Summary

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Major General 1
Birth:
02 Mar 1829 1
Liblar, Kingdom of Prussia 1
Death:
14 May 1906 1
New York City, U.S. 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Carl Christian Schurz 1
Full Name:
Carl Schurz 1
Birth:
02 Mar 1829 1
Liblar, Kingdom of Prussia 1
Male 1
Death:
14 May 1906 1
New York City, U.S. 1
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Civil War (Union) 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Major General 1

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Stories

A native-born German revolutionary, Carl Schurz won fame in this country as an author, diplomat, editor, secretary of the interior, Union general, and U.S. senator. Schurz fled his homeland in 1852 at the age of 23, after revolutionary uprisings were suppressed. He quickly became known as an anti-slavery orator, Republican campaigner, and supporter of Abraham Lincoln. Minister to Spain from 1861-1862, he resigned to enter the Union Army as a brigadier general.

He saw action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Second Battle of Bull Run. In 1865, as an emissary from President Andrew Johnson, Schurz toured the South and concluded that blacks should be given the vote. He served briefly as a newspaper writer and editor before his election to the U.S. Senate from Missouri in 1868. President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Schurz to his cabinet, where he worked for Indian rights and conservation, and instituted the merit system for his bureau.

CARL SCHURZ DIES AT AGE 76

1906

   05 15 1906

 

Carl Schurz who was widely known as an orator and writer passed away at his home in the city of New York at an early hour yesterday morning in the 76th year of his age, having been born in Cologne, Germany, March 2, 1829. He entered the University of Bonn at the early age of 17 and at once became prominent in his studies and in the life of the University and soon became an active advocate of the principles of a republican form of government and became identified with the revolutionary movement that exiled so many from Germany in 1848. After a brief stay in England, he came to this country in 1852 and located in this city and soon became a leading spirit in political matters and upon the organization of the republican party in 1854 he took an active part and soon was recognized as a leader of marked independence and ability . . . He undoubtedly was the most prominent foreign-born citizen that ever made this country his country and our flag his flag. Had he not been handicapped by birth it might possibly reach to the presidency. On the day of the funeral, the flags of this city should be hung at half mast and appropriate exercises held by the people.

Carl Schurz,

German American

 

Carl Schurz, one of the most celebrated German Americans, was born on March 2, 1829, in Liblar near Cologne, and died on May 14,1906, in New York. In 1929, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, Germany's Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann characterized him in the following way:

 

"Carl Schutz managed to combine his love for Germany with a loyalty to his American homeland in a marvelous unity reflecting the striving of his great personality which, here as well as there, was concerned with profound moral goals that are not restricted to a single nation, but apply to all mankind."

 

 While a student in Bonn, Schurz joined what would become the German revolutionary movement of 1848. He participated in the rebellions in the Rhineland, the Palatinate and in Baden. After the defeat at Rastatt, Schurz escaped via Strasbourg to Switzerland, and later to Paris and London. From there he shipped out in the fall of 1852 to New York, along with his wife, settling in 1855 as a farmer in Watertown, Wisconsin, where he gained admittance to the bar to practice law.

 

 He became a dedicated supporter of the still young Republican Party and campaigned for Lincoln in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin. After the election, President Lincoln appointed him U.S. envoy to Spain. The first defeats of the Union Army in the Civil War occasioned his return to play an active part as Union general in the war against the Confederacy and the struggle for the emancipation of the slaves. 

 

After the devastating war had ended, leaving 600,000 dead, Schurz returned to civilian life, working as Washington correspondent for the New York Tribune, then as editor-in-chief of the Detroit Post and after l867 as co-editor and part owner of the German-language Westliche Post in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1869, he was elected U.S. senator by his new home state. Thus at the age of forty, only sixteen years after arriving in America as a homeless fugitive, Carl Schurz became a member of his adopted country's highest legislative body, an institution often more powerful than the president in those days.

 

As secretary of the interior under President Rutherford B. Hayes from 1877 to 1881, Schurz had the opportunity to begin his long championed civil service reform and make improvements in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 

He then moved to New York City, where he helped found the New York Evening Post. From 1892 to 1898 Schurz wrote the editorials for Harper's Weekly. He became nationally famous as a political writer and reformer, especially in the field of civil service administration.

 

During extensive lecture tours and new journalistic endeavors after his service in the Cabinet Schurz continued

 

He died in New York on May 14, 1906. In addition to his collected speeches, books written by Schurz include Life of Henry Clay (2 vol., 1887) and Abraham Lincoln: An Essay (1891).

Some of his quotes:

 "Our ideals resemble the stars, which illuminate the night. No one will ever be able to touch them. But the men who, like the sailors on the ocean, take them for guides, will undoubtedly reach their goal."

 

 "My Country! When right keep it right; when wrong, set it right!"  

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