Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- July 26, 1861The Union The Battle for Freedom and American Citizens of German Descent
We crossed the ocean and entered the Land of Promise, to live as human beings and free citizens on a free soil. The glorious banner of Stars and Stripes--not embroidered with pictures of wild animals, as are the standards of despots--attracted us mightily, for in it we saw the symbol of freedom and human rights, the shield of the oppressed of all nations, the sign of victory of a Revolution which eradicated the last vestige of monarchy from the New World, and which fanned a spark across the ocean that ignited such a wide-spread conflagration in Europe that the citadel of feudalism was completely ruined.
When we embarked on these shores, we set our feet upon the soil of a new home, a second fatherland; the last ties were severed, and we became free citizens of a great Republic. Many among us fought a severe fight for a material existence; 2many were bitterly disappointed when their immoderate hopes were not realized, when sanguinary expectations proved to be mere bubbles; but just as one finds a sweet kernel in a bitter shell, so they too found the foundations of liberty after many severe trials, struggles, and hardships; and although the building which was being erected thereon did not afford each one an equally comfortable shelter, and did not measure up to each one's conception of beauty and grandeur, the foundation was very good, since it permitted reconstruction, elevation, and expansion; and everyone who lived in that structure had the right and duty to assist in its erection.
That enormous building which rests on solid granite is the Union, founded on the sacred principles that "all men are created equal" and are entitled to equal rights. And we are cohabitants of this fine structure; we are citizens of the Union.
And we are indeed proud that we have just claims to the best name man can bear, and we demand every right to which that name entitles us. However, just 3as we demand our rights, and should not let anyone deprive us of them, so we should also be willing and prepared--and we are--to honestly and conscientiously perform the duties of citizens; just as we demand our inalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, be respected, basing our claims thereto on the sacred Declaration of Independence, so we should be ready at all times--and we are--to offer our money, our property, and even our life in the service of the Union, and to make any sacrifice for the preservation of the Republic; for we are its citizens.
Only lately, Americans of German descent were reminded of their duty, and we noted with a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure how gladly they responded to the call to arms. We were proud to see them leave their homes, wives, and children to fight against sedition and treason and to stake their lives to save the Constitution and the Union. The many German regiments hailing from all states, the German guards in the slave states, the eagerness and ability displayed by German soldiers in battle, and the victorious stand of the German citizens of Missouri are irrefutable evidence that our fellow citizens of 4German extraction know what they owe this country and are meeting their obligations in a most gratifying manner.
May they always be loyal and never tire in the performance of their consecrated work; and just as they quickly and eagerly rose in defense of their adopted country, so may they persevere and excel in battle. The greatest treasures of mankind, the existence of the Union and the preservation of a haven of liberty open to all who are oppressed, are at stake. We are convinced that our citizens of German descent will take positions in the front ranks during this holy War, and will show their English brothers how to appreciate and fight for liberty.
I G, I E, I J
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