Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 27, 1776: German-Americans and the Revolution

Journals of the Continental Congress, June 27, 1776: "Resolved, That four companies of Germans be raised in Pen[n]sylvania, and four companies in Maryland…."
     In the book Ethnic America: A History, columnist Thomas Sowell wrote, “While other Americans split into Tory supporters of England and revolutionaries for independence in 1776, German Americans split into pacifists and revolutionaries.”

     German pacifists, like the Mennonites, could not in good conscience participate in war, but they provided lifesaving care for the sick and wounded. As the Mennonites and German Baptists told the Assembly of Pennsylvania in November 1775, “We have dedicated ourselves to serve all men, in every thing that can be helpful to the preservation of men’s lives, but we find no freedom in giving or doing, or assisting in any thing by which men’s lives are destroyed or hurt.”
     In A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Mary T. Sarnecky wrote, “Closely knit family communities such as the Moravians designated men and women to nurse, providing them with instructions from the communities’ doctors.”

     In The Day is Ours!, William M. Dwyer quoted the community diary kept by the Moravian Brethren of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which noted the pacifist Moravian community was willing to bear "the burdens of the country."
     Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789: Vol. 5: June 5-October 8, 1776 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1906), 487; Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America: A History (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 53; Mary T. Sarnecky, A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 7; William M. Dwyer, The Day is Ours!: An Inside View of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, November 1776-January 1777
(New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998[1983]), 204.
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