Sunday, February 10, 2008

Carl Schurz in the news

By sheer accident, I happened to catch just a minute of a speech on television yesterday by Mike Huckabee. He was repeating the political chestnut "My country, right or wrong". The quote comes, as he noted clearly, from the German immigrant and one-time Watertown, Wisconsin resident Carl Schurz. Huckabee gave this usual quote (the fuller context can be found here):

Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.

It's interesting to see this German-American immigrant being quoted so prominently in current political debate. People in Wisconsin celebrate Schurz for his long list of remarkable accomplishments — Civil War general, US Senator, Secretary of the Interior. Less noted today is how truly radical the thrust of Schurz's political activity was — see, for one simple example, his words on "true Americanism" in the first link above.

Image from the Department of the Interior website, here.

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