For conscience's sake: the 1839 emigration of the Saxon Lutherans
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This study traces the assimilation process of more than six hundred Saxon Lutherans who migrated to Perry County, Missouri, in 1839. As one of the few groups in the nineteenth century who chose to move to the United States because of religious persecution, their history is a unique part of American religious and immigration history. Arriving during the antebellum period, the immigrants faced the unique challenges of the young American republic, which would include the trauma of the nativist movement, frontier-type conditions on the land they purchased in Perry County, the institution of slavery, and the growing tension between North and South while living in a volatile border state. Their situation was further complicated by the distinctive nature of the German- American community, which was deeply divided along religious lines, due to the anti-faith stance of German liberals. Because the latter controlled the German-American newspapers, their opposition to the Saxons was widely known. In essence, the conflict over religion that they experienced in Saxony followed them to the United States, although it came from within their own immigrant community and not from Americans. This situation was aggravated by the discovery of the deceitfulness of their once-respected leader, Pastor Martin Stephan. This proved to be a watershed moment for the laity, who emerged with a stronger voice in their churches. The study focuses on their lives as they maintained their language in school and church and parts of their culture and also embraced the responsibilities of citizenship in the United States.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- A time for change: from the Reformation to rationalism and unionism -- The journey -- The power and tragedy of deception -- Trials, tears, and perseverance -- American politics and the complexities of the German immigrant response -- Conclusion
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Open Access (fully available)
Copyright retained by author