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"I am going to find a new fatherland": nationalism and German colonization societies in the frontier state of Missouri




Greenway, Stephan Troy Joseph, author
Gudmestad, Robert H., 1964-, advisor
Knight, Frederick C., committee member
Hughes, Jolyon T., committee member

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Despite a recent rise in interest among American historians in regard to examining German immigration to the United States, in most cases their methodology remains rooted in the past. American scholars have long shown a tendency to examine the immigrant experience from the moment the immigrants set foot in the New World. Historians in other fields have begun to realize the importance of drawing historical connections that go beyond the borders of the United States. However, scholars studying German immigration to the United States have in large part failed to embrace this transnational methodology. Recent works of transnational history have demonstrated that by making connections to events that occurred outside of the United States, historians can gain a fuller understanding of the forces that shaped the nation's development. A series of German settlement societies worked to create a new Germany in the frontier state of Missouri during the early decades of the nineteenth century. By examining these societies connections will be made between political events occurring in the German-speaking states of Europe and expansion into the American West. It will be demonstrated that events across the Atlantic Ocean, events which fed a sense of nationalism that had been simmering since the middle decades of the eighteenth century, had an effect on the state of Missouri that is visible to this day. This transnational examination of the efforts of German nationalists to create a new Germany in the United States will not only reveal a facet of Missouri's history long neglected by historians, it will challenge American scholars to move beyond the formidable intellectual barrier the nation's borders have placed on their work, allowing them to create more nuanced, more complete narratives of the nation's past.


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