The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 380
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
cratic party and in their loyalty to Texas did the reasons for their actions
resemble those of other Texans. Instead, the degree of their assimilation
into Texas society, the pressures for conformity, local conditions, past
political ties and animosities, and their personal philosophies explain
most Germans' reaction to secession. Therefore, while the Germans
divided along similar lines on secession as other Texans, the reason for
this split were often significantly different.3
Nowhere is the impact of local conditions, assimilation, personal phi-
losophy, and political ties on the Germans' attitude toward secession
better illustrated than in Gillespie County. The county had been a
German outpost on the frontier since the 184os, and in i861 it still had
many of its original characteristics. It was not until the late 185os that
a significant number of non-Germans settled in the area. Even then
southern influence was small, and slavery was almost unknown. The
economy of the region was simple and dominated by semisubsistence
farming, livestock raising, and crafts like wagon-making or flour-
milling.4 Surplus foodstuffs were often sold to the United States army at
nearby Fort Mason or Fort Martin Scott. The county was outside the
mainstream of Texas commerce, though, and Fredericksburg, the major
city in the region, was still an almost self-sufficient German colony.
Beyond that, Indian attacks threatened all citizens on the border, and
in German and non-German counties alike opposition to secession grew
from the fear that secession would remove the protection which federal
troops afforded. Such a withdrawal of troops would also have been a
severe economic setback since the army was the area's best customer.
Finally, there were some influential Germans who stoutly opposed slav-
ery and supported the Union, and for those reasons opposed secession
and the Confederacy. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Germans'
Texas Germans in State and National Politics, 185o-1865" (M.A. thesis, University of Texas,
Austin, 1938), 45-59; Egon Richard Tausch, "Southern Sentiment among the Texas Ger-
mans During the Civil War and Reconstruction" (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, Austin,
3Some recent studies of Texans' conceptions of secession are Jordan, German Seed, 180-
185; Billy D. Ledbetter, "Slavery, Fear, and Disunion in the Lone Star State: Texans'
Attitudes Toward Secession and the Union, 1846-1861" (Ph.D. dissertation, North Texas
State University, 1972); C. Alwyn Barr, "The Making of a Secessionist: The Antebellum
Career of Roger Q. Mills," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXIX (Oct., 1975), 129-144.
Also, see Edward R. Maher, Jr., "Secession in Texas" (Ph.D. dissertation, Fordham Uni-
versity, 1960); Anna Irene Sandbo, "Beginnings of the Secession Movement in Texas,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVII (July, 1914), 41-73; Charles William Ramsdell,
"The Frontier and Secession," Studies in Southern History and Politics Inscribed to Wil-
hlam Archibald Dunning (New York, 1914), 63-82.
4Jordan, German Seed, 120-123; Frederick Law Omsted, A Journey Through Texas;
or a Saddle-trip on the Southwestern Frontier (New York, 1857), 431-433; U.S. Department
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/442/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.