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Merchants and Migrations: Germans and Americans in Connection, 1776-1835 (Modern Social and Economic History) [Hardcover]

Sam A. Mustafa
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 2001 0754605906 978-0754605904
Covering the period between the independence of the United States and the onset of the great German migrations to America, this book examines the first half-century of German-American relations. This was a time characterized by frequent turmoil and rapid change. At the centre of the relationship were the merchants; commercial activity served as the primary locus of change and development, as well as the catalyst and facilitator for other kinds of human interactions, from immigration to intellectual exchanges. On the American side of the equation, merchants were working from the Atlantic harbour towns such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. On the German sides, they were typically located in the two largest old Hanseatic ports: Hamburg, and more frequently, Bremen. The first four chapters of this book explore the political and socio-cultural atmosphere of commerce and diplomacy flowing around and through North Germany and the early United States. What were the mechanics of 18th-century commerce? Who were the businessmen who initiated this commerce, and what was their role in the larger spheres of politics, international relations and the spreading of culture? The second half of the book comprises four chapters which proceed roughly chronologically from the American Revolution through the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period, until the onset of Prussian economic domination in Germany. It concludes with the establishment of formal, full-time Prussian-American diplomatic relations and with the victory of the Prussian Zollverein across most of Germany.

Product Details

  • Series: Modern Social and Economic History
  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate Pub Ltd (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754605906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754605904
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,999,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deutschland Uber Alles... August 2, 2006
'The Germans make everything difficult, both for themselves and for everyone else.'-Goethe

To preface this review, although the author and I have never met in person, we have disagreed many times, and quite heatedly, on the subject of the Napoleonic Wars in general and on Napoleon and Imperial France in particular on various Napoleonic forums on the internet. That was my motivation for purchasing and reading this book, as the author had cited material found for the period during his research for this book in the subject discussions. I was curious to read it for myself.

Overall this is an excellent, well-researched volume that the author treats what many might think is a very boring subject with wit, verve, and a genuine interest in the subject matter. I found most of what the author said to be credible. In short, this book is a keeper no matter what your main interest in history may be. And, as an added benefit, the author is an excellent writer.

I have two problems with the book, one minor and one major. The minor problem is adressed by the author himself in the introduction to the book, in that the use of the term 'Germany' when referring to the geographical, vice political, entity that is peopled by ethnic Germans. This can be somewhat confusing for the novice, for Germany in the late 18th and most of the 19th centuries (until 1871 and the announcement of the German Empire under Prussia) was made up of many separate states all populated by Germans. What is inaccurate is that the greater majority of the citizens of those states considered themselves to be Saxons, Bavarians, Wurttembergers, etc., before they were Germans, and Germany then was not a united nation. Including Austria in the term 'Germany' is equally confusing.
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