Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz

Do you wish you had been born in a castle? Carl Schurz was. But he left it all behind to come to America. Schurz was born in Germany in 1829. His bright career as a student and public speaker began at the University of Bonn when he was only nineteen. But he soon found himself on the wrong side of a revolution. He landed in a German prison. He escaped to England, and from there he immigrated to the United States in 1852.

Schurz knew very little English, but in three years he not only learned a new language, but also studied law. By 1855, he became a lawyer in Wisconsin. Schurz had many friends in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri, who had also emigrated from Germany. He entered politics to help his German American friends and to speak out against slavery.

In 1860, Schurz helped Abraham Lincoln win the presidency. Lincoln appointed him minister to Spain. When he heard about the Union Army's defeat at Bull Run, and when he listened to jokes in Spain about the Union losing the war, Schurz wanted to return home to America. Lincoln agreed and made him a brigadier general. During the war, Schurz led his troop's through many major battles. He rose to the rank of major general.

Schurz returned to his political career after the war ended. In 1869, he became a United States senator from Missouri. President Hayes appointed him secretary of the interior in 1876.

Carl Schurz worked as a journalist to the end of his life in 1906. His articles and speeches had a powerful influence for the good in politics and on social issues. He gained the respect of the country he adopted and served so well. New York City built a park in his honor, which includes a statue of Schurz.

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