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Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America (Early America: History, Context, Culture) Paperback – April 7, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0801859687 ISBN-10: 0801859689

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Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America (Early America: History, Context, Culture) + Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (Early American Studies) + Early Life of the Pennsylvania Germans (Forgotten Books)
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Product Details

  • Series: Early America: History, Context, Culture
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (April 7, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801859689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801859687
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,428,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This superb book... takes its place as the most comprehensive exploration yet of eighteenth-century German migration to and settlement in America. Ambitious in subject matter, impressive in research and thematic treatment, it is a model of transatlantic investigation that greatly expands our knowledge of mobility in the Atlantic world and ethnic diversity in colonial America. By admirably conveying the variegated experiences of this demographically and culturally significant block of settlers, Roeber establishes them as players in the early American drama.

(Reviews in American History)

A landmark volume, based on a decade of diligent research in German archives and public records as well as in sources in the United States, it marks a new era of more sophisticated knowledge and interpretation of how German understandings of liberty and property were transplanted to and transformed in the New World.

(American Historical Review)

This volume is a significant contribution also to immigration studies. It is a model. Europe is a starting point. Settlement patterns are studied. Village and congregational reconstructions are utilized. Concepts in the German lexicon are analyzed. Throughout, Roeber has avoided oversimplification and recognized the richness and complexity of the German-American contribution to colonial life.

(Journal of American History)

Roeber moves colonial legal history in a direction that colonial social and political history has been traveling: multiethnic, trans-Atlantic, and comparative... Particularly valuable in this respect is Roeber's work on the Germans' Old and New World legal institutions and sources of law, inheritance practices, litigiousness, trans-Atlantic networks, and understandings of liberty and property... Although the book might be read as a study of liberty and property as 'keywords'... it is more impressive, indeed exemplary, as a social history of conceptual change.

(Law and History Review)

The most thoughtful and comprehensive study ever attempted of the German migration to eighteenth-century America and how it affected and was affected by the Revolution. Roeber's research on German law and patterns of landholding has no parallel in English-language scholarship. This is the one book that everyone should read who wishes to understand the scope and significance of the first massive voluntary migration of non-English speaking settlers to British North America.

(John M. Murrin, Princeton University)

About the Author

A. G. Roeber is professor of history and religious studies, head of the Department of History, and co-director of the Max Kade German-American Research Institute at the Pennsylvanua State University. He is the author of Faithful Magistrates and Republican Lawyers: Creators of Virginia Legal Culture, 1680-1810.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gray one on July 12, 2012
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While studying my ancestors and Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, I have read a fair number of books on the subject. This one gave me some good new information about the German states we came from, and how our customs affected our settlement here. It was also one of the hardest reads I have experienced in some time, and my reading includes technical papers. I had to be fairly stubborn to finish it. For me, some of the stories were more interesting than the arguments to support the points about cultural linkages to actions. I think that some of the arguments are a bit strained, but the interesting stories would't be in the book without linkage to the arguments. Overall, I am glad that I read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on June 23, 2013
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Nicely researched and nicely readable. An excellent book for people wanting to learn about German Lutheran and Calvinist (Reformed) ancestors from Germany to America in the 1700s, with focus on Palatines. The author adds all sorts of tidbits helping the reader imagine what it was like during those days -- adding perspective -- such as:

page 32: "A more forced scrutiny fro the tower reveals distinct geographic, economic, and institutional contours that explain both differences and commonalities among the villagers who in the eighteenth century left this area in droves for Russia, Hungary, Prussia, and less often, North America."

page 34: "Sheepherding had long been regarded as a dishonorable calling, connected in the popular mind with magical knowledge of the weather, and of the herbs, soils, water, and wood that the herders gathered to make medicines -- and poisons. Persons suspected of witchcraft were often asked if they had had contact with herders."

page 40: "But the prosperity of the Palatinate, due in no small part to its lush vineyards, had led to repeated warfare and devastation."

page 44: "Traditionally, the local authority in the Palatinate had bee the Zentgericht. An old Frankish institution, nearly identical to the English hundred courts, it was governed by ancient collections of oral wisdom handed down by the local elders, the Schoffen, whose main job it was to 'speak the law' by remembering the multiple dues, obligations, rights, and relationships perpetuated in 'sayings,' or Weistumer."

page 59: "That workers in the hayfields in Bavarian Augsburg needed to work three times as long as did similar workers at Speyer to earn a given wage illustrated the limitations place on residents of the eastern borders of the southwest.
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It is quite detailed and rather academic. I'll need to read it twice, slowly, for ease in understanding some passages.
However, I am very interested in the topic and did not expect to find a book that covers the topic so well.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By freeszal on December 20, 2009
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This book was very interested; I read it and then donated it to the Genealogical Society of Bergen County. Thank you.
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