Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 21, 1861Carl Schurz and the Sardinia Embassy (Editorial)
The appointment of an ambassador to Turin was of special interest, not because of the character of those who sought this post, but because of the eventual recognition or nonrecognition of the German Republicans of the United States. We admit that we were not favorably impressed when we learned that Mr. [Carl] Schurz had not been selected for the mission. After Governor Koerner had been defrauded of the ambassadorship at Berlin through a political coup of Mr. Judd of Chicago, Mr. Schurz was the only representative German aspirant to a foreign embassy, and he was especially entitled to the promotion, since he not only had the support of his state, as is often the case with American politicians, but also the indorsement of the Germans of every state in the Union. This support undoubtedly was evidence that the Germans of the Union wanted to be acknowledged coequal with native Americans in at least one respect--whenever appointments to 2foreign positions were in question. Their concern with Mr. Schurz was based solely on the German's desire to nominate their worthiest and ablest representative.
They were not successful in their attempts to wrest such recognition from the national pride of native Americans; and an appointment to Rio de Janeiro can never be looked upon as adequate compensation.
Secretary of State Seward even went so far as to establish a principle according to which all foreign-born persons will be excluded from the foreign service--if such a thing is possible. We deplore the narrow-mindedness from which this principle emanated.
In the first place, we must not overlook the fact that foreign-born citizens who know a foreign language are best qualified to represent the United States abroad. The New York Tribune was right when it stated, in defense of Mr. Schurz's claim, that his Prussian extraction was an argument for, and not 3against, his appointment to the Court of Turin. Italy, which was liberated through the revolution brought about by the revolutionist Garibaldi, would have no scruples about recognizing the former German revolutionist, especially since he would not be serving in that capacity, but rather as an American citizen. However, we shall not enumerate the excuses which Washington offered for denying the request of Mr. Schurz, the German-American citizen par excellence. It would be useless to discuss them anyway: but the lesson which this German reversal teaches is very instructive.
We learn from it that even the greatest services rendered by an eminent German to a political party and, in this case, to the Union itself, are not sufficient to offset the influence of American narrow-mindedness and greed for office. The battle of the Germans for recognition of their co-equality with native Americans in the Union is by no means ended, and they have no other recourse but to apply means which are more effective than either the influence of individuals, be they ever so prominent, or the 4resolutions of the Central Committee of the Republican party.
The coequality of the Germans must be explained to the masses in city, county, and state until even the most stubborn are convinced and the feeble-minded can understand--before any attempt is made to enlighten the upper classes. Thus, it is necessary that German sheriffs be elected, and that, if possible, a German representative and German senator be seated in every state legislature in the United States, and the next step of the Germans, especially those in the northwest, should be to bring about the election of German congressmen.
It is said that New England congressmen prevented the appointment of Mr. Schurz; and it will be the duty of the Germans to erase this score by electing German congressional representatives. In days gone by the Germans were not competent to fill public offices, but this inefficiency is being remedied in some quarters, at least to some extent, and in a short time there will be no dearth of qualified German candidates. The old adage, 5"Who does not progress must retrogress" is true close of German-Americans.
The knowledge that their native culture was a predominant element in the progressive development of the American nation must be an incentive to the Germans of the Union to continue their collaborative efforts in shaping the social, political, and economic affairs of this nation; and, to that end they must aspire to the higher, even the highest, public offices. This must be the aim of all German-Americans for the sake of those native Americans who instinctively fear and try to avert any interference in their turbulent national matters by inexperienced elements.
I F 4, I F 1, I F 5, I J, IV
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