European Immigration to Texas in the 19th Century

Dr. James C. Kearney (Burdine 314) Office Hours TTH , 2- 3pm Course

Upper Division Elective Codes:

GSD 360-38050/  EUS 346-36240/ AMS 321-30645                     T/TH 9:30-11:00

Description: In the nineteenth century waves of immigrants from several Central and Northern European countries altered the demographics of Texas significantly while accelerating both economic and agricultural development of the republic and (later) state. Painted churches, dance halls, sausage festivals, etc. still speak to the cultural legacy of these immigrants in large swaths of Texas while, amazingly, pockets of bilingualism still survive after several generations. The immigrant story often intertwined with larger themes of Texas history such as frontier, Native Americans, and slavery. Contrasting attitudes and values led to conflict at times, especially during the Civil War, since many of the immigrants openly opposed secession and/or slavery.

This course will examine both the push—the causes of European emigration—and the pull—the attraction of Texas as a destination. The goal is to further our understanding of the cultural and social forces at play in the nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic and to deepen our appreciation for the positive contributions of the many different European nationalities that have added strands to the rich and colorful tapestry of the state. Readings for classroom discussion will all come from online sources, either posted on my website or available through the Handbook of Texas online. It will not be necessary to purchase any books. We will tour the Briscoe Center for American History Studies, the Texas State Library, and the General Land Office, all located in Austin and all-important repositories of primary and secondary source information. Students will do a mini-research paper and short presentation based on research in one or all of these facilities. This is a process as opposed to product-oriented class. In other words, for the final project, the doing is equally important to what gets done.

There are several specific goals for this course. By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Discuss the social and political forces in Central Europe that drove millions to consider emigration to the New World.
  • Explain the appeal of Texas as a destination
  • Understand the nuts and bolts of immigration in the nineteenth century
  • Know the contributions of the various ethnic groups to the economic, social, and cultural development of the republic (and later state)
  • Explain how the theme of European immigration intersected with other major themes of Texas history, such as frontier, Native Americans, role of women, and slavery.
  • Become familiar with the resources that are available for further scholarly work

Grading breakdown: Tests 33% (three tests scheduled)

Participation 33%                                                                                                                                               • Attendance, including scheduled field trips (no more than three unexcused absences)         • Contribution to in-class discussions                                                                                                       • Quizzes over assigned readings

Collaborative Research project 33% (three to a group)                                                                         • Topic abstract                                                                                                                                                   • 10 minute class presentation (three power point slides)                                                                  • 5-10 page paper (double-spaced, 12 pt,, excluding bibliography and illustrations)

Please Note: The instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule should events demand such a modification. I will notify students of such changes, should they occur, both in class and through “Canvas, “ the UT online electronic service. Class 2 (Sept 2nd ) The Course of Texas History: Spanish and Mexican Texas; Texas Revolution Quiz 1: We will have a short, multiple-choice quiz over required readings at the beginning of most class periods. I have listed the readings on the syllabus and posted them as pdf documents in the UT online resource “Canvas.” Also, you will find in “Canvas” questions from which the quiz questions will come. This will be the pattern for all subsequent quizzes. Notice, all Handbook of Texas articles can also be accessed online by going to the Handbook of Texas site and putting the title in the search function.

Short Syllabus Fall 2014:

Class 1 (Aug 28th): Introduction to the Course

Class 2 (Sept 2nd): Spanish and Mexican Texas; Texas Revolution

Class 3 (Sept 4th): German History: The End of the Holy Roman Empire

Class 4 (Sept 9th): Germans, Friedrich Ernst and ‘Texas Fever’

Class 5 (Sept11th): Early German Settlements

Class 6 (Sept16th): Test 1

Class 7 (Sept 18th): Field Trip to the Briscoe Center of American History Studies

Class 8 (Sept 23rd): The Republic of Texas, 1836-1845; Sam Houston and Land Grants

Class 9 (Sept 25th): The Vormärz in Germany; Revolution 1848, and thereafter

Class 10 (Sept 30th): Field Trip to the General Land Office

Class 11 (Oct 2nd): The Society for the Protection of German Emigrants in Texas I

Class 12 (Oct 7th): The Society for the Protection of German Emigrants in Texas II

Class 13 (Oct 9th): Other pre-Civil War Central European Nationalities

Class 14 (Oct 14th): Texas Germans and the Civil War

Class 15 (Oct 16th): Test 2

Class 16 (Oct 21th): Field Trip to the State Library

Class 17 (Oct 23th): The Course of Texas History: 1866-1900

Class 18 (Oct 28th): The Politics of Immigration and the role of Railroads

Class 19 (Oct 30th): Central Europe 1866-1900/Abstract of research topic due

Class 20 (Nov 4th): The Czechs in Texas

Class 21 (Nov 6th): The Poles and Wends in Texas

Class 22 (Nov 11th): Scandinavians in Texas in Texas

Class 23 (Nov 13th): Jewish Immigration in Texas

Class 24 (Nov 18th): Legacy of the Central European Immigrants in Texas

Class 25 (Nov 20th): Test 3

Class 26 (Nov 25th): Presentations 2 (Three slide collaborative power point)

Class 27 (Dec 2nd): Presentations 2 (Three slide collaborative power point)

Class 28 (Dec 4th): Wrap-up, Make-up