The “frontier”

Bodmer, Indian village
Bodmer, Indian village

[America, around 1830/40]  The United States pushed their border, the “frontier”, further and ever further westwards. More and more Indians were displaced from their traditional lands and forced into reservations.

President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) hated the Indians. He pushed through his controversial Indian Removal Act (1830) was adopted. Thousands died on the Trail of Tears, the forced migration of the Cherokee in 1838. Among the opponents of the law was Congressman Davy Crockett from Tennessee.


Niklas’ and Jenny’s son Harvey had grown up and was a bright young man. He took much interest in the events in America and Europe, and worked as a freelance journalist for the publishing house of his mother’s family in Philadelphia. So he traveled west through the new settlements areas to Texas and reported about the land and the people. “You have a lot of my Great Aunt Betty in you,” Jenny often said to him, “she too was eager to learn about the many cultures that come together here.” Niklas was a little sad because he saw his son only rarely, but Harvey had smilingly reminded him of his own words, “Daddy, you said it yourself once. It is important that we write about all the people who make our country.”


In 1836, Crockett went to Texas to join the settlers who fought for Texas’ independence from Mexico. He is one of the defenders of the Alamo in San Antonio in 1836, and died fighting. Eventually, Texas won its independence from Mexico and in 1845 joined the United States. Also more and more immigrants from Germany settled in the Midwest and Texas, many through the services of the “Gießen Emigration Society” and the “Adelsverein”.

After winning the war against Mexico in 1848, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and parts of New Mexico fell the United States. With the Oregon Treaty of 1846, the territory of the present states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho came to the USA.. In 1848, the California Gold Rush drew hundreds of thousands to the West Coast.

Bodmer’s paintings

From 1832 through 1834, painter Karl Bodmer accompanied the German explorer Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied on his Missouri expedition in the United States. His paintings illustrate the prince’s book entitled “Maximilian Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America. 1839-1841.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.