Revolutions (1781-1852)

Independence celebrations in Philadelphia, 1819
Independence celebrations in Philadelphia, 1819

Part 2 takes place at the time of Napoleon and the following years of bitter oppression. Back home on the Rhine, the Bergmann brothers had been subjects of their sovereign, now they were citizens of the USA.

Niklas was thoughtful. “Not only the issues,” he said, “above all the people. Now I live as a free man in a free country, in a state that is supported by its citizens. Where do these citizens come from, and what do they contribute? We must write all this down, and continue what your Great Aunt Betty has begun.”

Our second chronicler is Niklas Bergmann. After the Napoleonic Wars, hunger and hardship prevail. As their farm could not produce enough to feed all of them, he, his brother and mother emigrate to live with distant relatives in the USA. Yet, time and again their thoughts go back to the old homeland, where many people live in dire poverty.
In 1848/49, revolution breaks out in Germany, but eventually it fails. The revolutionaries must flee – among them Carl Schurz, who became a great statement in the USA, and also the Bergmann brothers’ nephew Lorenz. While at the Potomac the new capital came into being, no stone remained unturned in Europe. The French Revolution shattered Europe’s monarchies, soon war broke out.

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