Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- July 20, 1863Copperhead Lies about Germans (Editorial)
During the past few days we have had the pleasure of meeting several Americans who have told us that everywhere reports are being circulated that the Germans of Chicago are organizing for violent resistance against the enforcement of conscription. Even the turners were mentioned as opponents of conscription. It so happened that two prominent members of the Chicago Turngemeinde were in our office on business when one of our American fellow citizens inquired about the cause of these reports. He was immediately informed that the reports were false, that the Chicago Turngemeinde had even resolved to care for the dependents of any married member who is conscripted, as long as the member is in the service of the Union Army or Navy, and that in general, Chicago turners uphold the Government and will aid the Administration in 2the enforcement of the laws.
We hardly need mention that these slanderous reports are nothing but a pack of lies. Germans are loyal citizens of the United States. The Teutons love the land of their adoption and the liberty they enjoy in it. They were the first to take up arms in defense of the Government and the Union. Germans snatched the state of Missouri from the clutches of the Secessionists and kept it in the fold of the Union, and on every battlefield Germans have proved their love and loyalty to the Union, the refuge of all who are persecuted and oppressed. The German regiments have long borne the hardships of fatiguing campaigns, their ranks have been thinned by rifle, cannon, and bayonet, and must be repleted. That can be done by conscription only. The service rendered by German volunteers is an honorable service; so will the service rendered by conscripted men be honorable also. Conscription in America is widely different from that in Germany, where soldiers are used to oppress citizens during peacetimes and where wars are fought, not for 3liberty and justice, but to satisfy somebody's desire for conquest, or to attain the selfish purpose of some individual. In the United States the soldiers are citizens who fight for the preservation of the integrity and freedom of the country, just as they voluntarily rushed to arms long ago.
The German citizens of this country, who were willing to rise up against the tyrants of their former fatherland, have no sympathy whatever for the Rebellion of the slaveholders; on the contrary, they favor upholding and enforcing the laws, even though these laws be unwise or faulty, yea, even if some of the provisions are unjust and contrary to the interests of some individuals.
The Copperheads in New York could not persuade the Germans to participate in the murdering, robbing, and burning, and were obliged to let the Irish commit these crimes. Much less will they be able to mislead the Germans 4of Chicago to resist conscription--even those Germans who do not favor conscription. All attempts of the Copperheads would be frustrated by the sense of justice and the intelligence of our local Teutons, who know right well that mob violence cannot free anyone from conscription, but could bring unspeakable misery upon individuals as well as upon whole families.
If the reports in question have any purpose, it can be only to provoke the bad element of the population to unlawfulness, by pretending that the Germans will lend their aid to violent resistance. Therefore, it is especially necessary to expose the malice and the mendacity which actuated those who have spread these rumors.
The Copperheads, who rely upon the Germans to help them in their treasonable endeavors, will be sorely disappointed.
I G, III B 2, III D
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