The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Germans and Texans: Commerce, Migration, and Culture in the Days of the Lone Star Re-
public. By Walter Struve. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996. Pp.
xvi+261+[2 ]. Tables, illustrations, abbreviations, preface, introduction,
epilogue, appendices, notes, glossary, bibliographical essay and bibliogra-
phy, index. ISBN 0-292-77701-9. $18.95, paper.)
This book is a meticulously researched case study of three merchant brothers
and their business experiences in Germany and Texas during the 183os and
1840s.
Varying internal and external conditions affected a person in the Lone Star
Republic. In Germany, social class or status still dictated personal privileges, and
restrictions created an atmosphere of rising for a common cause, seeking a new
ideology, or considering emigration.
Letters written by merchant Charles Giesecke during 1844-1845 from Brazo-
ria and Galveston to his merchant brother in Elze, Northern Germany, were the
impetus for a very detailed genealogical search. In addition, the content of these
one-way letters supports the commonly held understanding of frontier condi-
tions in Texas, but also allows an investigation of the links between commerce
and migration.
The author explains the complexity of German, Lower Saxon regional, dis-
trict, and municipal property rights; regulations governing professional and arti-
san activities; and the "worth" of its citizens. He continues by affirming various
sources promoting emigration, particularly to Texas, by promising socio-eco-
nomic gains. Toward the end of the book he explores the pursuit and the mean-
ing of commercial success by using the Gieseckes' Texas experience described in
the letters, U.S. census, and Texas agricultural and shipping data. He makes an
interesting observation: capitalism and interdependence was mutually benefi-
cial. He demonstrates this by the simultaneous development of the port cities
Galveston and Bremen. However, the author is not critical enough in assessing
the cultural realities in Texas of 1836 to 1846 and Biedermeier, Germany, in the
1820os-1840os. Biedermeier means a smug, conventional burgher, or collectively
a middle-class society. Texas at that time could not be described as an emerging
bourgeoisie.
This book touches on many topics concerned with immigration to North
America during the nineteenth century. However, it focuses mainly on the issues
pertaining to the location and actions of the subjects: the Giesecke merchants in
Germany and Texas. Patience in reading and general knowledge of German and
Texas cultural history will aid in appreciating the wealth of information record-
ed in the biographical essay and bibliography. It is a complete and trustworthy
resource, addressing Germans and Texans, including much unknown and un-
published material from Germany and the United States.
University of Texas at Austin GERLINDE LEIDING
The March to Monterrey: The Diary of Lt. Rankin Dilworth. Edited by Lawrence R.
Clayton and Joseph E. Chance. (El Paso: Texas Western Press. Pp. xxv+g19.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed May 23, 2015.