The Great Heart of the Republic

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Has anyone read this book by Adam Arenson? It follows the "cultural civil war" in the United States between the years of 1848-1877 by focusing entirely on the history of St. Louis during this time and how, as the title says, the city was at the heart of all the issues and transformations occurring in the country because of its location at the intersection of the North, South and West. I found it very relevant to issues St. Louis, and America, are facing today. I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in STL (so this entire forum).

Also fascinating is a series of events that occurred in 1848-1849 that I believe "created" the Spirit of St. Louis. In 1848, as the United States defeated Mexico and gained control of the entirety of the Western United States, failed revolutions in Europe caused millions to begin fleeing to the United States in search of greater opportunity. These two factors placed St. Louis in a great position for growth in size and influence and the leaders of the time knew it. However, after the Great Fire in May 1849, eastern papers discounted St. Louis' chances of being rebuilt and in doing so lit a flame beneath the leaders of the city to prove outsiders wrong. The Spirit of St. Louis was born.
^ Sounds like a good read and I'll have to track it down.

My theory is w/o the many Germans settling in Saint Louis & Mo Rhineland after their failed attempt at liberty in their home country the South would have controlled Missouri and the Mississippi during the Civil War and our nation's history would have been much different.
America would be a significantly worse place without German Americans. Next time you see one give them a giant hug and say "Danke Schöen!"
Highly recommend it. Sad ending though.
roger wyoming II wrote:
^ Sounds like a good read and I'll have to track it down.

My theory is w/o the many Germans settling in Saint Louis & Mo Rhineland after their failed attempt at liberty in their home country the South would have controlled Missouri and the Mississippi during the Civil War and our nation's history would have been much different.

The CSA never had a viable path to victory. But it might've been a longer war.
^ I think the key question is how a lack of critical Union victories like Vicksburg in '63 that turned the tide and essentially secured Lincoln's second term would have impacted the political course of events.... had the control of the Mississippi not occurred until significantly later (and with much more bloodshed) the election may have been in doubt and there would have been more pressure for a negotiated end to the war and perhaps retention of slavery in the South.

(And across the North, newly-immigrated German Americans enlisted by the tens of thousands.)
Grant would probably have found something else to do. Maybe he would've turned the tide by conquering St. Louis.