Property registers afford a very specific artifact reflecting the conditions in place when Johann and family decided to emigrate from Germany to the United States in 1843.

Political and social Conditions in Germany in Early 19th Century

History marks the French Revolution as a period of major social and political change. The effects reverberated throughout Europe, including Germany.

The most colorful revolutionary episode in Germany in the late 1700’s, the attempt to establish a republic in Mainz, after Custine‘s occupation of Mainz in 1792, was a short lived ‘farce’ conducted by a small number of ‘Jacobins’ without popular support.  The Mainz radicals may have been characterized as a band of leaders without a following, the problem elsewhere in Germany was the lack of real revolutionaries.  Some exceptions remained. 

While few of the German Jacobins were committed to revolutionary change, the agitation had two important results:Among many rulers and thinkers the unrest provoked a fierce reaction: 

In Prussia and Austria this stifled the last impulses of the enlightened reform process.

In many other areas the unrest generated demands for participation often coupled with a growing criticism of princely absolutism

In many areas of South and West Germany, this was manifest in the renewed vigor and stridency of the representatives of the estates in the territories.

In other areas enlightened officials and non-revolutionary ‘Jacobins’ pressed more urgently than ever for reform before it was too late, echoing the maverick and sometimes alleged Jacobin Freiherr von Knigge‘s exhortation to the princes:  “While there is yet time, O princes, lend  your own helping hands for the improvement that is needed”

Knigge was wrong – the princes did not have time.  After 1792, the Reich became embroiled in revolutions which led to its demise. 

Source: German History since 1800, edited by Mary Fulbrook, p. 20 ff

Frettenheim, Germany Today


Video – The Main Street in Frettenheim

Die Hauptstraße in Frettenheim

Interesting video – seems to show a day in the current lives of the townspeople – in German – we need a translation to English!

Summary of Johann property owned in Germany, May 1, 1843

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