the proposed changes in the charter of Chicago which have been made by certain interests. We cannot but wish that this agitation were ...

    German
    I H
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 22, 1861
    A Proscription List (Editorial)

    An article from a newspaper published in Hannibal, Missouri was sent to us, and from it we infer that mob rule is gaining ground in regions near the boundaries of the free states. The article contains nothing less than a "list of Republicans, Black Republicans, and Abolitionists". It is evidently a proscription list, which is preceded by the following introduction:

    "Following is a list of the names of the men of this city and county who voted for Abraham Lincoln in the last presidential election. We have divided them into three classes, according to the information which we were able to obtain concerning them. All those whose names are marked by an asterisk we believe to be respectable, law-abiding citizens who would not be guilty of an act unworthy of a gentleman or a liberty-loving 2citizen. Those whose names are marked with a double-bar cross are, in our opinion, still a step away from the abolitionists, while those whose names are marked with a single-bar cross are most certainly full-fledged abolitionists. The persons whose names bear no mark are not known to us."

    This infamous item lists the names of about two hundred men. Here are a few: J. W. Teichmann, J. M. Fritz, Albert Eisle. [Translator's note: The names of thirty-six other persons are given. With three exceptions they are all Germans. Among them are seven merchants, and alderman, and a doctor.] A Mr. W. C. Doane is listed with the remark: "This man says that a Negro would be justified in killing his master in order to gain freedom. He left the city this morning."

    Citizens of this Republic are thus denounced to the mob because they dared to exercise their constitutional rights. It is high time that the friends of liberty and the Constitution unite and prevent the despotism of slave-holders from making further headway. Will any German Democratic newspaper 3be so shameless as to defend mob rule, and write about violations of the Constitution by the North, after being reliably informed of actions like the foregoing committed by the defenders of slavery?

    An article from a newspaper published in Hannibal, Missouri was sent to us, and from it we infer that mob rule is gaining ground in regions near the boundaries of ...

    German
    I H
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 01, 1861
    The Registration Law (Editorial)

    A bill to ascertain the qualifications of voters and prevent fraudulent voting is before the Illinois Legislature and will undoubtedly be passed after some minor changes have been made.

    The main provisions of the bill are that every voter must be registered or that his right to vote must be certified at the polls by two voters who are registered. The lists of voters will be prepared by the assessors who estimate the value of property for the purpose of taxation. They will deliver the lists to the clerks of the towns or cities, and the clerks will arrange the names in alphabetical order. Registration boards will be established and meet each year, on the first Monday in November, to complete the lists. The sessions of the boards will be public and will be held two weeks before each special election, as before each municipal election.

    2

    Although the provisions of the bill are very strict, they will in no way hinder the free exercise of the right to vote.

    However, one of the provisions in Section twenty-eight does not appear to be suitable to the purpose. It provides that a person may not vote in a precinct unless he has lived in it for sixty days prior to the election. Heretofore only ten days' residence was required, and no specified length of residence was required in county elections. The matter would be of no importance, were it not for the fact that at the time immediately preceding the November elections a great many people move from the suburbs into the city, or from one precinct to another, and according to the proposed law, they would be deprived of their vote. Only sixty days residence in the city should be required, but not sixty days residence in the precinct in which the voter wishes to cast his ballot. The other provisions of the bill are sufficient to prevent fraudulent voting.

    A bill to ascertain the qualifications of voters and prevent fraudulent voting is before the Illinois Legislature and will undoubtedly be passed after some minor changes have been made. The ...

    German
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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 06, 1861
    Instructions to Illinois Delegates (Editorial)

    The following resolutions were passed by the Illinois Legislature in the session which was held on Friday night:

    Whereas, The people of the state of Illinois desire no change in our Federal Constitution, but several of our sister states have declared that an amendment is necessary; and

    Whereas, The Fifth Article of the Constitution of the United States contains provisions making it possible to change that instrument, either through action by Congress or by a convention; and

    Whereas, a desire has been expressed in various parts of the United States to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution; therefore be it

    2

    Resolved by the General Assembly, That if any of the other states which believe they have reason to complain appeal to Congress to call a convention in accordance with the manner prescribed by the Constitution of the United States for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States, that the Legislature of the state of Illinois will assent, and hereby does assent; further

    That until the people of the United States decree otherwise, the Federal Union must be preserved in its present state, and that the present Constitution and laws must be executed as they are, and to this end all the resources of the state of Illinois are pledged to the Federal Government of the United States, in conformity with the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

    All the Democrats of the House voted against the last resolution, in line with the resolutions of the last Democratic convention, which was ready to surrender every Democratic principle (even those of the Northern 3Democrats) rather than use all legal means, including military force to enforce the laws of the United States in the South as well as in the North.

    The following resolutions were passed by the Illinois Legislature in the session which was held on Friday night: Whereas, The people of the state of Illinois desire no change in ...

    German
    I J, I H
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- April 02, 1861
    Address by Alexander Stephens on the New Gospel of Slavery (Editorial)

    The address which the Vice-President of the Confederate States of America (that is, the Cotton States) made in Savannah might open the eyes of our Democratic fellow citizens, for it reveals the infamous fraud which the leaders of the Democratic party have practiced for many years. These leaders did not tire of accusing the Republicans of depriving slaveholders of their constitutional rights, (or of entirely invalidating these rights) and have continually maintained that the South, therefore, had good reason to suspect any Republican administration; that its act in leaving the Union was justified to some extent; and that great concessions, even changes in the Constitution of the United States, would be necessary to remove this suspicion.

    However, one need only read the address of Stephens, or the Montgomery 2Constitution, to see that what is wanted is not merely a matter of granting great concessions, but of surrendering the fundamental principles upon which the Constitution of the United States is founded. Everywhere in the South it is argued that the "conflict" between slavery and free labor cannot be settled; that, therefore, a return of the Cotton States to the Union is impossible; and that the North must either recognize the Confederate States and permit them to go their way in peace, or accept the new "Gospel of Slavery" which is contained in the Montgomery Constitution and was explained with much pomp and show by Mr. Stephens. Wherein lies the fundamental difference between the ideas which are now prevalent in the South and those which are embodied in the Constitution of the United States?

    Let us hear Mr. Stephens on the subject. He says concerning Thomas Jefferson and the other framers of the Constitution of the United States: "The leading thought which he and most statesmen had, at the time when the old Constitution was written, was that the enslavement of natives of Africa is contrary 3to the laws of nature; that it is wrong in principle, and from a social, moral, and political standpoint. It was an evil with which they could not cope very well, but the general opinion of that generation was that the institution would vanish in one way or another, under the government of Divine Providence. "These ideas were fundamentally wrong. They were based on the assumption that races are equal. That was an error; it was a foundation of sand; and when the storm came, and the winds blew, the government founded on it crumbled."

    Thus we see where the difficulties of the slaveholders lay. It was not the victory of the Republican party and the subsequent apprehension which drove the South from the Union, but the insufficient guarantees offered by the old Constitution, in which the very word "slavery" has been carefully omitted, while "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner" in the Montgomery Constitution;

    Stephens characterizes this new cornerstone as follows:

    4

    "Our Government is founded on the very opposite idea; its foundation is laid, and its cornerstone rests, on the great truth that the negro is not the equal of the white man; that the natural and moral condition of the negro is slavery, subordination the a higher race."

    Though the proof adduced for the correctness this moral precept, which does not permit the negro to eat the bread which he has produced in the "sweat of his brow" is very weak indeed, yet it is not the first time in history that selfish man has applied sophisms to justify very great injustices. And the South apparently is doing just that now. These new apostles of slavery are just as obsessed by their ideas as were the Anabaptists of Muenster in the year 1525, or the virtue-terrorists of the French National Convention (1792-95) during the French Revolution. They think that they are right and that the North is wrong. They consider themselves discoverers of new moral and economic truths, and look upon Northerners as narrow-minded fanatics.

    Time alone can cure this evil delusion of the South; it would merely tend to 5increase the delusion if one attempted to apply violent measures. The Union is reaping the fruit of neglecting the education of both Southerners and Northerners. If the education of the people of the North had been more general and broader, the Democratic party would have been overthrown before the delusion of the South had grown as strong as it is now, and at a time when there was hope of healing the breach which had been created within the Union. Of course, the sly leaders are taking advantage of the ignorance of the mass of the poor whites to justify every manner of dubious act, from the lynching of an alleged "abolitionist" or a raise in price on all goods manufactured in the North (due of course to a tax imposed on such goods), to the attack upon United States forts and the conquest of new territory in the Southwest for slavery.

    We shall not deplore the disadvantages and the confusion of the present situation, whether the Union is reconstructed or not. No doubt it will be, if only this one great truth is recognized and observed in practice: Our 6modern civilization must choose between a better, a more thorough education of the people and anarchy, whether it be in permanent form, as it is in South American republics, or a periodically moderated despotism, as it prevailed in ancient Rome and Greece.

    The address which the Vice-President of the Confederate States of America (that is, the Cotton States) made in Savannah might open the eyes of our Democratic fellow citizens, for it ...

    German
    I H, I G
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- September 30, 1861
    The Anti-Slavery Meeting in the Hall of the Arbeiterverein

    The election of Mr. Joachim Kersten as president, and Mr. Leonhardt Lamberts as secretary, completed the organization of the meeting. Dr. Schmidt, the first speaker, offered much interesting information concerning the Missouri campaign, with which he is familiar from personal observation. He also spoke on the noble deeds of General Lyon and the shameful treatment which he received at the hands of the Government. Later we shall comment on Dr. Schmidt's revelations concerning Lyons and the Administration.

    Mr. Heinrich Greenbaum was the second speaker. This champion of "Douglas Democracy" proved that constitutional guarantees for slavery are no longer the issue in the present War, and that total abolition of slavery is now the bone of contention. Mr. Greenbaum offered logical reasons for his new political view and, since he dared to renounce the viewpoint 2to which he had heretofore adhered, and proceeded to defend the platform of human rights, he was loudly applauded.

    The third speaker, Mr. Wilhelm Rapp, cited events which occured in the border slave states to prove that slavery is the fundamental cause of the War and that permanent harmony and peace cannot be restored until slavery has been abolished. He protested against President Lincoln's mutilation of Fremont's emancipation proclamation, but said that although this act was extremely objectionable he nevertheless urged everybody to support the Chief Executive in the fight against slavery.

    Mr. Wentworth, the fourth man to address the assembly, made use of his inherent sense of humor and his brilliant gift of satire to defend the Pathfinder and his proclamation. In the course of his address Mr. Wentworth also referred to the bank issue, and of course numerous sharp blows were dealt to wildcat banks. "Long John" declared that he would soon arrange a meeting to discuss the bank situation.

    3

    He was followed on the speakers' platform by Mr. Theodor Hielscher, who severely criticized the Administration for its many military and political blunders.

    The following resolutions were proposed by Mr. Wilhelm Rapp and were unanimously adopted:

    1) Resolved, That we are convinced that the slavery existing in the Southern States of the Union is the cause of the present war, and that peace and the Union cannot be restored unless this infamous institution is completely abolished.

    2) Resolved, That we heartily approve of General Fremont's proclamation of August 30, for we believe slavery will receive the death blow if the provisions of that proclamation are strictly enforced.

    3) Resolved, That we deeply regret and disapprove of President Lincoln's 4mutilation of Fremont's proclamation, since the act of the Chief Executive tends to encourage rebellion and slavery.

    4) Resolved, That we support the administration in its battle against the Rebels as much as we can, but we request that the war be prosecuted with more vigor and less consideration.

    5) Resolved, That we ask our representatives in Congress to enact Fremont's proclamation and to make it applicable to all Rebels.

    Joachim Kersten, President,

    Leonhardt Lamberts, Secretaty.

    The election of Mr. Joachim Kersten as president, and Mr. Leonhardt Lamberts as secretary, completed the organization of the meeting. Dr. Schmidt, the first speaker, offered much interesting information concerning ...

    German
    I H, I G, III B 1
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- November 06, 1862
    Lorenzo Brentano (Editorial)

    After a bitterly fought campaign, Mr. Lorenzo Brentano, publisher and editor of this newspaper, was elected state representative from the 61st district of the state of Illinois by a large majority.

    The principles which Mr. Brentano and his friends advocated during this campaign, and which they will always support are: suppression of the Slave Rebellion, the abolition of slavery, the enactment of state laws in Illinois for the protection of laborers, especially of those German workers, farmers, and merchants who recently immigrated to the United States and are not yet acquainted with American conditions, against capitalists and real-estate speculators.

    If this program can be carried out, gigantic progress will have been made in 2the public life and moral consciousness of the Republic. For the first time in the history of the United States the people have indicated by their vote that they are in favor of abolition--for unconditional, absolute abolition which will set five million slaves at liberty, educate them to the status of free men, and thoroughly reorganize the political and private affairs of the Republic on the basis of the "inalienable rights" proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson.

    Through the results of this election, Chicago, which is the great metropolis of the Northwest, and which is making astonishingly rapid strides towards becoming one of the great cities of the world, has set a laudable example for the rest of the people of the country. And it is with great pride that we emphasize the fact that the quiet, patriotic, ambitious, and liberty loving German laborers of Chicago, and the German farmers who live in the vicinity of Chicago, have made the greatest contribution to the victory of the noble cause.

    3

    The humane spirit of Germans is asserting its influence more and more in America; it was this spirit that set forth the real ideals and the moral issue of this terrible Civil War; and this spirit will see to it that the principle of abolition, abolition that really liberates and educates unto freedom, prevails everywhere--in the National Assembly, as well as in the legislatures for the states--as it now prevails on the battlefields, where Germans are now aquitting themselves nobly and attaining great honor.

    However, while this German spirit has its advocates and champions on all battle-fields--Sigel, [Frederick] Hecker, Mersch, Schwartz, [Brigadier General Peter Joseph] Osterhaus, Willich, Schurz, and others--it was only scantily represented in the legislative bodies of the Republic.

    This fault has been partly remedied in the great and powerful state of Illinois through yesterday's election. Mr. Brentano will defend the great principles of justice and freedom in the Illinois General Assembly with the same parliamentary and legal ability that he displayed when the people of Manheim elected him to 4be their representative in the Parliament of Baden and when he defended Struve, Blind, Fickler, and others who were accused of political crimes, in the Court at Freiburg.

    Brentano will make the German name famous in Illinois and beyond its borders, just as Mr. Gustav Koerner, who is now Ambassador to the Spanish Court at Madrid, did while serving as President of the Illinois Senate.

    The election of Mr. Brentano is of special importance to Germans, local and abroad, because he will protect their interests, first of all, of course, he will look to the welfare of the Germans of Illinois, the prairie State where German immigrants have found a great field to develop their many talents and abilities.

    .....[Translator's note: The next paragraph which undoubtedly stated in what respect Mr. Bretano's election was important for Germans in Europe, has been clipped out of the paper.]

    5

    We hold that it is our duty, a duty of gratitude and honor, to co-operate diligently and indefatigably in the restoration and regeneration of the American Republic, whether it be on the battlefield, in the pressroom, or in the legislative assembly. And by doing their duty to their country, Germans believe they are doing their duty to their native country, Germany, the future of which depends entirely upon the outcome of the American War, which is being waged about the greatest gifts which can be bestowed upon man-- democracy: rule by the people. [Translator's note: Verbatim. The author does not state in what respect the outcome of the Civil War would affect the political status of Germans in Germany.]

    After a bitterly fought campaign, Mr. Lorenzo Brentano, publisher and editor of this newspaper, was elected state representative from the 61st district of the state of Illinois by a large ...

    German
    I F 5, IV, I H, I G, III D, I F 3
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 27, 1863
    An Unjust and Unrepublican Feature of the Conscription Law (Editorial)

    When we received the information that the National House of Representatives had passed the Conscription Act, it was too late to make a close study of, and comment on the contents of this law which has now been adopted by both branches of Congress.

    Unexpectedly, the House, which made some changes in the Bill that was passed by the Senate, inserted a provision according to which anyone who is chosen for military service in the manner prescribed by the Act, may furnish an acceptable substitute, or the Secretary of War may supply a suitable substitute for a consideration not exceeding three hundred dollars.

    This section of the Act is absolutely unjust to the poor and to those unfortunate workers who do not earn enough money to save three hundred dollars; it favors 2the "gold barons" who can easily raise the necessary money and thus redeem their "golden youths," while the sons of the poor will be forced to do military service.

    Even one who is in favor of substitution with reference to military service will have to admit that setting a minimum of three hundred dollars is a flagrant violation of the rights and privileges of the substitute himself.

    The entire provision, however, is so much more revolting, since it makes a wide distinction between the wealthy and the poor at a time when our country is threatened by great dangers from within and without; it deprives us of a people's army in which all social classes are equally represented, such as is the case in Switzerland.

    In these times that "try men's souls" the working class has given so many proofs of its sacrificing patriotism that no one can accuse it of dishonest motives if it raises its voice against this unjust measure. It is ready at 3all times to shed its blood for the Union, for liberty, for justice, for the emancipation of slaves, and for free labor; but, at the same time, it demands that the sons of the rich shall not have the privilege of purchasing exemption from the performance of their sacred duty for the price of a few paltry pieces of silver.

    Considering the matter from this viewpoint, we can only advise the workers of our country to protest against said provision of the Conscription Act, and to demand that the objectionable section be stricken from the law.

    It has been reported that the Chicago Arbeiterverein contemplates holding a demonstration this week against the aforementioned part of the Conscription Act; a demonstration--note, you Secessionists!--not against the Conscription Act, but in favor of the Conscription Act; however, in favor of an Act from which the faulty paragraph has been deleted.

    The protest of the Chicago Arbeiterverein should be sent to our representatives in Congress before March 4, since Congress will adjourn on that day.

    When we received the information that the National House of Representatives had passed the Conscription Act, it was too late to make a close study of, and comment on the ...

    German
    I G, I H
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- April 23, 1864
    Seamstresses Strive for Increase in Wages (Editorial)

    If any class of workers deserves sympathy and support in its endeavors to obtain an increase in wages, it is the seamstresses. In an earlier article, we described the sad plight of the women and girls who work in the garment factories in New York. We emphasized the fact that it would be much to the advantage of these feminine wage earners if they would acquire positions as maids and housekeepers, who are always greatly in demand. The house, and not the factory is the proper sphere of a woman's activity. We also called attention to the fact that many native-born seamstresses cannot obtain housework because they know nothing about running a home.

    It must also be taken into account that the great demand by the Army for uniforms, tents, etc., has made female labor in garment and tent factories indispensable, and that soldiers' wives who have no children are forced to 2do sewing in order to support themselves. And it is the duty of society to see to it that these women, who are doing work necessary for the welfare of the country, receive wages that will enable them to live at least like human beings.

    Many of them cannot make a living, not even the girls and women who work in factories operated by contractors who are partly under government supervision. When, for instance, some philanthropists of Philadelphia investigated the conditions prevailing among the female employes in the arsenal of that city, they reported the following:

    Women and girls who hold cards permitting them to work in the arsenal get $2.16 for making eight pairs of infantry pants, or twenty-seven cents a pair, and they get four dollars for making eight pairs of cavalry pants. However, one woman or girl cannot make eight pairs of either kind of pants in a week. The pay for other work is much less. A woman reported that her pay for making 3a pair of military pants was decreased from ten to four cents; for making a cavalry coat, from $1.25 to ninety cents; and for making a tent, from twenty-five to sixteen cents. She said it was a good day's work to make three tents, and that it was required of her to sew forty-six buttons on each tent, and to make forty-six buttonholes and twenty loopholes, all for sixteen cents.

    Another woman told the investigators that she was employed at making shirts, that she received 12½ cents a shirt, and had to work diligently from early morning to ten o'clock at night in order to earn four dollars a week. Another said that she received seventy-five cents for making a dozen hats, and that her average weekly wage for working from seven o'clock in the morning until eleven o'clock at night was five dollars. Another woman stated that she was more than fifty years old, that her son was in the army, and that she was obliged to work for the support of herself and one child, that she worked at 4the arsenal and received $2.16 for making eight pairs of pants and $2.40 for making sixteen shirts.

    Nearly all the women and girls complained that they were treated roughly and contemptuously by all except a few of the officers of the arsenal. And corruption is found even in such institutions. At least, one of the employes claimed that there is better-paid work available, but that the clerks take this work home and have it done by their mothers, or sisters, or wives, or fiancees, who earn as much as fourteen dollars a week. One of the clerks provides his mother and two sisters with this better-paid work, and a third sister is employed at the arsenal at six dollars a week. And the most revolting thing about this sad affair is that these poor wretches are forced to work under such revolting conditions in a government-controlled institution, and must suffer under the greed and selfishness of officers who should set a good example for others in respect to the wages they pay and their conduct toward their employes.

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    The Philadelphia investigators intended to bring the matter to the attention of Congress and to demand that the guilty be punished and that a more humane policy be followed hereafter.

    If any class of workers deserves sympathy and support in its endeavors to obtain an increase in wages, it is the seamstresses. In an earlier article, we described the sad ...

    German
    I H, I K, I G