Carl Schurz


Carl Schurz is born on March 2, 1829 in Liblar im Rheinland.  He is the first son of Christian Schurz, a schoolmaster.


Schurz attends the Dorfschule Liblar in addition to receiving supplementary homeschooling. He has three younger siblings: Heribert, Anna, and Antoinette. 

Establishment of the Gießen-Gesellschaft - has the goal of creating a new Germany in the United States. The “Männerchor von Philadelphia” is created as the first German-American choir.


Christian Schurz is unable to support his family of six under his salary. He opens a small iron-goods shop.


Carl Schurz transfers to the Elementarschule in Brühl and he spends his weekends in Liblar with his family. His younger brother Heribert dies of pneumonia.

1839 - 1846

Carl Schurz attends the Gymnasium in Cologne.  The Schurz family moves from Liblar to Bonn.  Because of financial struggles, Schurz drops out of Gymnasium during the Unterprima (formally the 8th year of German secondary school).


Schurz is a guest student at Universität Bonn while self-tutoring at the same time.  In Cologne he takes his Abiturprüfung as an outsider since he is not enrolled in that school.


Schurz matriculates at Universität Bonn and studies philology and history. He attends lectures given by Professor Gottfried Kinkel.


The February Revolution in France sparks revolution in Germany as well where political displeasure and resentment fills the air. In March, Schurz and Professor Kinkel join the revolutionary group the Demokratischen Club and participate in the establishment and editing of the Bonner Zeitung.  In September, Schurz becomes a representative of the student body of Bonn at the Student Congress in Eisenach.


Schurz takes part in the fighting in the imperial palace in Baden. He escapes Prussian imprisonment by escaping from the Festung Rastatt. After passing through France, Schurz reaches Switzerland where he lives as a political refugee. So begins the mass emigration of political refugees.


In March, Schurz travels with a fictitious identification card from Zurich to Germany as part of his plan to free Kinkel from prison in Spandau.  Schurz is finally able to fee Kinkel during the nights of November 6th and 7th.  Schurz and Kinkel flee to England together as Schurz gains popularity.


After stopping in Paris and London, Schurz resolves to migrate to the United States.  On July 6 Schurz marries Margarethe Meyer, a native of Hamburg, in London.  In August and September, Schurz crosses the Atlantic from Portsmouth to New York.  He enrolls in intensive English courses as he moves from New York, to Philadelphia, to Washington.  Schurz visits the Senate and Assembly buildings and meets with various representatives.


Schurz purchases land and builds a house in Watertown, Wisconsin.


Schurz travels to Europe upon hearing that his wife has fallen ill.


Schurz actively participates in the election campaign of the new Republican Party – the Anti Slavery party under John C. Frémont.  At the same time, Schurz studies law and politics.


Schurz is the Republican candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin.


Schurz embarks on the election trail in support of republican candidate Abraham Lincoln against Senator Stephen A. Douglas.  Schurz practices law in the Circuit Court in Milwaukee, Illinois.


Schurz publically speaks against slavery and the Fugitive Slave Laws.


Schurz is elected chairman of the Wisconsin Delegation at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.  During the election campaign for Lincoln and the Republican Party, Schurz speaks primarily of the German influence on American life.


Because of his active involvement in the election campaign for Lincoln, Schurz is appointed US Ambassador to Spain after the election victory.  Southern states fear a shock on the economy following the Republican wins, and so the South secedes from the Union.  The South forms the Confederate States of America.  The American Civil War between the Confederacy and Union begins.  Schurz expresses his support for the Union from Spain.


Schurz returns to the United States and fights as part of the Union Army.  He continues his campaign against slavery and for the Emancipation Proclamation, which is first discussed by Lincoln and his cabinet in July and is formally announced in September.  Schurz gains recognition because of his service under John C. Frémont.


Schurz is promoted to the position of Major General and serves during the Battle of Gettysburg.  The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the American Civil War as Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North came to an end.


The Army is reorganized.  Schurz attends troop training in Nashville, Tennessee.  He then becomes an employee of Lincoln’s campaign for re-election.


After the victory of the Union over the Confederacy as well as after the assassination of President Lincoln on April 15th, Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency.  In the summer, Schurz travels south to gather information for a report on the consequences of the war.  In his report, Schurz suggests the reintegration of the southern states into the Union in what will become the period of Reconstruction.


Schurz becomes the Washington correspondent for the New York Tribune.


Schurz travels with his family to Germany (Wiesbaden, Berlin).


In January, Schurz visits Otto von Bismarck in Berlin.


Schurz is State Senator of Missouri (until 1875).  He is also a member of the Senate committee for foreign affairs, a journalist, editor, and co-founder of the Liberal-Republican Party.


Schurz travels to Europe for the majority of the year.


Schurz supports Rutherford B. Hayes in his campaign for the presidency.  Under the Hayes’ Administration, Schurz is Secretary of the Interior.  Schurz takes on much needed reform within the party as well as through the National Civil Service Reform (founded in 1881 to investigate the efficiency of the civil service).  Schurz promotes fair and just treatment of the Native Americans and takes part in the reformation of the Indian Bureau.

1881 - 1883

After his retirement from office, Schurz relocates to New York and is employed as a journalist.  He becomes editor-in-chief- and co-owner of the New York Evening Post as well as of Nation.


Schurz plans a book on the history of the United States and travels through the South in search of evidence, materials, and details for his book.  He publishes the brochure Der neue Süden/The New South.


Schurz publishes a biographical work on the influential American statesman Henry Clay (Life of Henry Clay).


Schurz travels to Europe.  He is an American representative for the Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) – (literally: Hamburg-American Packet Shipping Joint Stock Company, commonly known as the Hamburg America Line).


Schurz succeeds George William Curtis as columnist of Harper’s Weekly.  Schurz continues his campaign for the strengthening of the National Civil Service Reform.  He speaks out against the increasing imperialistic tendencies of the United States.


Schurz works on recording his MemoirsThey remain incomplete.


On May 14, 1906, Carl Schurz passes away in New York City.  He is laid to rest in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York.