The New Student's Reference Work/Schurz, Carl

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Schurz, Carl, was born in Liblar, Germany, near Cologne, March 2, 1829. His father was the schoolmaster of the village and was eager to give his boy as good an education as his frugal means would allow. He attended the gymnasium at Cologne, and, though compelled for financial reasons to leave before graduation, he succeeded in gaining entrance at the University of Bonn at 17. While at Bonn he came under the influence of Gottfried Kinkel, a professor of literature and rhetoric, who was earnestly devoted to the revolutionary movement of Europe. Under his influence he took part in the German revolutionary movement of 1848. When this collapsed, Kinkel was condemned to life-imprisonment at hard labor, and Schurz very narrowly escaped and concealed himself in Switzerland. Schurz could not rest until he had, by an almost unequalled feat of daring and skill, liberated his former instructor. He then fled to England where he remained for a short time, afterwards going to France. He kept in close touch with the revolutionary movement, and was a personal friend of Mazzini and Kossuth. In 1852 he came to America, and for fifty years played an important rôle in American political affairs. He was an officer in the union army, and in recognition of his worth Lincoln made him ambassador to Spain. He soon resigned, however, to take a more active part in the war. He was promoted to major-general and took part in the battles of Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Chattanooga. He entered journalism after the war and in this field won great distinction. Mr. Schurz was editor of The New York Evening Post and a contributor to Harper's Weekly. He was senator from Missouri (1869-1875) and secretary of the interior during Hayes' administration (1877-81), and always was an ardent supporter of the Republican party until it began to take up what seemed undemocratic principles. Mr. Schurz always was a strong supporter of Civil Reform, and was made president of the National Civil Service Reform League from 1892 to 1901. After the Spanish War he was one of the strongest opponents of the imperialist policy. As a political orator he exerted great influence. Most important among his publications are his Life of Lincoln, Henry Clay in the American Statesmen Series, Eulogy on Charles Sumner and his Autobiography. His death occurred on May 14, 1906.