The 1740’s were the transition decade for German integration into Pennsylvania’s politics, economy, and its policy-making.

The attempted 1740-2 Proprietary “coup” against the Quaker Party-Legislature, the arrival of the Great Awakening and its unsettling impact on Quakers, Presbyterians, and Germans, the momentum provided by steady, indeed increasing impact and dynamics of new immigrant cohorts alongside established cohorts, the imposition of the Naturalization Act of 1740, the intensified German settlement in eastern counties and Philadelphia commercial/artisan community, the infusion of Germans into hinterland west, and the destabilizing policy struggle between Proprietary and Legislature triggered by the failure to institutionize paper money as currency, debt and credit, fiscal system under chronic threat of war or actual war, the symmetry of Quakers and Germans in responding to war, constitute the proverbial “Perfect Storm”. That the 1750’s would be consumed by a world war, and the reaction to the world it created only ensured the tensions unleashed during the forties, would continue to evolve under fire in the fifties. Pennsylvania was in flux over these decades, and into gaps, chasms and vacuums the Germans would pour.

The infusion, the juncture of Germans with Quakers, became a defining feature of the evolving Midlands political culture, and a defining alliance-politics/partisanship-cultural paradigm of much of Pennsylvania’s eastern core policy system. Joining in with the anti-Proprietary nexus, Germans carved out a niche in Philadelphia’s-Pennsylvania’s commercial elite, and its young tramped out to settle western counties, and even, to some extent the trans-Appalachian west. Drawing a distinction between themselves and the Scots-Irish Presbyterians, the Germans pioneered a path that future non-English immigrants would experience. In so doing, they would not only enter into conventional, mainstream mercantilist and early capitalist business, but also rose as skilled artisans.

Germans still dominated a good deal of the eastern hinterland agricultural economy and small towns of today’s central and northeastern counties, but their so-called “deference” (acquiesce to malapportionment) to the Quaker Party governance seemingly muted their involvement and role in conventional politics and policy-making–unlike the Scots Irish who let everyone know where they stood. On the other hand, the homogenous clustering of German settlement produced a coherent ethnic elite, and permitted the development of shared values, common institutions, and most importantly an identity. Arguably they were the first to mobilize into an identity advocacy, self-help, and empowerment–all proto-types, if not actual beginnings of modern community development. The German Society still functions to this day. But it is their fusion with a new Quakerism that blended Quaker values with German predispositions that provided a cultural base on which revolutionary and democratic politics and policy-making could tap, and risk violating at their peril.

All these emerged from the 1740’s and continued through the 50’s and found visible expression in the 60’s. There are so many moving parts to this story, one dependent on the others, that I think it best we simply tell as best we can how this evolution and development proceeded more or less chronically. We will let the reader see for herself how the pieces came together–and why. But we draw no firm conclusions that this path is inevitable for groups and peoples who followed in future ethnic/racial movements, although it is likely many will see some similarities. By the end of this tale, however, all readers will see the infusion and integration of Germans into Pennsylvania’s cultures and policy-making was transformation, a metamorphosis upon which modern Pennsylvania and Midlands political culture rest.

As the reader will discover below, my “sense” of political culture departs significantly from much of the existing political culture literature. It does so not in terms of why political culture is important, but how it can be defined, and in that we confront with more actual behavior how political culture came to be formed in British North America during the 16th and 17th century–and in later books and modules, how it adjusted to change in different regions and time periods. We view political culture as “living”, capable of change and modification–even redefinition. It is not an inflexible adherence to certain specified values, beliefs, etc., that are changeless. In this module we see my version of how a vital and pivotal contemporary political culture was initially “formed” in Pennsylvania (and later in Ohio) beginning in the first half of the 18th century and jelled in its second half.

Change in Quakerism: 1713-1739: Post William Penn Generational Change

Much of the literature on Quaker political culture emanates from early, pure and intense (17th century) Quakerism. But as Winthrop and the Puritans would discover, second and third generation had their own ideas concerning beliefs, priorities, and values. While this module’s chief focus is on the German, and the blurring of German and Quaker cultures, the initial dynamic that allowed, perhaps required, Germans and Quakers to develop political accommodations and shared participation, was the change in the original Penn era Quakerism that began after the disruption of Queen Anne’s War which ended in 1713, and was firmly evident by 1739, when the Awakening made its first appearance in Pennsylvania. Generational cohorts, born in North America did not share their parents sense of religious persecution, and the intensity of their personal commitment to Quaker values and doctrine varied among Quaker families, and within families as well. Love, as they say, always finds its way, and marriage within the faith became a very important concern of pious Quakers by the 1730’s. Diversity, after all was a Pennsylvania trait, and apparently inclusiveness followed from it.

Older Quakers feeling the stress of change, and the different conditions and realities found in the New World hardened their already firm beliefs in what they defined as Quakerism’s essentials. Doctrine became dogma, and membership as a Quaker required at minimum public adherence to the dogma–but preserved in one’s own thinking one’s personal Inner Light. One’s Inner Light could be what it was, it just could not be publicly expressed. Conformity to dogma was a precondition to participation in worship, and attendance at Quaker annual meetings. Quaker dogma conformity seemed more and more necessary, as Quakers became increasingly a minority in their own colony. When Penn’s sons took over, they were no longer intense and pious Quakes, and the most powerful and durable Thomas, converted to Anglicism. In the early decades Quakers dominated elections and they naturally dominated the Quaker Party. In economic affairs, the material world, every bit as natural to a Quaker as his religious world, private profit, and dealing with a those attracted to the principles of the Enlightenment required its own tolerance, and that too had to affect the thinking and behavior of Quakers. The affluence that resulted from successful economic life, to which Quakers enjoyed a head start, also created among many Quakers a material base and lifestyle less congruent with practices of early Quakerism.

An astute scholar of Quaker political culture and politics, E. Digby Baltzell alerts us to two important factors that underscore the transformation in Pennsylvania and its culture, and the dynamics that characterized the Quaker Reformation. In the Penn Era we became very aware of Quaker unwillingness to be governed by William Penn, and a clear preference for representative government expressed in the provincial legislature. Usually, that unwillingness to be governed is subsumed under the label of “dissent” and, if anything Quakers took considerable pride in expressing their dissent, or in today’s parlance “saying what one thinks”. Baltzell, however, raises a more important aspect of Quaker anti-authoritarian culture–one that really captures the politics we have been describing in this history–“To govern is absolutely repugnant to the avowed principles of Quakerism“. To govern others was not something Quakerism could easily accommodate [99] E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (the Free Press, 1979) p. 154.

Quaker tolerance reflected not only a freedom to practice one’s religion, but also a strong willingness to let other live their own lives, so long as they were free to live theirs. In the latter respect, Quaker tolerance reflects “indifference” to the behaviors and beliefs of others, and the act of compelling attitudinal and behavior change through government, i.e. governing, just flat out went against the Quaker grain. For example, throughout the controversy over war and Quaker pacifism one constantly finds Quakers unwilling to extend their pacifism to others–but in that they were the governing party, their individual belief could not be compromised, and so the government, by almost default, was required to pacifism. Secular Quakers could allow “voluntary militias” and pass debt issuance for war purposes by bypass semantics; their pious brethren could not make that leap. After 1755, fed up with squaring their cultural circle, we shall not be surprised that pious Quakers will simply chose to withdraw from governance. Puritans, we shall discover, they were not–and as we also shall discover, they will similarly turn to social justice and empowerment concerns, their approach will be dramatically different–and that distinction, amazingly still can be found in the Midlands approach (discussion, advocacy and gradualism) to social justice/community development, and the Boston Yankee “progressive” approach (one that uses government to compel social change).



Another Baltzell observation alerts us to the impact of economic and historical change on Quakers. As we observed many times, Quakers participated fully in economic life, and were not opposed to profit, nor wealth creation. They also respected what we have come to call the Protestant work ethic and incorporated it into their own behavior. The logic of these beliefs, necessarily led to individual inequality, and whatever one thinks of religious toleration, one should not think Quakers advocated a “classless society”. The problem, which appears certainly after the 1830’s, is that Philadelphia and Pennsylvania was not a classless society, but just the opposite, a society of rich, poor and middling. Moreover, the Quaker commitment to family ensured any wealth would be passed on to one’s children, and generational change meant that certain successful families continued holding wealth, and through that wealth and their social/religious status they were able to develop into generation after generation of elite families–the Philadelphia Social Register speaks for itself. Politics and Quaker religious bodies (Annual Meeting) world reflect the power of these wealthy elite families–and over time in the Quaker Reformation, the non-elite Quakers would speak their mind against the elite Quaker “betters”.

By the end of the 1730’s that natural dominance had dissipated, and a powerful, mostly Anglican commercial elite had risen from the robust Philadelphia economic base. Quakers, on the other hand, with age settled in their hinterland plantations-estates, and their participation in political life–never their strong point or chief interest-lessened considerable. With a political agenda constantly revolving around war, and a unsympathetic London Board of Trade, politics became a burden. The fight with the Proprietary intensified as the religious distinctions between the two–which William Penn had enjoyed–lessened. So too was the issue of war and Quaker pacifism. Relations with Native Americans were deteriorating, and would be the prime “western” issue during the 1740’s and 1750’s. That spelled tension in western counties, and even with eastern counties where pockets of the native tribes still resided. Self-defense was a concern whether one was Quaker or not. The never-ending war with French and Indians started in 1739 and would continue intermittently until 1768. The hostility of London to Quaker pacifism intensified as their perceived need for appropriations and provincial militia increased. By the 1750’s secular Quakers especially had made their peace with militia, and with the need for provincial self-defense, and while unwilling to publicly break with pious Quakers on passage of military appropriations until absolutely compelled to do so, a flexibility had begun to appear in majorities within the Quaker Party, now dominated by Benjamin Franklin.

The retirement of the powerful William Lloyd in 1731, and the 1739 scandal of the intemperate Quaker who succeeded him as Speaker (John Kinsey) only revealed the disparity between Quaker conformity and a Quaker’s personal behavior. By that time, it was apparent Quakers had fragmented into “secular” and “pious” in their personal behavior and private beliefs. The unity of Quakerism, however, was maintained by the public conformity of the secular Quakers to the dogmatic conformity of the pious. The contentious issue of paper money debt for military purposes  developed into an open sore in Pennsylvania’s body politic, and a source of discontent with the majority non Quaker public. Pious Quakers still were elected to the Legislature, led by the Pemberton family, but secular Quakers led by Speaker Isaac Norris, often with Franklin’s intervention, found a way to pass through a succession of stalemates and battles, from all sides–but especially with the Proprietary. The pious Quaker’s took the lead in Indian relationships and therefore western strategy, but the secular Quaker deferral to their pacifism would hurt the Quaker Party’s standing in the western counties and frontier. Competent and aggressive pious Quakers were able to hold their own in active politics and in the Legislature, but increasingly, often under public pressure, more and more pious Quakers withdrew from politics to their estates or to their economic interests: plantation, trade, or even manufacturing. Quaker natural disinclination to government and public life increased in the 1740’s and would culminate in their wholesale withdrawal during the 1750’s.


By the mid-1750’s certainly, this wear and tear between lifestyle, economics, intermarriage, enlightenment, war, paper money and pacifism/militia had taken their toll on the Quaker community. Yet another generation cohort had reached their coming of age, and the new generation was not unified in its thinking, expectations, and even values-beliefs. Of interest at this point was that portion of the new cohort who perceived the compromises of their elders was leading to the destruction of what was core and essential to Quakerism. “They called for a rejection of worldliness and a return to purity. The dilemma they addressed themselves to as as age old in Christianity”. Quakerism was enjoying its own Reformation, and while sharing some of the teachings preached a decade earlier by Whitefield, pious young Quakers came to accept that Quaker purity could only exist in isolation of the material world–and politics. Quaker missionary efforts were put aside, and these Quakers turned their attention to matters that in 2020 would be referred to as “social justice reform” “in preparation of the millennium”  [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 219.

To the conservative Quaker mentality, which saw a dichotomy between moral and secular worlds, this division [separation of politics from religion] as logical. Primitive [early] Friends, alienated from English society, drew the same dualistic distinction, isolating themselves in purity … [yet] charging into [reforming] the corrupt world with apocalyptic messages. Conscientious Quakers in the mid-eighteenth century saw in the founding of the Society a golden age, while provincial historians discovered the same qualities in the colony’s beginnings. … Quaker were [hence] to forsake worldly ties, simultaneously strengthening themselves and the Society through a return to purity to the golden age. Friends [in general], however were not of one mind, but two, those who saw the crisis, and those who did not. And the [Annual] meeting, ever fearful of schism, was governed by consensus, [and] the inertia of almost unanimous consent [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), pp. 221-3.

It came to a head in the several years after 1755, with the French and Indian War in full Pennsylvania disaster. Reform Quakers refused to pay taxes, join militias, paper money debt for war. The gap between pious and secular Quakers in the Legislature resulted in many of the former leaving the Legislature, surrendering their offices, and leaving politics. The Annual 1757 Quaker Meeting seems a watershed in that its members voted not to pay property taxes as they were compromised by financing of war-related expenses. The meeting reacted to the exodus of a significant number of pious Quakers, under pressure from London and local popular opinion, from the Legislature as support for their isolation and reformism. Pennsylvania Society officials after that were more sympathetic to the growing social justice movement within Quakerism–leaving the Legislature’s secular Quaker Quakers under Norris out on a limb, and informally making it necessary for them to defend reform initiatives as best they could.

Provincial Society organization tilted downward to its local more representative branches which were able to exert influence over local Quakers in public office, the Annual Meeting, however, had developed over the years its own structure, and its membership, considerably more wealthy and composed of elite aristocratic families, was the entity that endorsed the slate of Quakers for the Legislature. Quaker political affairs, by the late 1750’s, was characterized by factions (pious) led by Pemberton, and (secular) led by Norris. After 1755, the Friends expelled from their membership for breach of discipline a number of former adherents in ever-increasing numbers. By the 1760’s an estimated 22% of Quakers had been disowned by the Society [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), pp. 223. The removal of secular Quakers from the Society after 1756 took on an elite-mass, urban-rural dimension, as “wet” (secular-urban-elite) were removed in favor of reformist-rural non-elites. The Quaker urban aristocracy, the bedrock of the former Quaker Party leadership, was effectively being driven from Quaker membership. The reformers, on the other hand, established the “Friendly Association” in 1756 “to effectuate pacifism by dealing fairly but extralegally with the {Native Americans]”–which explains our earlier description in our module on western affairs, Isaac Pemberton’s role in negotiations with Native Americans in opposition to the Legislature and the Proprietary

Now internally divided, Pennsylvania Quakers–with one faction leaving conventional politics and pursuing a social justice mission–effectively was unable to dominate its own Quaker Party internal politics–losing ground to Franklin and his loyalists, Anglicans, the Philadelphia commercial elite–and the Proprietorship with its Scot Presbyterian supporters. Obviously in this context, the need for allies, Germans being the most willing and policy-supportive, were the almost only alternative. But before we deal with that political alliance between secular/Legislative Quakers and the German voter, we must first deal with a surprise development which also arose from the post 1755 Quaker Reformation: the rise of Quaker Community Development.

the Rise of Quaker Reform-based Community Development

The Quaker Reformation was not dramatically begun with any nailing of theses on the church door, but 1755-6 seems appropriate as its launch period. Up to that point, Quakers were chiefly inward-looking, with their people-assistance focused to help Quakers with various needs. Their charitable efforts were never confined to or defined by pressures found in urban areas, certainly not to immigrants. While Quakers engaged in missionary work, that was intended to expand Quakerism rather than serve the unfortunate or empower the powerless–which are distinguishing goals of community development. As the drive of many Quakers to pull back from politics, and worldly matters gathered momentum, however, so did the desire to return to early Quaker fundamentals, and that included charity, dissent and social change. Their religion had been referred to by Quakers, as a Holy Experiment–and so was their colony. Pulling back from the world did not mean isolation or indifference to it, instead the Quaker Reformation reinvigorated the notion of advocating social change derived from their religious values.

This second ‘holy experiment’ characterized not by the buoyant optimist of its predecessor, but an admonishing moralism born from a feeling of crisis, demonstrated a new approach to working in the world which disdained politics, and in addition expanded the areas of charity to people previously on the periphery of Quaker consciousness [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 225.

The obvious candidate for their first initiative was the resident Native American tribes under pressure from the Proprietary, British colonial policy, and up to 1750 Legislative-Quaker Party low priority status. By 1755 the Native American western hinterland was in crisis–in fact engaged in the French and Indian War. The leading pious Quaker family was the Pemberton, and they converted what remained of their legislative power into a privileged, if controversial seat at the Indian negotiations. Sitting around the campfire, smothered by three other opposing allies, however, was clearly a dead-end, and so Isaac Pemberton wanted to devise an end run with direct contact with the resident tribes. He needed some legitimacy to do so, and the vehicle that Franklin had employed several times over the last decade, incorporating a private group (junto) into a formal legal entity to pursue a non-profit goal-initiative seemed ideal.

Accordingly in 1756 the “Friendly Association” (referred to in earlier modules) was incorporated. It served as Pemberton’s vehicle to raise resources and a purpose independent of the legislature for working directly with the resident tribes. The Friendly Association produced decidedly mixed results, it did produce a 1758 Treaty which made Forbes expedition against Fort Pitt a success. An offshoot, the New Jersey Association for Helping Indians, was also formed, and together their mission was clearly one of social justice for native Americans, and not conversions. Instinctively, the next movement was to utilize the natural instincts of Quakers to help their own, but to combine that with new groupings in need. Municipal corporations like the Philadelphia Hospital, and the local government district, the Overseers of the Poor, attracted many reformer Quakers into voluntarist activities. But the initiative which set Quakers apart from nearly everybody else, was their attention to Blacks (Negroes), free, but especially enslaved.

Quakers in the Legislature had earlier attempted to limit/end the slave trade–but were stymied by the Board of Trade in London (1712, and again in 1773). Periodic comment and “calling out” of Quaker slavetraders periodically had rocked the Quaker Annual Meeting. The movement to assist Negroes did not gather steam until it developed a leader John Woolman, a persuasive leader of the Reformation movement. In 1758 Woolman at the Yearly Annual Meeting successfully got the approval of the Meeting to be “excluded” (but not disowned) from the Friends Meeting–a compromise. A committee was appointed to visit slaveholders, with a goal to convince them to liberate their slaves.

Woolman led these visits and his approach to convince slaveholders reveals the instinctive manner by which Quakers tried to achieve social change: discussion, appealing to the interests of those who held slaves as well as to the moral concerns of owning them. He did not directly attack the slave institution, rather elevated the discussion so that the slave holder who responded favorably could think of himself as a liberator, an Enlightenment rational actor, and even to an advance of individual “liberty” which in the 1760’s was an exceedingly dynamic aspiration. “It was not humanitarianism alone which led Quakers to abolitionism, but the added fact that their anguished thinking about identity in terms of benevolence forced them to face the problem of color while other Americans unthinkingly allowed racism to become a parameter of nationality” [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 228. The visits were surprisingly effective and there is evidence that Quakers increased manumission in the twenty years previous to the American Revolution, and slave purchase by Quakers also diminished although much of that could be attributed to the rise in indentured servants in that period.

There is, however, no evidence that slave holding in Philadelphia or among Quakers actually diminished. Nor were Negroes, freed or otherwise, admitted into Quakerism. Yet in the period leading to the Revolution, the Quaker Reformation paved the ground for the development, and the formal 1775 incorporation of yet another Quaker reform corporations: the Pennsylvania Abolition Society (PAS)

The PAS created the world’s first abolitionist organization, and set the tone for the American abolitionist movement before 1830. Though initially composed of Quaker antislavery theorists who sought private conversions of slaveholders, the PAS quickly established itself as a prestigious organization of politically oriented strategists. Based on an examination of the tactical leadership and strategy of the society, abolitionism appears to have been part and parcel of a post-Revolutionary world marked by deferential governing types and Enlightenment sensibilities. Dominated by societal elites–wealthy philanthropists, political representatives, businessmen, and above all, well-known lawyers–the PAS advocated gradual abolitionism by means of painstaking legal work and legislative action … [labeled by its longtime president (William Rawle) as] dispassionate reform. Emotional appeals to the public and religious zeal had no place in its procedure[99] Richard S. Newman, the Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p.4.

–just in time for the 1776 Pennsylvania state constitution in which “the hopes of post-revolutionary reformers that those who had been held in bondage would become respectable and respected citizens of the new nation [which was expressed in the 1776 first Pennsylvania state constitution that proclaimed ” ALL  men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights” Gary B. Nash, Forging Freedom: the Formation of Philadelphia Black Community, 1720-1840 (Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 2-3. As Nash concludes “For African Americans Philadelphia was no city of brotherly love, but at least it was a city where, almost from the beginning, there were some who pricked the conscience of those who dealt in human flesh” [99] Gary B. Nash, First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Human Memory (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p. 44.

The Quaker position on slavery raised complicated concerns among non-Quakers, and even colonies like Massachusetts. It seems clear that Americans in general distinguished between their opinion on Blacks, and the issue of slavery–with the latter making many very uncomfortable and awkward. It is apparent as well that until the actual revolution and the the Declaration of Independence that the reduction or, heaven forbid, the ending of slave trade was a bridge too far. The complete and instant emancipation of slaves was a position even the Quakers could not hold. Having said this, however, it is worth a brief mention that even the Scots Irish (who stereotypically would not have been thought of a even marginally pro-slave) were not comfortable with slavery. That will become apparent in our history in our chapters-modules on the settlement of Kentucky and Tennessee in the 1790’s. The Germans, on which I focus in these modules, were very uncomfortable with slavery itself, and the slave trade–which I repeat is a real exception in American public opinion at that time. This is another one of the Quaker-German shared values, which we will describe below.

Before moving into discussion of Quaker-German shared values, it is fitting that we conclude for the moment our discussion of Quaker community development in the colonial period. Quaker community development was not the only form of colonial community development–we will see another form in Massachusetts and others in New England and New York. In anticipation of these other approaches to community development, we will observe here that Quaker CD did center on “minorities” and the outliers, and their innate sense of the applicability of the golden rule to all people, and the logical extension of the valuing of religious toleration, elevated their concern for the poor, sick and in general downtrodden. Local government structure, the Overseers of the Poor, were an initial aspect created by Penn for local administration.

We do see that CD did attract the well-off and aspiring mobile adherent, and we do not that slavery was not uncommon among Quakers, and even pious Quakers such as William Allen engaged in a limited experiment in slave trading-importation. Rather than arguing out of both sides of my mouth this bimodal fracture in Quaker political culture translated into real life as a decidedly deep attraction of entrepreneurship, trade, finance, and Mainstream ED, but the culture afforded reasonable room for a Quaker, reformist, gradualist, legal approach to CD to develop. Quaker colonial CD arose principally during and immediately after the 1750ish Quaker Reformation. It will gather considerable steam with the Revolution. In the last quarter of the 18th century, during the period of the Early Republic and Washington’s Administration, Quaker community development (abolitionism most prominently) will be demonstrably observable.

To offer a hopefully helpful example of post1750 Quaker style community development, the section below briefly details the early life of Philadelphia’s most prominent Quaker-derived community developer. To emphasize this individual’s conformity to the Pennsylvania patterns of CD, I have not included who he is until the end. Many will correctly name this individual as he is a relatively well-known Founding Father.

An Early Example of a (Semi) Quaker Community Developer

The fracture of Quakerism that began during the 1740’s produced some rather unpredictable results. A young lad, born in 1746, of a fourth generation Quaker father (whose grandfather had fought with Cromwell in the English Revolution, and had settled in Pennsylvania as a Penn Quaker) and a Presbyterian English mother. The father had moved from a prosperous ninety acre farm north of Philadelphia to Philadelphia to start a new gunsmith business. In a matter of three years he was dead, and his eldest son, up to then a fifth generation Quaker, was cast adrift in the hands of his Presbyterian mother, whose family had been notable in Pennsylvania politics. Selling what she had (including their slaves, excepting one), his mother started her own commercial establishment, a general store.

His mother turned out an excellent entrepreneur, and when her eldest was nine, sent him to West Nottingham Academy (a preparatory school for the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton) which had itself been established by her sister’s husband–a Presbyterian minister trained by Whitefield himself. The lad did well scholastically, received an education exceptional for any North American–and a devout Presbyterian. The young  twenty year old, went for his doctorate in medicine at Edinburgh Scotland–where he personally met with some of the great Enlightenment names (Hume), became a protégé of Pennsylvania’s lobbyist Benjamin Franklin, and participated in intellectual groups and coffee house acquaintances with Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, historian Catherine Macaulay. In 1768 he graduated from Edinburgh with an M.D (trained by noted Quaker doctors)., traveled to Paris (where he witnessed Louis XV pick up a woman of the evening at a bar–putting a dent in his image of divine-right royalty), and in 1769 returned via New York to Philadelphia to seek his new career (medicine) in North America.

For all his good times and travels, despite his meeting with the who’s who of the Enlightenment, he arrived in Philadelphia, broke. While in Europe, however, he had secured a position at the College of Philadelphia, Department of Medicine (today’s University of Pennsylvania, and Franklin’s 1751 startup). It did not pay much {at first, but Thomas Penn donated a ton of chemistry equipment, and students, paying six pounds apiece, flocked to Rush’s classes], and until the Revolution in 1775 he made no private fortune. He could have parlayed it all to develop a clientele with prestigious/wealthy Philadelphia elites, the city had tons of them, but instead he took up the practice of “street medicine”. Rush explained his decision as “my natural disposition made this mode of getting into business agreeable to me”; … years later he would look back on his early days in the slums and ascribe “the innumerable blessings of my life (to} my services of His (God’s) poor children[99] Harlow Giles Unger, Dr. Benjamin Rush: the Founding Father who healed a wounded nation (Da Capo Press, 2018), p. 30. To me Rush began his career as a (private non-profit) street-level community developer working in a slum clinic.

His opportunity to achieve a lasting contribution to medicine and the poor came in the mid-1770’s when he got the chance to combat a Philadelphia smallpox epidemic by trying a procedure he had witnessed in London: administering a vaccine with a small jab/open skin and as he said “stick the poor with pox-infected serum free of charge every Tuesday morning in a room at the [Pennsylvania] State House (i.e. today’s Independence Hall). Quickly he recruited a bunch of like-minded and well-intention Philadelphia physicians and incorporated the Society for Inoculating the Poor Gratis, and the service at the State House became a daily affair [99] Harlow Giles Unger, Dr. Benjamin Rush, p. 33 .

In these years, 91769( Rush was admitted to Franklin’s other startup, the American Philosophical Society, and in 1774 he published through it his study of “Diseases and Remedies” of North American Indian tribes, as paper which asserted and provided evidence that Europeans had introduced smallpox, venereal disease and scurvy (and gout) to the Indians, he also joined the newly-incorporated PAS (Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society)–and a publication he wrote against slave trade caused an negative upstir in Boston among other places. Not to worry, his publication introducing and promoting “golf”, which he had also seen in study at Edinburgh gained him a following. I think the reader is getting the picture we have a younger, more Progressive version of Franklin’s renaissance man in Benjamin Rush. Not unsurprising then, was Rush getting caught up in all this “liberty” stuff that exploded after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Enlightenment reformer, activist, and now political revolutionary–a dreary, and quite predictable path for an early American community developer. When they arrived at Philadelphia to attend the First Continental Congress, both Sam and John Adams stayed at his house for the first few nights in town–Rush had rushed their arriving coach, opened the door and said he was a protégé of Franklin and then made his offer. A shy man to boot. Graduate students should learn this lesson, it’s better than writing a social justice essay.

By 23 this young man had already quite a biography, but he was just starting and along his future career opportunities was to become a Founding Father of the United States, and for our purposes in this history–a Founding Father of American Community Development. P.S. In 1775 he married a fifth generation Philadelphia Quaker, said to be extraordinarily beautiful fifteen year older.

His name was (and still is) Benjamin Rush. His personal odyssey had led him from being a fifth generation Quaker, to a staunch Presbyterian, a well-trained and met Enlightenment scholar and doctor with a prestigious education at one of the finest schools of medicine, to begin a new medical career in New York. In Rush we see the metamorphosis from pious Quaker roots, unleashed in the Quaker Reformation, to become an Enlightenment scholar and professional, on his way to become an American Revolutionary, Washington’s Army Surgeon General, a member of the Constitutional Convention, …. We shall use Rush as an example, albeit not a pure one, as Quaker Philadelphia’s earliest best example of a practicing community developer (alongside of course, his mentor Benjamin Franklin and his generation co-patriot, economic development switch hitter (both Mainstream ED and Community Development), Trench Coxe.

Synergy and Symmetry of German and Quaker Political Cultures: Questioning Deference

Let’s start out by integrating the previous modules that describe German/Scots Irish migration and settlement previous to 1740. The starting premise is Quakers, as a grouping, shared more with the Germans, particularly the Pietistic Germans who settled into Penn-era initial settlement. When more mainstream Germans arrived in numbers during the late 1720’s–along with the Scots Irish–relations got a bit more complex. At that point Quakers differentiated Scots Irish from Germans, and developed, as the years went by a greater appreciation for them–not so with the Scots Irish. There are several reasons for this appreciation, and the two groupings were able over the long-term to mind-meld a bit, and to learn to work together, as they tended to value similar attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors such as hard work. This will be the first step in the development of a Midlands political culture, which will evolve from the initial Penn-era political culture.

We will build on the beliefs, preferences, and shared experiences both Germans and Quakers. It is my belief and assertion that beginning in this initial period, and continuing through the decades discussed in this module, that both ethnic groupings (English Quakers and Germans) evolved shared attitudes, predispositions and even beliefs that allowed each grouping to act in unconscious and conscious manner in politics and policy-making. Never identical, or clones of each other, both groupings did not view themselves as two peas in a pod, usually did not reside side by side, except in the earliest years, but, Germans especially, concentrated in hinterland homogenous communities, or, as affluent Quakers were inclined, in country estates and plantations.

They learned to work together, and how to integrate their approach to politics so that when motivated they responded in conjunction with each other. This is very evident as Germans did not participate in political life, and left governance to the more affluent and activist Quakers. Historians have often referred to this as “deference” by Germans to Quakers in political affairs. Deference is a term often used to describe voting and political patterns in colonial America, and its use in Pennsylvania toward the Germans, I believe, conveys a willingness to continue with the governance/ class patterns of late medieval England or, this case proto-Germany/Alsace and Switzerland. Our take is the Germans, for a variety of reasons, left governance to the Quakers, and among those reasons was the perception that Quakers and they shared the same values and priorities. That changed, as the German Third Wave of migration began in the 1730’s and peaked between 1748 and 1754. Quakers became a minority in their own colony in the process, and as we shall discover, they turned to the cultural allies, for support–1740-2 was the turning point. From that point on the two cultures (the Germans were in process of defining their own) evolved into a political alliance, and, in tough times and good, that alliance shaped and made a common culture.

Germans did not defer to “their betters”, but rather felt comfortable with the direction of Quakers, the Quaker Party, as it struggled with the Penn Proprietary in the Pennsylvania legislature–and at other levels in the policy system. Germans did not learn their culture from Quakers, they came with their own, and those beliefs, attitudes, values, priorities and expectations came together over the following decades to fashion a “German” political sub-culture, which after a period of some testing, was able to blend with a revamped Quaker political culture, into our Midlands political culture. Of note, Scots Irish were perceived by both as different from them, and not in “a nice way”. Cast aside, Scots Irish developed their own political culture, made allies where they could (Penn Proprietary or the Proprietary-Presbyterian Party), or as characteristic of their behavior, “moved on” to greener pastures.

In that the pattern of geographic settlement of Germans and Scots Irish only marginally overlapped, the two founded communities or migrated into different counties. Scots Irish, for example will dominated trans-Appalachian counties (Ohio Valley areas), while Germans will move out, northwest, and west from Philadelphia and settle in Philadelphia’s eastern and Appalachian foothold counties. This will partially explain the development of Pennsylvania sub-regions, each supported by their dominant and associated mixture of political cultures. Germans and Quakers (along with Anglicans in Philadelphia) will meld into an eastern core county political culture. That’s a quick and simply expressed “look see” as to how this module/topic evolves. The first task is to identify key shared values, beliefs, and governance preferences that underscored their mutual evolution toward a shared political culture.

Shared Values/Lifestyles

First, in several ways Germans and Quaker English shared similar backgrounds despite different language and ethnic history. Language divided them, but that issue was ameliorated during the 1750’s. Both Quakers and most German migrants of this time period had roots with either pietistic Protestantism (Moravians, for example) or with Lutheranism. Neither were Calvinist (Zwingli). Scots-Irish were Calvinist, Presbyterians or Baptists. Quakers were descended from Ana-Baptists. That distinction mattered greatly in Massachusetts as the Pilgrims were similarly distinct from the Puritans, and that distinction did not work out well with the Pilgrims. We will return to this below in that the distinction is crucial. Quakers and Germans shared a common religious ancestry. In any case, German Pietists in particular were exceedingly compatible with Penn Quakers. There was little conflict between German Pietists and English Quakers … Quakers, by and large, welcomed German settlers, and lived comfortably beside them. German speaking elites, for their part, rapidly assimilated English culture[99] David Hackett-Fischer, Albion’s Seed (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 442

Both were refugees, Quakers more from religious persecution, Germans from war. Quakers were persecuted by Church of England or Anglicans, and had come to America to start a world in which religious discrimination and persecution were verboten–and that included at least in theory, admission of Catholic papists whom Quakers held in great contempt as a religious enemy. Germans as war refugees fled from devastation and the threat or the reality of invading armies. They fled from collapsed or depression economies, many having effectively lost whatever assets and landholdings they had. Most had no hope for a future economically in Germany and America was a new world for them as well–a new world more economic in nature, but also sociological, as like the Fiddler on the Roof, they wanted to jump-start old communities in a new world. The German Third Wave was overwhelmingly Lutheran and German (Dutch) Reformed (about 50% of all German-speaking Immigrants came to Pennsylvania between 1749 and 1754), and that will require additional thought later in this module, but the distinction between Calvinist Protestantism and our Pennsylvania-relevant German varieties of Protestantism will still stand. When we talk of Germans and Scots Irish, Protestant though they might all be, they view the world in fundamentally different terms and values. Fire and water would be too harsh a comparison, but temperamentally and in terms of religious values they will each prefer to settle in their own homogeneous communities.

Quakerism is a religious movement that was born in England’s former Viking northern counties [99] David Hackett-Fischer, Albion’s Seed (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 446, p. 450-1 –borderland people who had not integrated closely with a dominant English, Anglo-Saxon-Norman policy system [[99] David Hackett-Fischer, Albion’s Seed, p. 438ff . The waves of Germans that came to America in this time period were from the Rhine-Palatine area of present-day western Germany, and also included Swiss, and other border Germanic sub-groupings. They were mostly Protestant, as were of course the Quakers, but Catholics and Jews, Huguenots. Quakers in Pennsylvania were also mixed, conversion being an essential element of their religion, they attracted and included many from missionary work. The first two waves of German Pennsylvania migration were directly facilitated by Penn (and Fox’s) missionary work in the Rhine/Palatine/Dutch areas previous to their arrival in America.

Initially rural Quakers attracted an urban following, and broke through class lines into commercial and even aristocracy (William Penn). Quakers were multi-class while Germans were usually peasant-serf (yes serfdom still existed on the Rhine).The point in all this is that neither grouping shared a common DNA, nor even  common demographic and socialization patterns. The solidarity was based on shared attitudes, values, beliefs and presumably expectations. Importantly, both were repelled, “turned off” by common practices, political initiatives, and certain events. Anti-war and pacifism, we shall see, were almost instinctively viewed by both as profoundly negative–one for more religious reasons, the other because they suffered from it and its effects. In both cases, however, their theology or avoidance of war did have limits, and Colonial American life tested those limits, almost daily. Neither viewed government in positive terms, and neither looked to government as the means by which they grew economically, and their political values included a highly placed concern with government’s ability to hurt them, and stymie their individual initiatives, way of thinking, or lifestyle. Both held views that epitomized in the extreme limited government. They much preferred private action and initiative. The centerpiece of both world views was the individual and the family–not the community. For both Quakers and these Germans, it does NOT “take a village” to do something.

What did separate them, however, was their experience with English proto-democracy, proto-civil rights, and England’s budding proto-mercantile capitalism. In the earliest days of the Pennsylvania colony, the more Pietistic Germans seemed to easily embrace English political norms, and their socialization patterns encouraged their instillation. Daniel Pastorius, founder of Germantown, wrote to his sons: ”’ though you are of high Dutch parents, yet remember that your father was naturalized and you were born in an English Colony, consequently each of you [is] ‘anglus natus, an Englishman by birth” [99] David Hackett-Fischer, Albion’s Seed (Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 432. This easily digested assimilation of English norms, however, is absolutely not typical of the second (Palatine) wave. For them naturalization and indenture was an synonym and their experience with American government was not William Penn, but a more hostile New York. The composition of the Third Wave, huge in terms of numbers, is really what must be accounted for in our development of Midlands political culture.

Fogleman asserts that instead of religious scruples or doctrine, the mainstream religious German settlers brought to America, and the new communities in which they founded and settled, the political culture of the Rhineland German villages and towns from which they emigrated. Penn’s English Quakers had done the same, as we described earlier–and so replication of the politics and political structures of the old world in the new is not a leap of considerable faith. Interestingly, one would have thought the evils and perils of indenture would have arose from each immigrant group–but it did not. Early on, hesitant to be sure, reform came from the Quakers, who were instinctually shamed by the treatment immigrants–and slaves–received While the Scots Irish, nor the Proprietary every embraced indenture reform, the Germans did in the post-1750’s, and their allies were the Quakers and the Quaker Party in the legislature. When the “charity school” movement was adopted by the Proprietary, it was embraced less to help Germans and their culture, than as an obvious attempt to “socialize” Germans into a value system compatible with Proprietary views.

Much of early Pennsylvania history characterized the Quaker-German pre-1750 history using the word “deferential”. It is indisputable that (1) through 1750’s the Germans were consistent supporters of the Quaker Party, in sympathy with its anti-war pacifism, its reluctance to organize a militia engage in self-defense, its commitment to limited and fragmented governance, and its conduct of Indian affairs. Whatever hostility Germans developed with the Proprietary did not flow with William Penn’s Quakerism, but from the iconoclastic behavior of his more Anglican sons, and with their approach to settlement of Pennsylvania. Germans did not “run” for political office, and their involvement in Pennsylvania politics and policy was minimal–at least until the 1740’s. As we argue in this section, non participation in policy and politics is the result of several factors, and the term “deference” conveys more to contemporary readers and academics than it should. Nevertheless, many readers are initially predisposed to the traditional approach to Quaker-German synergy–and that is summarized in Colin Woodard’s 2011 description of German-Quaker shared synergy in cultural values:

Thousands more were mainstream Lutherans and German Calvinists, wanting nothing more than to build prosperous family farms in a peaceful setting. Penn let them all settle their own communities where they could maintain their ethnic identity and practice whatever Christian religion suited them   …  ‘Pennsylvania Deitsch’, a Palatine dialect of German, continued in everyday use  … until the twentieth century. … The Germans easily adapted themselves to Quaker plans for this new society. They were generally content to let the Quakers run things, supporting Quaker candidates in elections, and endorsing Quaker policies. The German small-scale farming skills became legendary … also renowned for their skills as craftsmen …. Most of them belonged to disciplined religious sects that prized thrift and sobriety, solidifying their affinity with their Quaker neighbors. The Germans and Quakers also shared a strong aversion to slavery, a stance that would set the Midlands [political culture] apart from New Netherlands, Tidewater and the Deep South. As family farmers, the Germans, had little [economic] use for slaves, but their antipathy [to slavery] seems to have been a function of cultural values [99] Colin Woodard, American Nations (Penguin Group, 2001), pp. 95-7.

Having said that however, a serious difference in political experience and the political culture between the English and (Third Wave] German realities manifested itself. England was in the process of urbanization, early mercantilism, and even proto-manufacturing.. Rhineland Germany much less so. The German village, still feudal in its economic base and politics (German feudal barons with large agricultural manors farmed by serfs or fragile freeman laborers was the German reference point). The Germans in no way sought to copy that in their new world communities–and instead were stoutly determined to make sure it would not occur in their new Pennsylvania townships. Settling in homogeneous communities was fundamental to their migration; they came to America for economic opportunity, an escape from agricultural feudalism  and from the start they engaged in a Big Sort of their own making. [Get used to this Big Sort; somehow Americans have identified this concept with Bill Bishop’s Big Sort (which we will employ quite liberally in other volumes), but migration and big sort is common, and as we shall see there are a lot of “little sorts” as well]. Christopher Sauer, the newspaper editor who more than anyone else mobilized the German immigrant into a policy system participant, wrote in 1750:

When I came into this province, and found everything to the contrary where I came from, I wrote largely to all my friends and acquaintances of the civil and religious liberties [and] privileges, and of all the goodness I have seen … The goodness referred to by Sauer and others was, the economic opportunity: high wages, plenty of food, lots of land. By the 1720’s, at least the reputation of Pennsylvania for tolerance of diversity and encouragement to the industrious was established [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 127.

Deference to a feudal lord’s authority did not travel well with these folk. When they arrived in Pennsylvania they came immediately into contact with Penn’s Proprietary which was a pretty close copy of what they were fleeing from. Moreover, they wanted nothing to do with landownership and farming employment that was serf-like. Their American Dream was to own their own household land, free and independent; on this land they would raise their families, earn their living, and form communities with others who thought as they did–and spoke their own German language. Today we refer to the colonial German farm as neat/clean and discuss its agricultural practices and barn/cabin architecture–but that misses a key point. That physical manifestation is a reminder of the centrality of the household in which there is a fiddler on the roof.

The homestead, the family homestead, was their first order community. German family norms and socialization, not to mention economics, was vastly different from Scots Irish–and even Yankee puritan in Massachusetts. A fixation on a shared definition of family was a major bond between Quakers and all German waves–not a source of division as was the Irish and the Brahmin. The reader should retain this sense of the importance of family in the political culture that will evolve from their union. Even today with our fractured families, the Midland culture will place high value at least around the concept, if not actual practice of family. The linkage of a homogeneous community as an element in family and its preservation underscored the definition of community that will evolve in eastern German communities of Pennsylvania. Here we see the true beginnings of small town America. Here we see a major obstacle to the recourse of migration as a solution to unemployment and cluster breakdown in our contemporary America.

Looking ahead to the next chapter on Yankee Puritans, Pennsylvania Germans were quite different in their approach to authority–expressed by Germans in family homesteads, in homogeneous settlements, around their Lutheran or Reform German church that spoke to them in their own language. Pennsylvania Germans wanted to own land of their own, and to be left alone to live their lives on it. Expensive land with high taxes combined with a privileged standing of Penn family neighboring parcels was a constant reminder of their old feudal barons–as was a court system still tilted toward Proprietary interests. When they observed the Quaker Party and its Quaker leadership fight tooth and nail against Penn, and his Proprietary allies like James Logan, they found common cause. That initial tilt was further intensified by a coolness, a distance in treatment by Proprietorship that distrusted a language they did not known or could understand.

Call it discrimination, or more likely simple preference of association, the Proprietary conveyed a disdainful, almost contempt for Germans. No surprise, the English speaking (more or less) Scots Irish, were perceived to be better treated by the Penns. And one cannot forget, the Penns supported a militia and self defense, and taxes to pay for them, which many Germans felt ill-at-ease, wary. As Pennsylvania moved west deeper into Native American lands, the aggressiveness of the Scots Irish and Proprietary grated on German humanistic sensibilities. None of this was religious dogma or doctrine–as it was with the Quakers–it was more style, a violation of “who they were” that set the Germans apart from Proprietary and Scots Irish. Attitudes, style of governance, and particular policies that brought out opposing value systems, as well as language and religious distinctions nudged Germans into closer bonds with Quakers. When the naturalization question arose in the 1740’s, and the Quaker Party was threatened with a coup in the early 1740’s the two were shoved into each others tenuous if desperate embrace.

The issue of English civil rights and right to vote was not known, never mind accepted by, the third wave German emigres’. It isn’t likely, but without polling who knows, that the anti-authoritarian Germans were willingly “deferring” to their Quaker betters when they chose not to compete as legislative officeholders, within or otherwise, with the Quaker Party; it seems, to me, more likely a combination of factors account for the sustained reluctance of Germans to run for office in Pennsylvania. After 1740, naturalization requirements were a first rate barrier, but so was comfortability with the English language in 1729 and through the 1730’s. Indenture also served as a mighty barrier in that “human property” did not enjoy the franchise. Youth was disproportionately represented, and their propensity to be mobile, and not have met residence requirements, also would have impacted the franchise power of the German constituency. Establishing roots in a homestead-business startup and a community were first order priorities–forming a household still another. The present day rush of kindergartners to politics and sexual identity says more about our popular culture, than non participation as officeholders by first generation German immigrants to theirs.

It also stands to reason the attitudes and experience of Germans to the franchise, and to the responsibilities of officeholding, combined with the newness of English civil rights expectations to the German immigrant, and the likely attitudinal lag of non participation in German village and city affairs also played a role. There is no real sense the German immigrant moved to Pennsylvania for the right to vote, but rather for safety and economic opportunity. Voting and officeholding, like beer and scotch, are acquired tastes; voting is as much as a habit, and the belief your votes counts contrasts hard with the attitudes of immigrants who a scant year previous were serfs or subsistence peasants, in a land that was not yet a nationality, in a policy system that was still largely feudal.

Our Pennsylvania Germans are only a generation or two away from other Germans, the Hessians, who were drafted, bought and paid for, to soldier in the American Revolution–sold out by their aristocratic masters. In any case harvesting immigrant votes is a hallmark of a political machine, not a proto-political party. No one in Pennsylvania was attracted to immigrant votes sufficiently to mobilize an electorate at the pier, or naturalization booth. Germans had to learn who they could trust, and central to that was finding folk who shared their anti-authoritarian outlook–one thing the Germans did not want to replicate in America was being forced to live under masters whose attitudes and behaviors matched their former overlords. The equally anti-authoritarian Quakers, folk who shared their antipathy to war and its devastation, and who resented strong and often repressive government that reached into their pockets to finance their repression and persecution. Like the Quakers, the Germans had their own “inner light”, their own priorities that revolved around family, occupation, and self-acquired prosperity. As individualistic as any Quaker, the German immigrant had her own expectations of future life, and wanted nothing more than to be allowed the freedom to satisfy them. Both Quaker and German shared the same tent roof, a roof of values, beliefs and expectations that each could find shelter under.

…. the German peasant … was personally subject to his lord, most often in a servile relationship which demanded of him and his family services and payments … Their lot remained difficult, not least of all due to the contempt with which they were held by their superiors. ‘The peasant could take the ox’s place/had he but horns above his face … that “the peasants stand between the unreasoning beast and man”. And in Wurttemberg in the Palatinate where [many] Pennsylvania Germans originated , it was said that many peasants lived ‘in a kind of slavery … Often they are not as well off as cattle elsewhere [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 124.

By 1748, with the naturalization act impact wearing off, with a new generational cohort on the scene, with indentures expiring and with a commercial class having risen to a level it could offer leadership, plus a generation of acculturation of democratic attitudes and values German non-participation in Pennsylvania politics and policy-making, it was time for their presence to impact. That Germans still declined to hold office, to run for the legislature for decades to come, we can offer they did the same in Virginia and the Shenandoah. Perhaps, the non-love affair of Germans with government, a cultural trait, is responsible? Perhaps we should look more closer to home, not to the Pennsylvania legislature but to the myriad of offices, committees of municipal corporations and special districts that were hallmarks of Pennsylvania local government?

the Great Awakening: Some Religions were not “Woke”

By the mid 1730’s immediately previous to Pennsylvania’s Great Awakening, it was evident to Quakers that they faced the same generational cohort conflict that Puritans had experienced nearly a hundred years previously. The cantankerous and stubborn Penn era transplant Quaker, the inviolate pacifist and non-oath-taker, the instinctive oppositionist, and distruster of government had established a viable and robust colony in the new world. That Quaker colony was heterogeneous, diversified, inclusive, and consequently Friends were clearly by that time, a minority in their own land. Dogmatic issues such as pacifism and oath-taking had been partially bypassed with government phrasings bordering on subterfuge.

War was chronic, and as dominant in Pennsylvania government could not be avoided, yet Quakers governed a colony full of non-Quakers, whose rights and liberties–equalities- required self-defense and appropriation of funds to the military. Native Americans raided Pennsylvania Quaker homes as they did non-Quakers. On top of this, many first settler Quakers had become by the 1730’s (if they were not dead) well established, rich, and had placed themselves in central decision-making positions for the colony. Over the past years, Quaker doctrine/belief/values had become enshrined into dogma, dogma which demanded at least outward conformity, but no longer necessarily private affirmation. Dogmatic rigidity had taken over Quakerism, and that had not gone unnoticed. They were no longer the Quakers of 1681, and their children would never be so. By the 1730’s the chasm in Quaker community was generational. Quakers had set up a policy system, and with that task behind them, they were by the late 1730’s in needed of reforming it to meet its demands and realities. That reforming a minority that dominated its governance was not an easy task, and one that during the next twenty years found that pious, believing Quakers could only ill-serve the responsibilities of that governance, if they were to maintain their values and beliefs.

The third wave commenced in the very late 1720’s, and increased with each passing year through the 1730’s. This wave, more numerous than the other two waves from its star (about 14,000 during the 1730’s), was differently composed, and in many waves it was the first true non-English immigration. Second-wave Palatines were genuine war refugees, but third wave, while still feeling the effects of Louis XIV’s wars were more economic refugees. They had high rates of indenture (which increased dramatically thru the 1740’s and 50′. Families, predominated, with high rates of young singles, both female and male. Predominately agriculturalists, they in their own time usually made their way into the small settlements of eastern Pennsylvania. A minority stayed in Philadelphia and found employment as artisans, and a entrepreneurial sprinkling got started up in the city’s commercial sectors.

At first they did not include religious ministers–either Lutheran or Dutch/German Reformed. This gave rise to “spontaneously gathered parishes”. These vibrant, if fragile small communities were key recruiters (through their cards and letters back home) to Pennsylvania immigration. But slowly during the 1700’s ministers, often paid by European donations, arrived and began to form established congregations and rode circuits among their churches. Not infrequently German schoolmasters were thrust into the role of lay preachers–and from this a tradition of linking schools and church likely took seed. Pennsylvania did not approve set up public education (k-12) until the Public Education Law of 184, and in order to conduct religious services, and read the Bible in German, German Reformed and Lutheran parochial schools , informal at first, and then more sophisticated were associated with each congregation of sufficient size.

By 1746 about forty Reformed parishes were registered in the mother church. In 1748 the first North American Lutheran conference was held in Philadelphia, with six pastors and ten lay preachers to form the Lutheran “Ministerium”, which among its other successes developed an accepted liturgy. The Reformed Coetus (Synod) also met in 1747-8. The outstanding Lutheran minister, the patriarch of North American Lutheranism, Henry Muhlenberg, first arrived in Pennsylvania only in 1742. In this atmosphere, the anti-establishmentarianism of the Great Awakening had very little to attack in German congregations in the late 1730’s and early 1740’s. “The Quakers and their German sectarian allies held aloof from the Awakening as they did from (King George’s) War. [Accordingly, German and Quakers] faced revitalized church groups, conscious of their religious distinctiveness, and willing to take up arms for the crown and the proprietors” [99] Joseph E. Illich, Pennsylvania: a Colonial History, p. 189. That the Awakening mobilized the Anglicans to reform their church, and provided inspiration and emotion to the Scots Irish congregations, meant the role of the First Awakening in Pennsylvania was to sharpen the distinction between German, Scots Irish, Anglican and Quaker, and to lay the foundations for Presbyterian Scots Irish to drift toward the Proprietary whose western-relevant policies of Indian resistance, militias, and to sustained land sales were attractive. This drift was sense by the Proprietor leader, William Allen, who counted on, and successfully drew support from Scots Irish in his 1740-2 coups. Ironically, it was those coup attempts that first formally linked the political alliance of Germans with Quakers.

It is worth note that both Synods conducted their agenda in German until the first quarter of the 19th century, with Reform Church services switching first into hybrid German-English. It is also important to note the Lutheran and Reformed churches did not compete, even in the same community. The two sects often cooperated. For example “German Reformed congregations maintained close connections with Lutherans, with whom they shared a heritage, and common concerns about holding on to German as essential to their identity. The pace and extent of language and cultural adaptation varied depending on the concentration of German speakers in the congregations, and the commitment of ministers to encourage at least bilingual worship and instruction[99] Brenda Gaydosh, “German Reformed Church“, Pennsylvania Encyclopedia.

Compared to European Protestant parishes, American Germans always because of its lack of ministers dependent on more home-spun preachers, and the evangelism of the Great Awakening, was less disturbing, and less destructive to American German congregations than it was to Anglicans in particular. The rugged American hinterland required the development of local elites, which usually in German communities formed around the congregations laity. In reality, German parish life was so poorly established in the thirties that some credit the Great Awakening as it salvation [99] Patricia U. Bonami, “Watchful Against the Sects: Religious Renewal in Pennsylvania’s German Congregations, 1720-1750”, Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 50, No. 4 (October, 1983), Penn State University Press, p.273. If so, the survival of more or less homogeneous German settlements in Pennsylvania, and the cohesion into a political culture owes a great deal to the Awakening and the solidification of Reform and Lutheran parishes in Pennsylvania.

One might assert that German local elites revolved around its ministers and the associated church laity, much like the earth around the sun. Clergymen were dependent for their salaries from the congregation no doubt sensitized to the wishes of its elite laity. In this respect German church authority was considerably democratized early on, and no doubt this carried over to civil structures lodged in small towns. Because of the great number of small communities-congregations in Pennsylvania “the Middle Colonies,… had more congregations per capita than either New England or the South by the middle of the eighteenth century[99] Patricia U. Bonami, “Watchful Against the Sects: Religious Renewal in Pennsylvania’s German Congregations, 1720-1750”, Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 50, No. 4 (October, 1983), Penn State University Press, p.280. German identity, and culture was preserved around these settlements and congregations, and a mobilized religious laity permeated into local Pennsylvania government, laying a strong base for the democracy and voluntarist Revolutionary War organizations (Sons of Liberty and Non-Importation Associations), and a  radical democracy compared to other colonies.

German churches, owing to their voluntary character and broad base, had acquired a new and unanticipated aid t both vitality and stability [of the community]. That religion had flourished in the diverse society of Pennsylvania through the voluntary participation of its inhabitants may have made some difference as Americans of the Revolutionary generation embarked on a still newer experiment that rested on the uncoerced virtue of its citizens [99] Patricia U. Bonami, “Watchful Against the Sects: Religious Renewal in Pennsylvania’s German Congregations, 1720-1750”, Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol. 50, No. 4 (October, 1983), Penn State University Press, pp. 281-2.

The challenge of maintaining Quaker dominance in governance was major factor in William Allen’s 1740-1742 series of “legislative-elective coups”. William Allen, we must not forget, a native Philadelphia born of Scots Irish parents, was himself Presbyterian-a wealthy and successful businessman.. For thirty years he was the dominant force in Penn’s Pennsylvania Proprietary allies. The coup had been put down, only with the ad hoc assistance of a upwardly mobile German electorate willing to provide both muscle and votes. That challenge of governance was made even more difficult as the younger generations, raised–and often educated– in the atmosphere of the Enlightenment questioned much that previously had been beyond questioning. Science, reason, and a belief in progress, not simple conformity to God’s will and natural law, and the hierarchy of order, produced a secular version of Quakerism that conformed to dogma publicly, but lived their daily lives employing Enlightenment values and business practices. Those practices created a capitalism built on trade and finance, not land and agriculture, had appeared, manifested in Philadelphia’s hugely successful and vibrant diverse commercial community. Franklin was their leader, and to many, including secular Quakers, he was in many ways their Moses. By the mid to late 1740, Franklin had been elevated to their savior in his formation of a militia and defense against foreign invasion–a crisis which Quakers had been unable to resolve, choosing instead to merely repress the threat, to the point of ignoring it.

The tide of the Enlightenment was resisted by those whom faith loomed larger than reason, the supernatural more meaning than the natural. In Europe the reaction was called Pietism … In England, it was Methodism, the creation of the Wesley brothers, and George Whitefield. It was the latter who inaugurated the Great Awakening in America by undertaking a protracted preaching  tour… He first appeared in Philadelphia in 1739 [99] Joseph E. Illich, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), pp. 188-9. When Whitefield came to Pennsylvania, the impact of his preaching were felt most strongly by Scots Irish, Anglicans, Lutherans and Reformed German who rebelled  against an established church organization, epitomized by dogmatic ministers, and who valued individual emotion-expression over doctrine and bureaucracy. Germans and Quakers were not, in the main attracted to the Awakening, and kept their distance. To confuse matters, the Awakening overlapped with King George’s War and Awakening thought supported the war against papists, supporting the Crown (and by association the Proprietor who was at the time petitioning the Board of Trade to have Quakers disqualified from political office during wartime).



Complicated Tale of German Path into a Midlands Political Culture and Entry into Pennsylvania Politics and Policy-making

I didn’t expect this, but the path of Germans into Pennsylvania political culture and political life began with the development of a German form of community development, which then led to increased political participation, and from there into a informal cultural and political alignment with hard-pressed and isolated Quakers that over a half-century blurred into a distinctive political culture. There is a logic to this path, and it first becomes evident in the 1740’s. The German Third Wave began in the late 1720’s. Compared to what it would become, the early numbers are not impressive, but are consistent, if fluctuating with war. The golden period, a huge bulge, occurred between the end of war in 1748 and the beginning of the French and Indian War, 1755. It picked up again after 1764, but from that point on the Scots Irish have their golden age until the Revolution. From 1740, the British imposed a Naturalization Law on all colonies in its empire, and that law required a seven year residency to establish eligibility.

The starting point in the German path is perhaps obvious: immigration and homestead settlement. From a practical standpoint one would not expect the arrival on a Philadelphia pier to be the starting point for political participation and formation/integration into a political culture. That this seems to be evident in contemporary America, where one’s citizenship is quickly acquired and voting harvested just as promptly, is probably a function of political polarization and the existence of political party machines. Neither existed in colonial Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania a new German immigrant was more likely as first order priority to acquire a family homestead, for a few find an apprentice or urban trade, and for the others a search for a mate and initial source of income. Indenture was a real factor for the latter single folk, although it did affect immigrant families (which BTW were more likely to indenture their oldest child). The smaller numbers of German-speaking immigrants previous to 1740, while it did precipitate hostile  reaction from government or established ethnic/religious groups. As we have taken considerable pains to point out, German-speaking was a negative factor, but as the Germans settled into their communities and homestead, their shared values with Quakers became evident.

In this period of transition, which I argue is probably a natural development for immigrants in a new world, Germans had to settle in economically, socially, and residentially. Buying land (which was expensive and not at all easy, involving travel and some risk), building a home, clearing a field or acquiring a trade, planting/harvesting consumed a new immigrant’s attention. Establishing roots while accommodating that troublesome “fiddler on the roof” meant a period of adjusting one’s values, beliefs, and expectations from the old world to the new. This is particularly so because, as the reader remembers, “German” was a language and not yet a nation or even “a” country. Religion, as we discovered earlier, was the natural point of the community an immigrant related to, and that led to Big Sort residential choices and the central institution around which one set roots in the new community. The church-congregation spoke in German, celebrated common historical and cultural traditions, and was a natural contact point with folk back home in the old world. Most Germans assimilated into the new world through the prism of their religion, more precisely their congregation, and its laity-ministerial elites. We shall very quickly see this is the starting point for German community development.

Political involvement, however, as noted previously, was “deferential”, which in my definition meant secondary. Lacking effective use of the language, sufficient numbers to be effective, no experience with voting in their old world, and no spare time to spend in these matters, German deferred to their established neighbors–the Quakers who ran the local policy system. That they felt comfortable in doing so is perhaps best expressed by an except from Professor Alan Tully:

Once the immigration of German church folk had begun in the late 1720’s, the flow continued at a regular rate through the 1730’s. But despite the influx of about 14,000 Germans between 1729 and 1739, members of the English-speaking community seemed unapprehensive. Those German newcomers who settled in Philadelphia and Bucks counties, segregated themselves to some degree, and in so far as they became politically active, did so only in a supportive manner. They simply attached themselves to existing political networks, and worked within the established parameters of political behavior. Moreover these were quiet years when few election contexts took place, and there was no clear-cut polarization between candidates which might have forced a ‘German’ vote into public predominance [99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755” (Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 45,, No. 3 (July, 1978), p. 240.

Part of this non-involved deference, an important part, lay in the need of the American-Pennsylvania German to develop his/her own sense of political–and ethnic–“identification”. Necessarily this identification was shaped by the community, its church-congregation laity, and the German language. The founding of a German newspaper-blog formally by immigrant publisher Christopher Saur in 1738 can be considered as the first meaningful step along the path to political participation. Saur and his parents had emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1724, settling in Germantown. He tried several occupations (tailor and then farmer), when his wife joined a Seventh Day Baptist community at Ephrata, and took an oath of celibacy. No doubt a bit bewildered by this, Saur and his young son sold everything and moved to Germantown village, and in a few years started a small business importing Bibles and religious works from Germany. In 1735 he made his first publishing efforts; Benjamin Franklin dominated the Pennsylvania printing industry, and he was the go-to place for German publications–until Saur got going.

Saur imported a German typeset, considerably more easier for a German to read than Franklin’s English typeset, made his own “German” ink, and published his first in a series of publication of several types (mostly religious). Der Hoch-Deutsch Pensylvanische Geschichts-Schreiber attained a circulation of about 10,000, and was the first published in a foreign language in Pennsylvania. In 1743 he published the first (High) German language Bible (Luther’s original German). Understandably, the reader will appreciate the standing Saur achieved in the Pennsylvania community among Germans–and also the impact which he exerted on its opinions and agenda. As the years went by, Saur moved into political matters, took positions on matters of effect on the Germans, and his role in political issues remained considerable through his death in 1758. His role in the evolution of German political culture and political involvement was fundamental.

With Saur’s emergence as a German publisher-blogger-activist we suggest the German “settling in” has reached a new stage, with key occupations and “institutions” within the German community establishing their initial presence. We also see in Saur a congruence with German religion, language and immigration experience as central dynamics of German cohesion, and defining elements of German distinctiveness. Saur further suggests self-identification as “American German” is forming, and that means not just a realization they are Americans as well as Germans, but also places on the German agenda concerns which Germans felt they were experiencing in their settlement thus far. One of these, which we shall explore shortly, is the process of securing a homestead, and that process necessarily required buying land from the Proprietor. As we expect, the Proprietor customer experience was not pleasing and the accumulated anecdotal stories of each household had left its mark on the overall German community by the late 1730’s. That the Quaker Party was the long-term opponent of the Proprietor could not have escaped notice either. Also, while the none-to-involved German community was not active in legislative electoral politics, it could not escape local affairs; while there is not much, if any, literature on German pre-1750 participation in local government and local Indian affairs government service delivery and satisfactory Indian relationships were etching their way into the German agenda as well.

Equally important during the later 1730’s the relatively benign political atmosphere changed. Europe was at war and dragged Pennsylvania into its margins. Stereotypically, Germans had real fears and concern about militia drafts, new taxes, and the threat of economic deterioration and devastation. The Proprietor was supportive of the British Crown’s efforts to conduct the war, and its Indian land sale policy (1737 Walking Treaty) led to a lot of grousing at the campfires, and contested land sales by resident tribes. As the 1740’s unfolded none of these concerns improved. That immigration still continued meant the German (i.e. non English) population was growing, and quiescent for the last decade, many Englishmen were concerned about the loyalty of these foreign speaking, newly-arrived residents, and their unwillingness to share in the English war, to not take loyalty oaths, pay taxes for military/fort expenditures, or participate in the militia advocacy, plus their support of a mild and accommodative Indian policy ran counter to English-speaker Pennsylvanians. War concerns and the desire to have a united homefront was a principal factor in London’s passage of the 1740 Naturalization Act–which was a frontal attack on the here-to-fore relatively relaxed, locally administered naturalization process. If a German wanted to become a citizen, and many a Redemptionist-indendentured servant had serviced the terms of his/her contract and were now free and eligible to apply, they had better act quickly before the Act took effect.

Post 1739-1748 Evolution of German political culture and participation in politics:  1740, then, was a turning of the page in Pennsylvania’s German community. Anti-German comments and feelings were accumulating and Germans began to push back or at least circle the wagons. Whatever sympathies Germans thought they shared with the Quakers–and vice versa–both needed allies in the bitterly contested and polarized atmosphere that prevailed in that years elections to the Legislature, If timing is everything, in 1740-1 the young Proprietor politician, William Allen led what he hoped would be a political coup in the provincial elections, hoping to bring into power the more war-disposed, real estate developer (i.e. the Proprietor) for whom they harbored a ton of bad feelings.

With a goodly number of Germans in Philadelphia who were there in part to go through the naturalization process before the Naturalization Act began, the election became mired in controversy, public events, blogs and pamphlets–and William Allen’s allies aggressively and physically disrupting the polling places and those voting, the Quaker Party recruited German support and mobilized them to resist Proprietor disruption in support of Quaker candidates. Against the mobilized Germans, the Proprietor recruited (English) Scots Irish and sailors who had been recruited by the Proprietor. What followed could not be described as democracy’s finest hour. Near-riots, brawls at the polling booth, harassments of voters (wearing Quaker dark clothes and head covering), sheriffs breaking things up, or not, were only topped off when about 400 registered, but previously non-voting, Germans showed up to vote.

The result was a stunning Quaker victory, and a frustrated William Allen. Allen resolved to contest the elections once again in the next year; this time he attempted to mobilize some German support for the Proprietor candidates–and that failed miserably. Allen’s tactics had crossed the line with many, and two years of this left a scar on the general citizenry–and the Germans as well. Not until 1765 would the Proprietor be able to mobilize serious public support for their candidates in future provincial elections–and Proprietor-supportive legislators were few and far between for the better part of a generation. While 1748 was the first year 1740 (ish) immigrants could become voting citizens–because of the 1740 Naturalization Act, former Redemptionist, having satisfied their residency requirement– could register for the franchise, and the children of the older generation of immigrants also did as well, Germans had learned the importance of voting from their experience with the Allen coup and their so-called deference to electoral politics was wearing very thin.

As the number of Germans increased in the general population and the voting constituency, the Quakers very much realized that they had become a minority in their own colony–and that a key element of their Quaker Party “lock” on the Provincial Legislature depended on the votes of their 1741 German allies. Their German allies were aware of that fact as well. Christopher Saur “the bellweather of German political behavior, left no doubt where he felt German political support should lie. His strong humanitarian feelings on the question of Indian policy and German immigration, his determined pacifism, and his condemnation of litigation, oath-taking …  predisposed him to look with favor on Quaker officeholders. He and other German spokesmen believed that the Governor and his supporters in demanding a militia, military appropriations, the curtailment of legislative power … posed a serious threat to citizen rights[99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755” (Pennsylvania History: a Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 45,, No. 3 (July, 1978), pp. 242-3.

Heightened awareness, and active registration as a naturalized citizen became a norm in the German community from this time forward. But what had not yet evolved was German willingness to join in the fray themselves as officeholders and political candidates. The question why was asked even then. Saur responded directly to this question by the Proprietor’s Indian agent, Conrad Weiser’s  observation that a “major part” of the legislature were Quakers [not Germans: Saur responded] “Was it not so from the beginning? What hurt had we received from this? Don’t they appear to be as good and peaceful as neighbors, and make us partakers of such religious affairs [99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755“, p.243.

My observation is this lack of direct participation by Germans in political affairs is a strong indication of the reluctance of these Germans to enter political life, and an equally strong indication they preferred not to involve themselves in government–even if it were a logical requirement of political self-defense. German pacifism, it seems was just as strong when it involved political conflict as it was toward war. Saur’s “war and politics” pacifism was shared by its Germany religious community as well. The patriarch of Lutheranism in Pennsylvania, Pastor Henry Muhlenberg , stood squarely alongside Saur in both war-related pacifism and the desirability of direct German non-participation in policy-making and elective office. That the Quakers felt the same–we are on the threshold of the Quaker Reformation after all–suggests that both groupings shared an bond on what was a key cornerstone of a future Midlands culture. That attitude held through the 1740’s when, for example, in 1746-8 Spanish invasion threatened Philadelphia, mobilizing Franklin to form a militia after the Quakers, their Legislature refused to form a militia or appropriate funds to build fortifications. Franklin’s militia was able to recruit only one company of (about 400) Germans.

The paper money crisis, deteriorating Indian relations, the rise of France and French allied Indians in trans-Appalachian Pennsylvania west did not mobilize either pious Quaker or a majority of the German community. German (or Quaker) pacifism and non-participation in direct elections or officeholding was not “deference to their betters”, but rather a sincere, and deep value in peaceful and non-violent public actions, a hard and fast commitment to limited government and a primacy of individual not government action, and a clear preference for a government that governs least. They also, however, did little to resist the man on the white horse, what we call privatization, to come in and resolve the situation, even if that meant the external leader got his hands dirty, something they were not willing to do. The course of events in the external environment, however, did not stop in 1748, but continued in force. German immigration had now entered its golden period, the high water mark of German-Pennsylvania immigration between 1748 and 1755, and a future world war was about to occur. Settlement of western counties by more German immigrants, whose new homesteads, harshly acquired from an unfriendly Proprietor, came under attack from the French and their Indian allies., created new fissures within the German community, and pushed them, more or less unwillingly into the war and Pennsylvania’s political chaos it called a policy system.

Post 1748-1755 Evolution of German political culture and participation in politics

the “Process” of German Cultural Evolution: Einwolmer and Neukommer

In this golden flood of German immigration, the first important observation is that for the first time new German immigrants settled in numbers outside the three core counties of Penn’s Pennsylvania. From this point on German immigrants will settle with increasing momentum in the western hinterland counties (Northampton, Berks, Lancaster, York, Cumberland–and many directly passed on into Maryland and points south). At this point few, if any, make it across the Appalachians. These eastern areas are within the province and the settlement incorporation/land sales process are administered by the Proprietary. Much of the land was acquired in the controversial Walking Treaty, or other equally contentious land sales engineered by Penn and the Iroquois during the 1740’s.

New German immigrants were more likely to have originated from different parts of “Germany” than their older established kin–and their motivations for moving are more likely to be economic opportunity, than refugees from war or religious discrimination. The Germans labeled new immigrants as “Neukommer”, and themselves as “Einwolmer”. With each decade through to the Revolution, the Neukommer keeps coming (although in decreasing numbers), and by the Revolution the Neukommer dominates Pennsylvania’s German population. At issue is the capacity of the evolving German political culture to incorporate or shape the values, experiences, aspirations, and political beliefs and practices of the Neukommer to its own evolved culture. It is this evolved Einwolmer-Neukommer German culture that will merge, blend, and blur with the evolved Quaker political culture to produce the first iteration of present day America’s Midlands political culture.

Wherever they eventually settled, they settled along or with fellow Germans. Accordingly these counties developed clusters-pockets of German settler-communities, interspersed with relatively homogeneous Scots Irish settlements, and pockets of Native American villages. Few Germans settled in western York or Cumberland counties. Although younger cohorts from established German eastern households did also participate in western hinterland migration, the great number were new to America and had not acclimated or acculturated into Pennsylvania or American cultures. –Saur developed and published dialogues between the two in his publications, and often he offered advice to the Neukommer; they also allow us to form insights into the two sub-populations:

[Neukommer to Einwolmer] ‘I made the difficult move across the sea so that I could improve my situation and establish for myself a peaceful life … I have searched this land for the best place I can find and yet afford‘ … [Neukommer in response to Einwolmer question ‘how do you like it here’] ‘One spoke of the New World in my country [Germany], and it is indeed a new world, for everything here is completely different from where I came‘ [what I like best is that] ‘I remember all the dues and fees I had to pay in the Palatine, just so the sovereigns and bureaucrats could direct and exploit their great state. Then I see how the older settlers [Einwolmer] here in this country, live like nobles, indeed better than some nobles in Germany , for some who are worth 10-20,000 guilders only pay [in taxes] 5-10 guilders [in taxes] per year, and in some years nothing at all. And they pay only one guilder, maybe two for a poor tax to help the poor and prevent them from showing up to the door as beggars[99] Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), pp. 97-9

Their propensity to settle in homogeneous communities, however, meant the preconditions of a distinctly German evolution remained as they had during the earlier period–and the institutions (religion, schools, and media) of the east could be expanded or transported to the western hinterland. Still, one might recognize that in these vital respects, new or established residency and degree of socialization into the evolving German political culture/political involvement, the Pennsylvania German population has fragmented or become more complex, and that distinctions have a geographical implication. Germans are, or have, settled in different regions and have undergone more or less socialization into a German culture, and have developed more or less experience with Pennsylvania institutions and politics.

Fogleman asserts that despite these cultural and environmental tensions, the German Pennsylvanians will “work it out” and over the half-century forge a shared experience and culture distinctive from others in their state–and in the other colonies as well.

Germans may have been sable ethnics rather than mobile individualists [i.e. Scots Irish, Huguenots, and even Quakers like Daniel Boone]. This high level of stability, remarkable especially for a ‘migrant’ population, facilitated the maintenance of the village and extended family networks that were so critical in getting many immigrants settled and established within the rural ethnic enclaves as well as the cities and towns of Greater Pennsylvania. Religion and ethnicity played an important, mutually supportive roles in establishing the character and identity of the Reformed and Lutheran majority in the fledgling, scattered church communities …. [Together the Germans developed a] “collective strategy [that] … led to unprecedented success in commercial-capitalist Greater Pennsylvania where cultural cohesion and economic rationality could be and often were mutually supportive [99] Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), p. 99

For us, we are interested in understanding the differences between established eastern Einwolmer and western hinterland Neukommer because as we we describe below the two populations will coexist but experience two significantly different economies, social and political environments–and the latter direct experience in the path of war and Indian raids, an experience no longer, if ever, shared by the Einwolmer. During the 1760’s (and after) the western resident German will pull apart from his German eastern kin, and flirt with Scots Irish behavior and politics–but in the end, will not join them and will instead make their peace along lines of the Einwolmer with Pennsylvania and Quakers. The Neukommer, however, with stretch the range of Einwolmer values and behaviors, and at times will acquire their support for policies that benefit the Neukommer more. The pull of Einwolmer German community and institutions, however, will hold the Neukommer in its embrace in a much more hostile and troubled environment, and that in the end will lead to the development of a German merge with Quaker political cultures to produce the Midlands.

Reaction to the Growth in German Population and their Effect on Policy-Making

The velocity of German immigration into Pennsylvania during this period could not be ignored, especially if you were not German. When newcomers such as the Scots Irish, also coming in large numbers, Philadelphia grew “visibly” to the naked eye, and the composition of its populace changed noticeably and quickly. Many, in some years most, newcomers were indentured servants, but indentured or not only Germans conformed to the requirements of the 1740 Naturalization Act, as Scots Irish were English. Germans and Scots Irish were in most ways cultural opposites, and that could also be said of the economic bases they left in their wake. The differences between the communities-villages-incorporated towns that each settled in the respective Big Sorts were obvious, and evident even at this time. If nothing else the churches were different, and the institutions and policy-making varied; Germans tended to stay once established, and Scots Irish were mobile, certainly their young were often thrust from the nest at a very early age, and Scots Irish versus German farming and household characteristics were easily distinguishable.

The first act in this coexistence of Scots Irish and Germans played out mostly in 1740’s Philadelphia, and the first scene was William Allen’s 1741-2 failed coup attempts. In the fiasco, the Proprietary Party and Quaker Party enlisted the muscle and numbers of both in their electoral campaigns. Literally turning to the “mob” to obtain political ends had the perhaps unanticipated effect of awakening both to their political potential. The Quaker Party, still influenced by pious and pacifist Quakers, did not attract, or want to attract Scots Irish. The usually politically clumsy Proprietors, however, found Scots Irish useful–especially in the western hinterland, but also as some form of political leverage in eastern politics. It was the western political “card”, however, that stirred the Proprietor to action in that land sales and settlement was how it paid its bills and made whatever profits they made. Pontiac’s War unleashed yet another round of anti-Indian western-based opprobrium, that for the first time overflowed into eastern core counties-to the detriment of Quakers. The tradition moorings of Pennsylvania’s fragile, failing policy system seemed threatened–and then, of course, there will be the Stamp Act.

To the extent it stirred up the Native Americans–and it did considerably–and to the extent it collides with the Ohio Valley aspirations of the French, the expansion of Pennsylvania’s west from the eastern foothill-areas of the Appalachians to across the Appalachians into the Ohio Valley region (toward Pittsburgh), the fulcrum of Pennsylvania’s politics and political agendas assumed an increased western tilt that at first left the Quaker Party lingering behind, much more consumed with its political base in eastern Pennsylvania counties. But as we know, the old policy sores of debt issuance, paper money’s use by the legislature of debt issuance to the disadvantage of the Proprietor and its Franklin-led effort to tax Penn’s unsold land inventories to pay for paper money debt issuance wreaked such havoc and scars in the policy-making process that even legislative insiders sensed the system was teetering close to the edge..

Disruption of whatever western county/hinterland “peace and tranquility” was probably inevitable during this period–and to nobody’s surprise war broke out in 1755. War meant more  militias, debt issuance for military related expenses, construction of, and roads to, forts, and eventually two British armies in residence, with associated British military leadership meddling in Pennsylvania policy-making. What makes this period so hard to describe is that events, dynamics, migrations, and even personalities were moving on their own without plan or much thought. If the west shaped eastern provincial politics, there was no body or single force that could “establish site control” sufficient to policy implementation. Crisis followed by reaction, followed by new crisis and a new reaction. The oozing sores between the Proprietor and Legislature became infected, threatening the viability of what was Pennsylvania’s failed government. Public polarization widened and by 1765-6 a bitter electoral explosion rocked Pennsylvania’s policy system and politics. In summary, Pennsylvania’s policy system seemed hell-bent for trouble during the war, merged from the war polarized and fragmented, and with Franklin’s able assistance moved into defacto civil war when Pontiac’s Rebellion followed French and Indian War’s end.

How could all this not affect the Pennsylvania German-American community, putting to the test its fundamental unwillingness to enter into politics?

Several dynamics gathered momentum between 1748 and 1765. (1) negative reaction by English-speakers to the rise in German population generated fears Germans would push the weakened Quaker Party to the margins, or would join the Scots Irish and overthrow the whole shebang . (2) the German community (Einwolmer and Neukommer) felt tensions differently, and for a time German political reactions were not consistent, but varied by residence and by association, class, . (3) These “different reactions” generated a series of policy responses from the English-speaking side, and then from Philadelphia’s newly risen commercial elite. Each had their own trail of policy initiatives. Finally (4), the civil war, Proprietary versus the Legislature finally prompted an electoral reaction that rocked the Pennsylvania policy system–setting it off on its own rather strange drift to independence–a drift in which Germans chose for the most part not to get involved. To a considerable degree, the first three dynamics interacted and cannot easily be isolated from each other.

Among the English-speaking, the Proprietary and its allies (typified by William Allen) were the first to reaction to the rise in German population. Interestingly, the Proprietary benefited from land sales to western migrating Germans, but this was not sufficient to alleviate their concerns. Use of the German language set Germans apart, but in the spirit of the time also generated an insecurity of “what were these people really thinking”. It was evident that while Germans bought the land, they were not happy about the cost, the taxes-quitrents, or the processes that followed in its administration. It was also a known fact the Proprietary favored the much-disliked 1740 Naturalization Law, and stood behind the formation of militias (although their support of Franklin militia initiatives was inconsistent). Germans were naturally on the other side of both.

Moreover, the Proprietary, rightfully, feared the impact of pious Quaker participation in Indian negotiations, regarding it a serious threat to the stability of their future lands and profits. That the Germans were sympathetic to Quaker Indian strategy was evident to them. If western Germans reacted as their eastern kin had to self-defense and war-related initiatives, the Proprietary believed they would be of little help in preserving, never mind extending, Pennsylvania western expansion. When war with the French became a likely event, the British-resident Proprietary, whose core loyalty was to the Crown and its Board of Trade the source of their Proprietorship, saw this German unwillingness to serve in militias and support defense expenditures as anti-patriotic–verging on treason.

By the 1750’s it was no secret Germans had aligned with the Quaker Party, at least informally. By this period, the Proprietary vs. Legislature (Quaker Party) fracture had taken on the early vestiges of a civil war, and Germans were no ally of the Proprietor. Yet during this period Germans Neukommer Germans settled into western counties on the edge of the eastern Appalachians-areas troubled by festering Indian relations that visibly worsened in the early fifties, and then erupted into outright war that would last, with ebbs and flows, through 1768 or so. Western Germans, whatever their sympathies for war, militia and forts, needed them for self-preservation, and in this they were united with their Scots Irish neighbors. Whatever their antipathy toward the Proprietorship, it took second place to personal/household safety. In any case the loyalties of the newly-arrived Neukommer to the Quakers or the Quaker Party were weak, to non existent.

Germans in the east (Einwolmer) were not similarly threatened, and above all did not want to serve or be forced to pay for these expenditures through taxes. They, after all, were the real bastion of the Quakers, a pillar for pious Quakers, and a source of Quaker Party votes. In 1748, however, the Proprietary were well aware of the ticking time bomb the Naturalization Act had fabricated; after 1748 on an annual basis established Germans would become eligible to vote each year–and indentured servants would serve out their contract. The numbers, about 11,000 Germans during 1742-1748, were significant. It was this reality, that also caused concern among non-Quakers, particularly Anglicans and among secular Quakers in the Quaker Party. To them numbers of Germans potentially becoming voters seemed like a tsunami, and less sensitive to the German reluctance to participate in government and policy, these English–Benjamin Franklin the party’s co-leader, was a leading example–were not willing to sit idly by and be swept out of office by a militant and cohesive German vote.

In the 1750’s English concern was for a potential German takeover of local government using their majorities in local elections–significant portions of the three core counties were populated by Germans, and Quakers were often in a minority. This prompted a conscious policy of mal apportionment, as the Quaker Party during the fifties, split off these core counties (reconfiguring Philadelphia and Bucks Counties into Berks, Northampton and Lancaster, Cumberland in 1749-50) into a western (German majority) county, and encasing into the legislation legislative membership that was half or less than the original core county. It was the German fear that generated Pennsylvania mal apportionment. A great deal of antipathy to the German franchise originated from Philadelphia, whose view of the immigrants in general was more complex than the hinterland.

To Philadelphians, immigrants were like today’s tourists, vile-smelling vermin who congested the streets, bringing vermin and disease with them. Philadelphia was home to a disproportionate number of existing and former indentured servants, and that generated its on class inequities and insecurities that reinforced and intensified stereotypes and fears. In this atmosphere, Germans coexisted with Scots Irish, dock hands and sailors, almost all of which had not read Shakespeare, but were not hesitant to offer their voice and services for political discourse during elections. Brotherly love as we all know does not lead to peaceful coexistence. Still non urban Quakers spoke up for the Germans, and the process of mal apportionment, as discriminatory as it was, was not accompanied by a hostile commentary or much comment at all [99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755“, p.250.

The amazing non willingness of the Germans to rectify this obvious discrimination suggests the German had still not crystalized sufficient political leadership to resist, and further exposes their unwillingness to get involved politically, even to the extent of protecting their own ethnic interests. Tully asserts the reason is the obvious one: “The Germans did not appear upset, because in large measure they were not upset. They were essentially apolitical [99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755“, p.247. When a majority of a (potential) electorate is apolitical, there is no effective counter to the efforts of others to isolate-limit their political rights. This goes against the grain of conventional thought in that a decade or two later liberty and civil rights were hot and in vogue, but it does suggest that when they became hot and in vogue, civil and political rights were not a German first order priority–however politically incorrect that might be. It is a hint of what will in fact occur after 1776. In the Revolutionary War, Germans participated in the form of (about 30,000) hired/drafted Hessians principally from  the Hesse-Cassel principality. [There was German regiment in Washington’s army–the 8th Maryland–in 1776 at the Battle of Trenton; Von Stueben is another matter entirely]. As to mal apportionment, however, the apathy demonstrated during the early 1750’s had worn down quite noticeably a decade later–among its victims in the western mal apportioned counties. In the 1760s, mal apportionment became a first rate agenda item, both among Germans and Scots Irish–in the mal apportioned counties.

Because these English often held rather uncharitable, if not racist, views of Germans–“as unable to understand our laws and languages”, and their foreign nationality predisposing them to un-British views, the Germans were viewed as particularly volatile component of the immigrant Mob, whose excesses could disrupt democratic practices. To Franklin, the Germans imported foreign books, and published their own using a language not understood by the English (worse they did not use his print or newspaper business). Franklin, while vocal in private, stayed away from being a participant until his return to Philadelphia in 1762–then he assumed a leadership position in the German issue. Franklin’s issue with the Germans, were more, in my opinion, the reaction of a cultivated elite to a grouping whom he could not understand, and was prone to see in them a certain backwardness of culture and civilization which imposed burdens on economic progress and social balances. Franklin did not think of Germans as he did Indians, but his experiences with the Germans in his militia legislation and use of military self-defense did not make him more secure in times of war or crisis. That on this issue, Franklin shared a number of Proprietary concerns and fears speaks for itself however. That he was to ally himself with a Proprietary policy movement that developed in this period also speaks volumes. Beginning in 1751, a policy” movement commenced that impacted the German community considerably over the following decade or so: the “charity school” movement.

In 1751 the Pennsylvania German Reform minister, Michael Schlatter traveled to several countries in Europe to recruit support for Pennsylvania Germans. At the time, an ongoing English and Continental movement to fund schools for their poor–the charitable school movement. Schlatter tapped into this movement to find willing contributors to fund “for free” schools for poor Germans in Pennsylvania. In Europe they incorporated the “Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge among the Germans in Pennsylvania“, and then provided funds and contributions to support its functioning in Pennsylvania. Among these European benefactors and ministry the original intention was to establish schools “to promote Industry and Goodness’ by instructing pupils in basic educational skills and sound religious principles“. Schlatter’s initiative was plagued from the start as it generated a counter-reaction within Pennsylvania German Reform hierarchy, and it was with some irony that Pennsylvania German Lutheran support from its most prominent minister, Henry Muhlenberg..

On American soil with the support of the Pennsylvania German community [it was launched in 1754-5]; however, the initial abstract goals were refocused to the pragmatic goals of teaching English to Germans, and to instruct them in their “civic responsibilities”–i.e. American-English political socialization. Seeing an opportunity, the Proprietor and its allies jumped into it, and at least partially co-opted into the budding charity school movement, using its funds and pledging support all of which brought a level of credibility to the initiative. Penn did press for changes in the curriculum stressing the children should understand and be appreciative of the importance of a strong executive branch, and, with the threat of war imminent, also the need for self defense through military action, expenditures, and self-defense. Alongside the Proprietary on this issue was Benjamin Franklin [99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755“, p.251-2 .

Our printer-newspaperman-activist Saur, however, saw the charitable school movement from quite another perspective. Perhaps foreseeing its potential for politicization, or even outright manipulation, Saur urged his readership not to send their children. More probably he distrusted the motives of those outside the German community. His influence among both elite and rank-in-file Germans, was considerable indeed, and the existing religious schools attached to each community were customarily sufficient for the purposes of most German households. Set on the eve of a vital series of annual elections, the curriculum of the charitable school could have no immediate effect of consequence. More to the point, the malapportionment of recent years had taken its toll on the German franchise; no matter how high their turnout, the number of representatives they could send to the legislature could not damper the majorities sent by the English-dominant core counties.

Franklin came at the issue from another perspective, to which Germans tended to react badly. Publishing in that year (an important year politically for Franklin and the Quaker Party), “Give them faithful Protestant ministers and schoolmasters to warn them against the horrors of Popish [i.e. French] slavery; to teach them sound principles of government, to instruct their children in the English tongue, and the value of those privileges to which they are born among us. Parliament is advised to pass a law denying them the right of suffrage for twenty years until they have a ] sufficient knowledge of the English language and the State Constitution[99] Samuel Edwin Weber, the Charity School Movement in Colonial Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Press of G. F. Lasher, 1905), p. 10. In this response Franklin remained true to his long-standing lack of regard for the “Palatine Boors”, but identify several key reasons for his fear of an increasing German population and its effect on the electorate and subsequent challenge to the English approach to government, and the existing policy system, however fundamentally he wished it changed–it would still be British, even more so with a royal governor in charge. Franklin was only one English commentator who threw some form of cold water on the Germans, while managing to throw support to the charitable school movement’s startup.

Saur repeated these comments in his writings, and they a good deal of the wind out of the charitable school recruitment of children. Saur charged that those who supported the movement “care very little for religion or the cultivation of Germans, they rather want the Germans to stick out their necks by serving in the militia in order to protect the property of these gentlemen” [99]Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 243.It takeoff was not spectacular and in following years enrollment tapered off–limped along would be more accurate. While not still-born the charitable school movement ran out of steam. The comment and reaction it stirred up among the English, however, impressed many Germans, certainly its elite, that the Germans were to some degree feared, because if their numbers continue to rise, and they learned the language Germans could challenge the abuses and inequities they had experienced in the past, and that future German immigrants could be better protected from the horrendous overseas trip, indenture, and their ability to settle into their new world more effectively. As to whether, the Pennsylvania German charitable school movement and incorporation was a Community Development initiative-venture, our position, of course, is that it was. It arose from the German community, financed by European German and religious philanthropy, and whatever politicization it generated externally, it did aim to empower and serve people–German people–and hence this is probably the first example in American colonial history of an ethnic community’s inspired and led community development initiative.

Religious schools in the future recruited bilingual teachers, and more effort was made to provide their students the tools and knowledge useful to the acculturation in Pennsylvania. Little of this change was manifestly political or partisan’ frankly, there was little need to inject it into the schooling so firmly was German antipathy to the Proprietor almost the natural order of things to the typical German household of that period. What the movement did was thrust the German community into the limelight, inviting reaction, stirring the pot, and broadening the German perspective of its place and role in Pennsylvania society and politics. War disasters and arrival of a new British army and the collapse of the frontier inserted themselves into the charitable school movement’s launch; the spasm of stasis that followed in its political and policy world, and the eventual victory of Forbes relieving much of the French and Indian pressure dominated the policy agenda through much of the next half-decade or more.

The war also put a damper on the flow of immigration, until it ended. Saur’s death in 1758 also removed from the scene, their most influential German political commentator. As its first political “activist” Saur preached a mixed message: “[Saur] urged his readers to use their votes to put good men in office, but he counseled them to keep themselves free of worldly pursuits, personal ambitions, and strong vanities that would distract from the pursuit of personal virtue[99] Alan Tully, “Englishmen and Germans: National Group Contact in Colonial Pennsylvania, 1700-1755“, p.255 . Saur was always at heart more of a minister than a political activist, and he was an almost perfect embodiment of the German cultural bias against political involvement, limited government, and the primacy of personal and family life. Sam Adams Sr. he was not.

Why Read about the Pennsylvania German Charitable School Movement? — For several reasons, but first and foremost, it is the first visible attempt by a legitimate key Pennsylvania German institution (German Reform and Lutheran Churches) to go to the state legislature and incorporate a quasi-public corporation to startup and manage privately-funded schools for German children intended to both prepare these children for life and economy in Pennsylvania and to socialize them as Pennsylvania citizens. It could be thought of as a forerunner to today’s charter school movement–an movement that flirts on the fringes of contemporary community development.

If so, then it is one step further to recognize this is the German community’s first policy and political initiative on behalf of their own self-perceived need for individual empowerment and economic/political development–i.e. this is their entry step a participant in the Pennsylvania policy system. Whether or not the movement was successful, or as discussed somewhat diverted from its intended mission, or generated a mixed bag of reactions from non-German communities and political officials, is less important than it was a genuine effort to empower the German community of individuals by increasing the personal skills of their children. The German community already had German schools attached to most congregations–these targeted distressed and “poor” Germans outside of their existing system. Germans were using community development as their path into mainstream political and economic policy involvement.

Started in the eve of a world war in which Pennsylvania was one “ground zero”, the movement languished and petered out during the war (for many reasons). The war was easily Pennsylvania’s leanest point thus far in its less than seventy-five year history, and by war’s end its badly devised policy system had collapsed into permanent stasis that were resolved by outsiders, including the private sector “man on the white horse, Benjamin Franklin”–and the British army leadership, or the London Board of Trade. A pious-reformed Quaker group had incorporated an association to involve itself in Indian negotiations (a matter of first order priority for the policy system), and the chronic conflict between legislative and executive branches was literally on the edge of the former launching a civil (political not military) war against the latter.

By war’s end the western counties were demanding fundamental governance change, and were mobilized. The future three Delaware counties were watching for their opportunity to secede, and the eastern general population, quite diverse by anyone’s standards of the time, were confused, and in uproar. The longstanding political force, the Quaker Party, was in internal tumult–and within a year Pontiac was on the warpath and the western counties were consumed by war that formally lasted until 1768. A British army was stationed in Pennsylvania; unliked through it was, it was a support to the economy and a bulwark for individual and community safety. If failed state is too harsh, let’s call Pennsylvania a political basket case.

the German Society of Pennsylvania (GSP): Self-Help, Ethnic Identification and Empowerment

In this context, this general environment a second German community development initiative developed. It too founded and incorporated a chartered organization, the German Society of Pennsylvania (GSP), and engaged in social and political reform initiatives focused entirely on the German immigrant, on the high seas, and at their arrival into Pennsylvania. It demanded regulation of the ships transporting immigrants from Germany to Pennsylvania, and changes to the indenture process. Social work initiatives for new immigrants also followed. This movement realized from the onset that its mission required participation in the larger provincial (and Philadelphia municipal corporation) and accordingly one of its own, its principal leader, John Henry Keppele was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, where he led a successful effort that led to the legislature’s approval of two major pieces of legislation relevant to the mission.

The GSP truly represented the enlarged German community; it supported (indirectly) the patriot cause in the future revolution, and maintained its organizational existence to this very day. It’s mission certainly evolved over its 250 year history, and today it can be viewed as a viable German-focused community development entity. It is not a candidate for the nation’s oldest; that honor likely goes to the Welsh Society (of Pennsylvania) founded in 1729. But if only for the size of the Pennsylvania German immigrant population, its evolving centrality to Pennsylvania politics and its policy system, and finally to its pivotal position as linchpin in the Pennsylvania-founded Midlands political culture, the German Society of Pennsylvania provided a model for ethnic community development and a validation and source of continuity of an ethnic-racial wing of American Community Development that can be traced to Pennsylvania colonial America. Primarily intended to provide help and assistance to German immigrants in Pennsylvania, the GSP evolved into a political player, a serious participant in Pennsylvania’s American Revolution,  and produced important leaders for the Federalist Party). Other ethnic groups in future years before and after the Revolution, notably the French Benevolent Society, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the St George Society of Philadelphia (English) establish a strand of ethnic associations as instruments and vehicles of Early American Community Development.

The GSP was founded on December 26th, 1764, and housed at the Philadelphia Lutheran Schoolhouse on 325 Cherry Street. By the time of its founding Germans were more than one-third of all Pennsylvanians–55,000 had entered Pennsylvania between 1737 and 1754 alone. The motivation for its founding was to assist, fundamentally reform, the immigration of Germans into Pennsylvania. Its first initiative was against the “coyotes” of German immigration–Pennsylvania shipowners who transported the immigrants and managed their initial introduction to Pennsylvania naturalization and employment/settlement in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania hinterland. German immigration to Pennsylvania was always a terrible experience from its early days; William Penn had a horrendous experience on his first voyage in 1681. But after 1750 the configuration of German immigrants shifted from the demographics of pre-1750. Younger, single, poor men and girls were more frequently coming over, not families.

Post 1750 about half of the immigrants were Redemptioners, who had to sell their labor upon arrival at port in order to pay for costs of the voyage. Greeted at the pier with no knowledge of English or English law, they were vulnerable to abuse by ship captains and consignment agents whose own sustenance was dependent on negotiating an indenture that satisfied the owner. If they made it off the pier without being indentured, they were on their own–and many were so weakened by the trip and disease, they wound up in what amounted to refugee camps at the docks. That process of immigration was both an eyesore, a source of pestilence, and an embarrassment to all, especially Quakers. It also generation a great deal of the stereotypes that haunted the non German population in this period. The making of a citizen it seems, shares much with the making of a sausage.

That mission was GSP’s core mission into the 1790’s–but by no means its only mission or initiative. The founders were for the most part elites that had developed within the (Philadelphia) German community. Its roots are primarily urban, its funds and resources based on contributions from the German commercial elite, successful businessmen in other words. Each had their own story to tell about their personal immigration and subsequent entrepreneurial success. The trigger for their initial effort to assist current German immigrants was a simple letter describing the plight of a recently-arrived ship full of Germans–many of whom were near death. Money and supplies poured in, and a group of “prominent Germans in the city” decided to form the association “to engage in more concerted efforts on behalf of newly-arrived brethren”.

[In response to a German-language newspaper article published on November 19th, 1764] which described the miserable conditions of recently-arrived German immigrants, many of whom were hovering near death, German speakers quickly donated money and supplies to help the sufferers. By the end of the month prominent Germans of the city had resolved to found an association to engage in more concerted efforts on behalf of newly-arrived German speakers. The resolve was formalized less than a month later when sixty-five members gathered and elected Henry Keppele the first president of the organization … Since Keppele and the other GSP founders were members of the [Henry Muhlenberg’s Church of St. Michael] German Lutheran congregation, the church’s schoolhouse [financed by Keppele] … was a logical choice as the temporary headquarters [99]Birte Pfleger, John Henry Keppele,//[99]

The first action the organization took was to elect its president and vice-president, two secretaries, treasurer, lawyer, and a board of six, each of which would manage relief efforts for two months each over the next year [99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006). Its first president, the first German elected in 1764 to the Pennsylvania legislature–and a stand out leader in Philadelphia’s commercial elite, an entrepreneur by even current day standards. That the GSP membership, and the source of its resources came from one Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, the home base of the Pennsylvania German Lutheran patriarch, Henry Muhlenberg, it was clear from the start the GSP’s mission was not caused, or even driven, by the general spirit or wishes of the larger German communities, and it is equally clear the GSP was created by urban German commercial and artisan Church members of one congregation, that other German religious sects, even other Lutherans were minimally involved, and that hinterland German influence was no existent. With the GSP we have a colonial example of a mission-based ethnic distressed population seeking reform of indenture and immigration on their behalf, which today is congruent with elite philanthropic community development. GSP, in my view, is a colonial example of a CDO; it was formally incorporated as a state-chartered CDO in 1781.

Heinrich Keppele was a founder, and decades-long president of the GSP. Born in 1716 of middle class civil servants of the Palatine region, Heinrich arrived in Philadelphia as a twenty-two year old in 1738. He was not a Redemptionist, and from the start he seems to have had access to a network of German Pietists, and prosperous German regional families, and their kin that settled in Pennsylvania. His motive for leaving Germany at a later age than most immigrants was probably economic opportunity in the new world-like Franklin had been a generation earlier, a man on the make. His trans-Atlantic voyage on the ill-named ship, Charming Nancy, was hell on the high seas; taking the better part of five months, 250 of 312 passengers died, mostly from “fevers”. The voyage haunted him throughout his life, and no doubt was a major reason he joined in the founding efforts of the GSP, which arose out of a similar 1764 horror story. The rise of Keppele after 1738 is helpful to our understanding of the German commercial elite made its way in, through and into the Philadelphia commercial elite. Keppele, interestingly, had during the French and Indian War volunteered for the Philadelphia militia, and served as a lieutenant for the North Ward–a bit of a departure for the typical German adverse to war and militia.

Like most single immigrants his first task was to form a homestead which he did marrying his wife Barbara in 1741 (she was sixteen). They would have fifteen children during their thirty-four year marriage; six died in infancy or early childhood (mostly sons). Keppele’s first home was in Philadelphia but he acquired a modest estate home in Northern Lights, in a German-speaking enclave. His network of German contacts from which he seems to have developed credit, clients, sellers, and reputation to start as a butcher (in Philadelphia). The times were prosperous ones, a war prosperity, and entrepreneurs pyramided investments across several sectors in succession. From his butcher business he bought an inn, and then merchant (general store), and early real estate development–by the late 1740’s (in 1748 he was only thirty-two) he was well-established as an successful entrepreneur. His investments and entry into several key intermediary economic sectors almost simultaneously (about seven or eight years) allowed him to “cross-market” each to his advantage [99] See Keppele’s family and business networks in A. G. Roeber, Palatines, Liberty and Property German: Lutherans in Colonial British America ( Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), pp. 123-5 . Like the future proverbial Irish saloon-keeper, Keppele also developed clienteles and relationships that functioned as a Rolodex for his business dealings.

[Pennsylvania German made] linseed oil could be used as a foodstuff, a paint binder, a finish for wood, and a form of putty. While his business records have not survived, it is possible that the same German-speaking farmers that bought real estate from him and purchased European imports sold by Keppele also produced the linseed oil. By the 1750’s Keppele offered his customers imports that ranged from European lemons, cheeses and fabrics to Caribbean luxuries such as sugar, molasses, and run [99]Birte Pfleger, John Henry Keppele,//

Keppele bought and sold  from and to many, including Conrad Weiser (the Proprietor’s Indian Agent), and established a branch store in Lancaster (Pennsylvania’s western hinterland) with him. His Swabian Pietist connections in Germany, led him to house a new immigrant, minister Henry Muhlenberg, the future patriarch of Pennsylvania Lutheranism when the latter arrived in America in 1742. The two became lifelong friends–and Muhlenberg was a co-founder of the GSP. Keppele’s close friendship and considerable interaction with the noted Lutheran leader is confirmed by the more than two hundred entries Keppele was given in his daily journal. In turn Heinrich was a lifelong member of the Philadelphia Lutheran church, the Church’s treasurer and a sustained contributor to its various causes including the  St Michaels Church school. He was also a co-signer for the Church’s mortgage–the Church being the Mid-Atlantic chancery of American Lutherans. All this is consistent with Keppele’s considerable investment if real estate. He bought some houses in Philadelphia but made more extensive commitments in Lancaster County were he acquired large parcels and subdivided them for sale to Germans. He apparently also provided mortgage financing to purchasers.

It is not clear when he garnered his first consignment of German immigrants, but it probably was as early as 1751; consignment of German immigrants probably was a portion of his investment-importation of West Indian trade ventures. As early as 1722, Rotterdam Germans were allowed passage on ships to Philadelphia on credit, i.e. consignment, and Keppele’s end of the deal was to meet them at the pier, negotiate their indenture, their purchase of land–or funds from relatives if available– and process them through naturalization, all for a fee. There is every indication that Keppele, who was a genuine Pietist and deeply religious Lutheran, abused his power in this process-although he did regularly use the debt courts to obtain payments from creditors. Keppele was an insider in the German immigration nexus [99] James Boyd. “Merchants of Migration: Keeping the German Atlantic connected in America’s Early National Period“, Immigrant Entrepreneurship, 1720 to the Present; From this activity, Keppele no doubt acquired sufficient capital to purchase his own ship, and begin the Rotterdam, Philadelphia, West Indies to Rotterdam trade cycle–a variation on the trade cycle made more famous by Yankee Boston-Salem shippers. Eventually, he grew his fleet to twelve ships ships, becoming the fifth largest in Philadelphia (Robert Morris was second). It is estimated his ships brought over 2,200 Germans to the piers of Philadelphia [99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006) p. 10.

As likely as not, it is this central role in the immigrant process as well as his commercial intermediary role as a department store merchant-importer-shipper, that laid the foundation not only for Keppele’s wealth, but for his standing in the Lutheran Church, his reputation as a fair and honest man, and for his status in the larger German and non-German community. It was this reputation as well as his success that underscored his election to the Pennsylvania legislature in 1764–itself remarkable as Keppele had been naturalized on in 1761, more than twenty years after his emigration. Whatever his interest in civic affairs may have been, it obviously did not include politics and voting, and given his eclectic business activities and investments it is likely he avoided taking sides in the precarious Legislature-Quaker Party–Proprietor feud. Keppele’s position in the Pennsylvania-Philadelphia German community enjoys no formal or documented status, but, as the evidence in the below paragraphs support, he certainly was regarded as one of the most successful and highly-regarded individuals of that period. In this regard, he occupied an indisputable status consistent with an elite in the German community, if not in the larger Philadelphia area as well [99] Birte Pfleger, John Henry Keppele, “Immigrant Entrepreneurship, 1720 to the Present.

During his single term in office, Keppele was one of the few Germans who publicly took a position against British taxation of the colonies. That position was consistent with Keppele’s  prohibition of ostentatious and imported goods for those in attendance of his wife’s funeral in 1774 (supporting the position on non-importation)–for this he earned a favorable comment from Franklin’s old newspaper the Gazette. During the Revolution he invested in Paine’s newly-chartered Bank of Pennsylvania which used to proceeds to support Washington’s army. During the two-year British occupation of Philadelphia, Keppele moved to Lancaster (the headquarters of the Articles of Confederation and and the Pennsylvania Assembly). A reoccurrence of his own immigration experience explains much of the reason Heinrich Keppele, a state legislator, victim and entrepreneur of immigration was a natural to respond and lead the German community’s drive to reform the immigration process, and to prevent future horrific trans-Atlantic crossings and abuses of indenture and naturalization.

It was Keppele who successfully authored the legislation and pushed its passage over two sessions of the Pennsylvania legislature. The first law (1765) reduced crowding by specifying the minimum space each immigrant received for his accommodation on board, required ship captains to have medical care available on board for immigrants, prohibited ship captains from making excessive profits while selling goods to immigrants from the ship’s store, required regular cleaning of the immigrant space, and mandated a translator upon arrival to explain passengers their “rights”–a sort of immigration-relevant “Miranda”. Also included was a series of regulations that removed abuses from the indenture contract, and contrary to previous practice limited the obligations of widows and children to pay for the transportation of their deceased, and husbands and wives could not be separated in indenture without their consent.

To the enforcement of these provisions, and to the integration of post-1766 German immigrants, the GSP dedicated itself and its resources through the 18th and 19th century. “The society wanted to protect newly arriving Germans from abuse but did not want to serve as a permanent almshouse. GSP members were convinced that hardworking pious Germans would succeed in Pennsylvania. After all, they themselves had been able to attain considerable wealth and prestige in the new homeland” [99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006) p. 11. To state the obvious, GSP, an unambiguous German ethnic community development organization, was not, and never was, a “bottoms-up” rank and file based membership organization. Its initial membership fee was 20 shillings, and an additional 5 per quarter–and had to pay a fine of 10 shillings for each meeting missed–the average daily worker got paid about 2 shillings a day [99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006) p. 17. It was elite-based, founded, and remained throughout its first two centuries. Its motto, displayed on its seal “By Religion, Industry, and Courage will German progeny flourish”, with a Bible, plow, and a sword, as symbols of what the expectations were for GSP assistance of the immigrant German.

The pro-Revolutionary position taken by Keppele was indicative of the GSP Board of Directors–whose affluent and well-placed membership afforded food, money, and other resources to the cause, and Washington’s army in particular. Keppele’s GSP co-founder, Christoph Ludwig, was described by Washington as “his honest friend”, and Ludwig supplied bread to his army at Valley Forge. Several other GSP Board members enlisted in the army. This pro-Revolution stance was also taken by Muhlenberg, and more particularly his son, also a minister enlisted in the army and his farewell sermon preached there is a time to pray and a time to fight”, taking off his robe to reveal his military uniform. His brother Frederick Muhlenberg went on in a few short years to become the First Speaker of the State of Pennsylvania’s Assembly, and then U.S. Congressman–both brothers would serve in later years as president of the GSP. The notable service of the GSP and its Board was in sharp contradiction to the general feeling of the German community–providing some evident the German rank and file conformed to the previously ascribed cultural preference against war and militia service/expenditures.

Pennsylvania Germans were rather reluctant supporters of the Revolution. The Pennsylvania Germans understood liberty primarily as negative freedom, namely freedom from oppression. Many Germans were not familiar with English conceptions of liberty and did not see British imperial policies as reason to revolt. To Lutherans in particular, ‘the possibility that liberty and property could justify rebellion against legitimate authority seemed utterly preposterous”. Philadelphia Germans did not on the whole prominent parts as either Patriots or Loyalists … {Indeed] the Pietist Germantown Printer, Christopher Saur [the son of our noted Saur] was arrested as a Loyalist, and his press confiscated[99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006) p. 16.

What accounts for the inverse behavior of German commercial and high-serving Lutheran ministry from the traditional cultural values of the typical German immigrant-Pennsylvania settler, I can only speculate. But activist they were, committed ones at that. The typical German immigrant they protected and served by providing assistance and resources were not sympathetic to their political activities.

However out-of-step with today’s vision of a community development organization, GSP was tireless in its efforts to protect the German immigrant–assuming as a primary task the representation of German immigrants in court, and other legal matters. In the period before the Revolution, the GSP became a fixture and the primary go-to for the German immigrant community, and in no way was GSP merely an elite-funded do-gooder with best intentions organization–it got its hands dirty with face to fact involvement in a wide variety of immigrant services. Those services extended to German indentured servants as well. Indenture declined after the mid-1790’s–by 1809 only 8% of voluntary immigrants from Europe were indentured and in Philadelphia, a decade later, only 35 indentured servants were recorded [99] Birte Pfleger, Ethnicity Matters: a History of the German Society of Pennsylvania (German Historical Institute, Washington DC, 2006) pp. 14-5. Accordingly, the GSP during the 18th century, continuing on to the present, pivoted from its immigration and indentured roots–and Revolutionary War support-into other activities and priorities, in nature with the times. As early as 1781, it provided scholarships to Germans attending the University of Pennsylvania, and supported the teaching of German, and a professorship of “instruction in the classical languages ‘through the medium of the German tongue’-the first two such professors were members of the GSP

So what do we make of this Keppele-led GSP, its extremely successful legislative reform instigated by two legislative enactments, its subsequent entry into revolutionary partisanship, and eventual membership as Federalists in the Early Republic U.S. Congress? Immigration and indenture reform certainly tackled what had to have been a foremost issue of any past, present or future German immigrant to Pennsylvania. The abuses were real and had been sustained over fifty years. Why the time was ripe in the mid-1760’s, and not before (there were a series of immigration horror stories that periodically punctuated the news and, with a rare exception or two, had not generated more than cursory reaction). But something happened around 1760, prompting Heinrich Keppele to finally become naturalized so he could vote–and as Fogelman’s naturalization data suggest also spurred German naturalizations in general.

Amazingly, between 1744 and 1759, naturalizations in Pennsylvania averaged only 51 per year. In the four years previous to 1760 (1756-1759), however, the average declined to 35 per year, and if one leaves out 1759 (which was 45% of the four year total), the average had declined to 41. In 1759 it rose to 65, but then 239 in 1760, and in Keppele’s 1761, to 835, followed by 392, 258, 280, and in 1765, to 2,661 (BTW, in 1766 it returned once again to a mere 35) [99] Alan Spencer Fogelman, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), p.137 Table 5.2. Remarkably, the percentage of German-Swiss Pennsylvania legislator was 0% previous to 1756, 5% between 1756 (2 legislators) to1761, leaped to 9% in 1762, and rose to 20% in 1768-9 [99] Alan Spencer Fogelman, Hopeful Journeys, p. 151 Graph 6.1. Clearly something was going on within the German community, and Keppele-GSP immigration-indenture reform was only part. GSP-led reform was riding a wave of German political participation, but had not caused the wave which began a half-decade earlier, a wave of naturalizations that had not involved itself with either indenture or immigration reform–which was largely based on Philadelphia’s affluent commercial and artisan class. There was something in the air or water than inspired substantially more German involvement after the victory of the British army at Fort Pitt? What was it? That answer might give us more insight into GSP’s community development-like initiative, and the mobilization of the German community between 1759 and 1765?

The Something Else That Was Going On: Rise and Fall of German Anti-Penn Proprietary Land Sales Policy

Intro and Context–The simple, although had to fathom, reality was that immigration and indenture reform had not mobilized German involvement in Pennsylvania politics until a group of Church going Philadelphia German elites got on their own wagon and successfully carried it through the Pennsylvania legislature-a legislature no longer dominated by the traditional German ally, the pious Quaker whose dominating influence over the Quaker Party was on the wane. Despite the massively shared experiences of all Germans with these issues, and the long-standing obvious need for reform, Germans had not articulated any serious political demand for reform in over a half-century. Yet in the dead of German immigration during the French and Indian World War, after the golden period of German immigration had passed in 1755, for some reason establishment, Church-going urban German commercial elites took the initiative on behalf of the all Germans, using their resources and access to power, entered directly into the Pennsylvania policy system–which heretofore they had avoided like the plague–and successfully reformed Pennsylvania immigration/indenture policies. So successful was their effort that German elites in other colonies copied their model (“German immigrants formed similar societies in Charleston (1766), Baltimore (1781), and New York (1784) [99] Alan Spencer Fogelman, Hopeful Journeys, pp. 133-4

But as the last paragraph of the previous section detailed, something much larger was going on within the German community. That something had prompted increasing German naturalization beginning a half-decade earlier, as well as the election in this period of meaningful increase in German-speaking representation in the Pennsylvania legislature–Keppele was only one of these representatives. That something was an issue-nexus critical to the average German’s motivation to immigrate to Pennsylvania, and the pillar of what was to be the Pennsylvania German political culture: the desire for opportunity and a new beginning by establishing an agricultural homestead in Penn’s Pennsylvania. Land, and the acquisition and ownership of land, was the policy issue that was to mobilize the average Pennsylvania German to finally mobilize them to participate in the Pennsylvania policy system.

To appreciate the GSP immigration/indenture social reform-community development secondary context in explaining the entry of Germans into Pennsylvania’s policy system, we ought to first reacquaint the reader to two contrasting contexts: (1) the VA experience in accommodating its western settlement and contrast it with Pennsylvania’s; (2) the differences in German cohort-generations, more fully understanding the first generation’s center of geographic location, and its alliance with Quakerism and the Quaker Party, with the attitudes, geographic center of post 1748 German immigrants, and the reality of their frontier existence. That reality brought simmering tensions to a boiling point and a partisan-policy system breakdown in the 1764-7 period–which thus far we have only set the stage. In the annual elections of 1765 and 66 the age-old dominance of the Quaker Party hegemony over the Pennsylvania policy system was savagely torn asunder, if not broken forever. That disruption upended the dynamics of the Quaker Party-Legislature’s civil war against the Penn Proprietary, and temporarily rebalanced the latter’s policy system’s position vis a vis the Quaker Party.

When the effects of the eruption were more fully digested, the dynamics that led all American colonies on the path to autonomy, independence, and war were fully unleashed in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s drift to Independence and Revolution would prove more volatile, and would result in a totally fractured and fragmented province-state level policy system that simple lacked the capacity to respond to its external environment. Only in 1775-6 did outsiders, the man on the white horse, step in and deliver the bold stroke necessary to finally break Pennsylvania’s stasis-bound policy system from its paralysis. The German’s role in all this, the reader many wonder, is that it is a swing vote in the short term and that short term will itself set the stage for a longer-term German-Quaker merger of cultures and partisan fortunes in the new Articles, and later Early Republic policy systems.

the Pennsylvania-Virginia Contrasting Western Settlement Context– Virginia’s core Tidewater and Piedmont policy system was dominated by a Tidewater plantation elite that thoroughly controlled its local government and plantation hinterland. That Tidewater elite, not without its factions and scandals, by and large was able to master the provincial legislatures and “stand off’ the royal governor, who on frequent occasion for his own reasons would “go native” and allow the plantation elites to conduct their own approach to the settlement of its Shenandoah western counties. The plantation elite formed land development companies, and with some support from their legislature and governor bought up western lands and sold them to a hodgepodge of German, Scots Irish and other ethnic/religious groups that wandered down the Great Wagon Trail from Philadelphia.

That worked well enough for the plantation elite that they extended their ambitions into the southern Ohio Valley–including parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. These plantation elites did not lose their control as Virginia drifted to independence, rather early on a significant element seized the revolutionary leadership, and were major participants in the thirteen colonies road to the Continental Conventions. These elites never lost control over their core counties and the essentials of their power over policy were carried over into the revolutionary war government and policy system. The western settlement area was malapportioned, and its settlers for various reasons either continued their migrations elsewhere or simply made their peace with the core Tidewater (German-settled Shenandoah).

In fact the Tidewater elites were content to sell German and Scots Irish the land, let them speak German, tolerate their churches/schools, and in general let them alone to set up homesteads, with low taxes, and isolated from the Legislature on the other side of the Shenandoah ridges. It was only after 1756 that Indians posed a major problem, and the Virginians had no problem with militia, as long as the Virginia Tidewater plantation “Colonels” could lead them. The Tidewater core counties were able to maintain their authority over the western counties, and in fact held onto them until the Civil War, or even longer. The decentralized Virginia Tidewater policy system, while not monolithic or without its fissures and moments of stasis, was not fatally damaged. Not so with Pennsylvania.

Not desiring to endless repeat the now-tired tale of Pennsylvania policy system stasis–and paralysis, Pennsylvania was an almost failed policy system and it approached the crisis years of 1764-67 at its weakest–in the midst of a political (not military) civil war with the Quaker Party/Franklin in London arguing to the Crown to oust the near-hated Penn Proprietary and replace it with a royal governor. The Penn Proprietary, more in favor with the Crown and factions within a political war between British Tories and Whigs, successfully resisted Quaker Party’s/Franklin’s overtures, with a non-decision, retaining without endorsement the status quo. Wildly out of step with the majority of the other American provinces/colonies, and now frustrated in London (no man on a white horse would cross the ocean), the policy system simply became overwhelmed when its western counties mobilized to the threshold of their own civil war. The frightening element of the western up rise to the hitherto power Quaker Party was the rise of western Germans who joined with the Scots Irish to back a Penn Proprietary and a new Presbyterian political party. The Germans had finally broke into the politics of Pennsylvania policy and politics, over the objections of their confused ethnic brethren in Pennsylvania’s eastern core counties. The Quaker Party Humphrey Dumphrey had fallen off its wall, never to be put together again. Pennsylvania had not followed Virginia’s western settlement path. The implications of this will fill several of the following chapters.

the Disruption Within Immigrant German Cohorts– German immigrants to Pennsylvania came from three distinct cohorts, the first of which had by this time established itself, and passed on (by the mid 1720’s) its values and institutions to its descendants, a second generation who were joined in short order by a second generation of new German immigrants who entered Pennsylvania from the late 1720’s to the early to mid 1740’s. These two second generations settled in the core three counties of the Pennsylvania policy system, and established their homesteads if hinterland resident, or their commercial-artisan startup in the eastern counties and Philadelphia. The second generations made their peace with their dominant Quaker neighbors, and became their political allies in the Quaker Party quest to not participate in war, establish as limited a government as could function, and to throw asunder the autocracy, greed, incompetence, and inconsistent or consistently bad local governance of the Penn Proprietary. The third German generation, who were accompanied by a flood of Scots Irish (who by 1776 outnumbered Germans in Pennsylvania) after 1748, arrived under circumstances and conditions totally at ends with those encountered by the first and second generations.

The eastern core counties were pretty much filled up by the time they arrived. So they moved into the western-Maryland bordered lands/counties (Cumberland), and after being split off from the original three counties, four more “western counties” in the footholds of the Appalachians-or central Pennsylvania. When they ventured over the mountains, they venture into more than they bargained for in the form of really unhappy resident Indian tribes, French soldiers, and even Virginian competitors. The British colonial and army involvement which followed from the war that was unleashed in 1754, a world war that lasted nearly a decade in which Pennsylvania was a prime ground zero, put all western settlers under the reality of war, devastation, and inability to establish a homestead and commence their new start in Pennsylvania. Many, very many, just moved on down south to Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Left behind were settlers who had set up some homestead, and were determined to realize their dreams somehow. The failure of the Legislature, the Quaker Party in particular, to develop some sympathy for the western settler policy agenda, plus the structure of the Penn Proprietary government, left western settlement pretty much in the hands of the Proprietary and its agents–and the Iroquois. The western counties, with one exception (Lancaster) were somewhat diverse in ethnic population, shared mostly with some very cankerous Scots Irish, were isolated by the Quaker Party/Legislature through malapportionment in which they were entitled to only half the representation as the eastern core counties–even though by the mid sixties, they easily had a near majority of Pennsylvania’s total population. The ability to set up congregations and copy the key institutions of the eastern Germans into the west was at best incomplete. Their ability to access economically the prosperity of the east was limited by the lack of roads, bridges–and peaceful Indian relations–plus a whole lot more of distance.

Frustrated politically, with hopes that the end of the French and Indian war would allow them to set up their homesteads permanently, and then to start up their local economies and prosper, were doomed to one more disappointment. Pontiac’s War commenced within a year after war’s end. The bad old days returned in spades, and when they turned to the Provincial Legislature in the East, they found their Quaker Party engaged in a great civil war with the only element of Pennsylvania government that offered them some solace in the form of support for militia and forts. That set eastern counties against western counties, which, dominated the Legislature and the long-standing Pennsylvania policy system, which had been built through the support of the first two generations of eastern Germans. Germans, of whatever generation, disliked war and rebellion, but in the west that was the hand they were dealt. Prodded and pull by the actions and rhetoric of their Scots Irish neighbors–and their Presbyterian ministers, and surround with the threat of Indian raids and massacre, they mobilized to make the east respond to their demands. That they needed to vote in order to change the eastern-dominated legislature, they became naturalized in great numbers. It was their numbers that provided muscle to the partisan disruption of 1764-7. Little did any one know that from this mélange of frustration and fragmented ethnic values would come the seeds of the Revolutionary War Pennsylvania State Policy System. Oh well, I digress.

Eastern Germans, whose culture like the Quaker culture, emphasized family, religions, a decentralized government, very limited taxes, had by the 1760 long since established their families, homesteads, and place in the economy–mostly through individual effort and hard work. Arriving in families they developed strong institutions in the homogenous communities in which they had settled. Determined for all sorts of reasons to leave government to others, they had made alliance with the Quakers and the Quaker Party–if only because they shared the same attitudes about war and soldiering, a love for family, and individual hard work. Their communities were dominated by the Church and the congregation, and they developed an artisan class and a first generation of ethnic leadership–mostly from the Church.

Few were naturalized, and since Germans were virtually the only non-English in Pennsylvania and the American colonies–i.e. they were aliens– and so they could not vote of hold office. Until 1751 no German speaker ever was elected to the Legislature. Except for the Penn Proprietary coup attempts in 1741-2, German involvement in the Pennsylvania policy system was through the Quaker Party. The chronic series of wars that followed only reinforced their determination not to go to war, while to some extent enjoying the benefits of army spending, and war-induced, if spotty, prosperity. They lived in a different world from their western ethnic brethren–and vice versa. The chasm between Pennsylvania west with Pennsylvania East was not a question of values or beliefs, or different institutions; it was a difference in geography and the different environment in which each existed. Solve the environmental distortions, and the chasm would dissolve. But that is a step too far for this module.

It is now we can turn to the issue of land ownership, and homestead formation: settlement–and the Penn Proprietary settlement strategy. It was that strategy, and the change in Penn’s strategy made to cement the German loyalty to his position and party, that we now turn.

the Penn Proprietary settlement strategy and the change in Penn’s strategy to cement German loyalty to his position and party–If immigration/indenture reform didn’t get the average German Pennsylvanian off his duff and into politics, Alan Fogelman asserts something else did: Penn Proprietor’s land sales and settlement strategy. If you agree with that, and I obviously do, that means the western county-hinterland German, newly-arrived (since the early 1750’s) were the element of the German population that was mobilized. From that one can logically argue the war-induced frontier crisis, a nexus of issues that involved land sales, settlement/building, security against Native American/French attack, infrastructure–and malapportionment by the eastern core, Quaker Party dominated Legislature. From that it is relatively easy to see eastern Germans, eastern-resident Einwolmer, self-interest and political agenda, was out of tune with the western-resident Neukommer, establish my household homestead agenda priorities.

Policy dominance over land and settlement strategy was a long-established responsibility of the Penn Proprietary–from which the Legislature (Quaker Party) had been mostly excluded. For this reason, and others, the Legislature was not particularly focused on developments and development of the hinterland, and less interested in the trans-Appalachian settlement. To make matters not only more complex, when the Legislature did become somewhat more involved after 1748, the pious Quaker element of the Quaker Party (Pemberton family/allies) cut a piece of the action with Native American relations/land sales treaties that dovetailed their tradition Quaker views on the issue with the avoidance of war with Indians and the French. The Proprietary now found itself at ends with not only the Legislature and Quaker Party but pious-reform Quakers operating semi-autonomously in Indian negotiations. Westerners of all stripes, looking at Indian relations from a perspective quite different/opposed from the pious Quaker found it difficult to distinguish Quaker Party/Legislature and the pious Quaker actions. On Indian relations and war security issues, westerns gravitated begrudgingly to the the Proprietor’s position. In short, a west hinterland in crisis marginalized the Legislature, which in any case, was always most concerned with its base of power and constituency: the three core eastern counties. As long as the hinterland was wracked by war, security and Native American relations superceded even land sales and settlement policy, however, disliked, by western Germans. Lancaster County became the ground zero for all of this.

The Legislature found its niche in urban and economic development after a community or settlement had been defined, and incorporated by the Proprietary Land Office and Proprietor approval. In the 1750’s and 60’s that only reinforced its interest and involvement in the rapidly growing, and robust economy of the eastern core. If land acquisition and development was the Neukommer first priority, then we must examine Proprietary land policy to determine if and how it played a role in western German political mobilization. That Proprietary land strategy could be affected by the politics and policy associated with the Quaker Party-Franklin civil war against the Proprietary control over the colony should be no shock to the reader–nearly everything else had over the last fifty years. Accordingly, we should expect our discussion of Proprietary-German western hinterland demands to overlap into the post 1764 Proprietary-Legislative crisis. They will bleed into each other and become almost inseparable.

Since the Penn sons took over the Proprietorship in the 1730’s, the essentials of Proprietary land sales and settlement strategy remained constant. With near monopoly level authority over the strategy, Penn’s goals for land sales and settlement strategy were relatively simple: make profits to support the family in England, and to offset any costs associated with colonial administration. Land was acquired from the Indians in traditional Quaker fashion, by land purchase, but the sons departed from their father’s policy of ignoring the British colonial office’s covenant chain by negotiating lands sales directly from resident tribes. The sons, for good and bad reasons, followed British policy and negotiated with the Iroquois, leaving the resident tribes out of the negotiation loop. Although resident tribes were the ones to be displaced, or to lose title to their land, they were compelled by the Iroquois “to give their ground” to the Proprietary. Not infrequently, European settlers would move in with pockets of Native Americans left resident in neighboring areas–meaning there could be hostile parties living close by each other. The raids of resident tribes commenced after 1755 when the French and Indian War commence–and from that point on the entire hinterland was either under direct attack or threat of such. The Penn Proprietary was caught square in the middle, in a situation it had only partially created.

After land was sold, to immigrants or speculative settlement developers, the Proprietary defined the boundaries, surveyed the area, developed parcels, and handed the matter over to its independent Land Office for administration and management, i.e. collect quitrents and deal with squatters. When a settlement applied for incorporation as a jurisdictions, the application went to the Proprietary, which in its due consideration would impose its terms, and upon satisfaction issue a settlement/town/city charter–of which the Legislature had no say, and to which it had to accept. The Legislature did find a “backdoor”, and the very large counties initially established in 1681 were carved up and new counties were split off under terms defined by the Legislature. This is how representative malapportionment was implemented; the net effect of which being new counties were grossly underrepresented and the core counties maintained a comfortable majority in the Legislature. When newly-split off counties were created during the 1748-1761 period, they were incapable of defending or advocating their interests in the Legislature. These interests were fundamental:

To make a goal of it in Pennsylvania German immigrants needed among other things: (1) plenty of land (facilitated by an aggressive policy of acquiring land from Native Americans); an efficient land office to keep speculators at bay and give individual setters a chance to get good land; (3) a means of financing purchases of expensive land (that is “paper money debt” issued through the [Legislatures] General Loan Office); and (4) security for their property (from the French and Indian threat, fraud, foreclosure, and escheat [right to inherit (Germans were aliens and did not enjoy that right without Legislative approval) or eminent domain] [99] Alan Spencer Fogelman, Hopeful Journeys, p. 140.

As a bureaucracy, isolated in a civil war, the Land Office, however central to land strategy was a lost cause–embedded with corruption, opportunism, inefficiency and even simple laziness, and arrogant and insensitive administrators. It’s head, the Provincial Secretary, was at times, a good deal of the time in fact, the most powerful office held by the Proprietorship. It was held by a series of inconsistent Provincial Secretaries who could, and did, depart from Penn’s expressed policy, while at other times, putting aside its own judgment and acted as a conduit of Proprietary policy whatever the consequences. The client, the land purchaser or the landowner was at cost odds with the Land Office (annual quitrents for example), and as we shall see it was an open sore with the western Germans. Called the “manor system” (which harkens back to, and reflects, German bad memories of feudal German barons) the Proprietary kept 10% of any land purchased for its own use, set the taxes and priced the land for sale. The sons increased the price of land 10x–and doubled the taxes–that of their Dad. Land was expensive, and the best parcels were the Proprietors. It would not take much for newly-arrived German settlers to think of Penn as simply a New World German robber baron.

Loan Office and Proprietary policy was enforced by county sheriffs and the county judiciary–which was also pretty much dominated by Proprietary appointees. Enforcement was uneven, and through much of Pennsylvania’s colonial history actual “site control” of the land owned by the Proprietary–and collection of annual taxes–were a hit or miss affair. Many, at times most, settlers, particular the Scots Irish just worked with the Loan Office long enough to get the land surveyed, and then simply set up their farm and household. They squatted and never formally purchased the land–and accordingly Penn’s profits were few and far between. They did not get rich at all, and most of their time was spent haggling with their own bureaucracy or with dubious owners of land that would not pay taxes. The amazing, almost unbelievable reality, was that despite all this, a constant stream of German and Scots Irish poured out into the wilderness into this nightmarish bureaucratic and security morass. If things got too bad, settlers moved on to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and points south. Contemporary textbooks ignore this reality: that after 1750 both German and Scots Irish migrations resembled greatly the current day migration of Central American and Mexican immigrants to our borders, i.e. essentially unstoppable.

When the settlement areas expanded deeper into the hinterland, the Loan Office was left in the dust, and the Proprietor remained still in England. With no real roads, access was problematic under the best of circumstances; the threat of Indian raids was just an added adventure. When settlement began to cross over the Appalachians into the no-mans-land of the Ohio Valley, no one, including the British Colonial Office, knew who owned what–and the French had their own ideas on the matter. Does the reader sense that no one was really in charge out here? By the 1760’s it was quite clear to all the major players in the Pennsylvania policy system that western settlers were on their own, beyond their effective authority, and lacking a militia, Pennsylvania was now defenseless against its own none-too-happy settlers. Part of western German unhappiness was attributable to our publisher friend, Christopher Sauer (the elder).

Sauer urged them to become more politically involved, and the first step was naturalization; after that they could vote for the party that best acquired and protect their land. He also nurtured the memory of European feudal land abuses, and raised the specter of Penn’s refusal to pay taxes as nothing more than Rhineland baron’s effort to keep the Germans as vassals through feudal due and fees to pay for the war to protect their land.  Whatever support Penn got from his pro-defense and paper money position, he lost it with his land policies, failure to lower the price of land and keep the Land Office open, and failure to pay for his perceived share of war’s cost. If either he or the Quaker Party could not respond favorably, Sauer urged the Germans to leave Pennsylvania and head south. At this point at the onset of the French and Indian War (1755), fear was at its height as Indian raids on Pennsylvania frontier homesteads by resident tribes had occurred for the first time in Pennsylvania colonial history. With Braddock annihilated, the borderlands had no viable defense if the French or Indians attacked.

The paper money crisis now took on new meaning. War expenses, forts and militia, and the expenses of the British army (roads) imparted a new urgency in the west. When they still bogged down, the need for western self-defense, both commonsensical and desperately urgent, and the failure of the Quaker Party to deliver it (Penn was on the “right side” of the issue) mobilized a considerable number of Berks County Germans, about 600, (November 1755). They marched the fifty miles and arrived in Philadelphia–carrying several mutilated corpses with them. Governor Morris met with them and made his case, and that of the Proprietor, and the Germans, convinced they had done their part, headed off to confront the Legislature. The next day, the Legislature sent a bill for 60,000 pounds to the Governor, which he signed. That round of the paper money stasis had been won by the Berks County Germans. Of note, despite the havoc on the frontier, Penn did not relax his efforts to wring profit out of his land administration, and evictions and tax collections did not abate–Penn did not back away from demands to tax his land, and to top it off he refused to accept paper money for quitrents, demanding hard to obtain hard coin instead. Incredibly, the demand for frontier land did not abate, and what land was sellable became even more expensive, and subject to speculator intrusion. In response to this Penn shut down his Land Office, and unofficially closed the frontier to legal land sale.

A new British army was slowly formed over the next year, but its main staging areas were in Maryland. It was at this point, 1758, that Sauer died, his son took over, and printers associated with the GSP founding picked up the slack, leading to the approval of a naturalization act allowing alien children to inherit land, and set up a legislative survey office to replace/duplicate Penn’s. Both pieces of legislation, however, were repealed by the London Board of Trade, at Penn’s urging. German support for Penn and his Proprietary probably reached an all-time low around 1760. Having said that, the worm was about to turn.

Forbes’ victory at Fort Penn in late 1758 led to the stabilization of the Pennsylvania frontier. Germans remained loyal to the Quaker Party as self defense needs subsided. But that could not last. By the fall of 1763, a new Indian war, Pontiac’s Rebellion wracked the frontier and self defense reverted to its old place on the hierarchy of western German needs. For both Scots Irish and Germans this was the last straw, and whatever inhibition either felt about a full-fledged attack and terror campaign against the frontier and resident Indian tribes disappeared. In the fervor against Indians, the Paxton Boys affair stood out, beginning a series of incidents, reactions, marches, official and court actions, followed by further retributions. Extending over 1764, the turmoil and ill will polarized west from the east, and western German from the Quakers. The Scots Irish were driving this polarization, but Germans went along for the rise–including the ride to Philadelphia which Franklin was able to divert–by successfully appealing to the Germans to turn back–and convincing the remaining Scots Irish to settle for an introduction of their bill against western malapportionment in the legislature (it never passed, however).

By the time of the October 1764 annual legislative election western-eastern polarization was at its height. Franklin’s effort, some would say obsession, to depose the Proprietary in London was controversial, and the timing, at least as far as most westerners thought, couldn’t have been worse. The Quaker Party and the pious Quakers were reasserting their now-traditional pacifist policies, and to the westerners it appeared to be an unequivocal lack of will to defend their frontier homesteads. The Proprietary Party at this juncture sensed they could appeal to Germans, and could drive a wedge in the traditional Quaker Party-German coalition. It worked to a degree. Franklin and some of his aggressive anti-Proprietary candidates were defeated and sent back home. The Quaker Party did manage a slimmer majority in the Legislature, but was clearly on the defensive from that point on. Germans were the largest single voting bloc in that election, and in 1764 Lutherans and German Reformer voted a majority for the Proprietary Party. Once again with a slim majority, the Quaker Party approved the final bill-petition to demand the repudiation of the Penn Proprietary, and once again sent Franklin back to London to negotiate it. The Quaker Party die had been cast, it had finally crossed its Rubicon–and in so doing did not address or alleviate western German demands, and instead activate some “underdog” reaction that rebounded to the Proprietor.

Sensing victory, the Proprietor Party redoubled their efforts in the 1765 election campaign, which was even more bitter, polarizing and hard fought than the 1764 one had been. All inhibitions were broken and everything from bribes, to scandals, to rumors, and finally the threat of violence permeated the election process. In this case, the Proprietor was loudly proclaiming he would arm his Lancaster County German voters and send them to Philadelphia–and simultaneously “thrash” the Lancaster Sheriff and any Quakers who manned the poll booths. He sent an estimated 2600 Germans–an army by the standards of the day– into Philadelphia to be naturalized. Why would Penn send a German horde of potential voters, the reader may ask? He had reason to believe they would in October 1765 support him in the election. Why?

With push come to shove, Penn finally had been convinced that his land sales and management policies were an almost insurmountable barrier to securing German votes. He also was presented data which essentially argued that he could make a fortune in land sales if he reduced his price, eased his restrictions, reformed his Loan Office, and cut quitrents–using paper money. He also eased off evictions and contesting inheritance succession. During the summer of 1765, he announced that 100 acres of land would cost five pounds, not fifteen; he gave squatters the right to buy their land and obtain clear title for reasonable rates, pushed back against land speculators that haunted  Germans who were seeking to buy land. All of this was translated into German and published in newspapers, pamphlets. To correct the perception of corruption, he also reformed his Land Office and hired new surveyors–honest ones, and he appointed a new Receiver General to collect quitrents, kicking out a much hated one. To his credit, Penn followed up with further reforms in later years (1769), and like Scrooge after seeing the three ghosts, western German perception of the Penn Proprietary changed overnight. And the price cut did work to his advantage and for the first time, land sales did bring him significant profits through to the Revolution. From near poverty, he became one of England’s richest families. Penn like Scrooge had discovered what respect for the “surplus population” could do for him.

The naturalization process required Protestant certification from the chief congregation of the sect.  Muhlenberg, his St Michael’s parish was the chief congregation from Pennsylvania Lutherans. His congregation was badly split on the western-eastern self defense issue (the reader should remember, this is congregation was the GSP home base, and 1765 was the year of its founding.  Polarization split the German community) and the naturalization of his horde of German voters could easily throw the election to one side or the other, For days hundreds of Germans lingered on the streets waiting for confirmation, church charter and a trip to the courthouse to vote. On top of this, the congregation had a few months earlier sent a petition to Thomas Penn for a charter for the church/school–an action vital to its fiscal stability. The 2600 received their letter of confirmation during the day before the election and six hundred Germans met the night before the election to discuss the charter–and the next day they went to vote in the election. Just to sweeten the turmoil a bit more, on the day after the election, a ship arrived from London carrying the stamps to commence implementation of the now famous Stamp Act. Demonstrations followed.


To be fair and more precise, Penn got a break he never imagined he would. With London’s 1763 Proclamation Act in effect–blocking Germans from crossing the Appalachians and settling down in the fertile Ohio Valley, and in 1765 the announcement of a major new tax, the Stamp Act changed the perception of the Crown by the average Pennsylvanian. By that time, the British army, still in place, had abandoned its efforts to stabilize the hinterland–enforce the Proclamation Line- or mediate between settler and Native Americans. With considerable irony the British commanding general told the Colonial Office (and the Native Americans), that it was up to the Native Americans to police their own trans-Appalachian lands–the Army trusted their sense of fairness more than they did the settlers. This set off a set of “police actions” which further chronically destabilized the frontier until the Revolution commenced ; in Virginia, for example, Lord Dunsmore’s War (1774) would be triggered by these settler-Native American blood feuds in which the peaceful and the weak were most hurt. Once again, the victory over Pontiac had not resulted in a quiet frontier. In this atmosphere, Franklin and the Quaker Party’s drive to replace Penn with a royal governor seemed badly out of step with the turn in public opinion.

For Penn, the Quaker Party and Pennsylvania it was a new ball game after 1765–with a new set of winners and losers. The game went the full nine innings as Pennsylvania had entered into its “Drift to Autonomy, Independence, and Revolution. As the reader might suspect, that drift was turbulent, and in the end was pretty much botched with Pennsylvania Legislature eventually rejecting all three.