Swedish Immigrants in Lincoln's Time

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Read Books, 2007 - 320 pages
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Swedish Immigrants In Lincolns Time By NELS HOKANSON With a. Foreword by CARL SANDBURG NEW YORK AND LONDON Harper Brothers Publishers I - T- - Swedish Settlements in Illinois prior to 1860 with routes traveled bv Lincoln FOREWORD By CARL SANDBURG WHO was the first Big Swede to land in America The answer is one of many odd facts fished up from obscurity and presented in this book. His name was John Printz and he weighed four hundred pounds and served as the governor of the first Swedish colony in North America and the colonists didnt like him so very well and when the government over at Stockholm refused to send him the troops that he asked for he packed up and headed right home for Sweden. So he was not much of a Big Swede after all. Mention is thus made of Printz as one example of the many personalities that give this book what is termed reader interest. Besides personages of importance whose names stand as markers of movements or periods, the author puts a special lighting on one human drift, the flowing line of one breed of people from their birthland to the American Union of States during the generation of Abraham Lincoln. The Olsons, Nelsons, Larsons, Johnsons, Knutsons, Danielsons, Andersons, Lindquists, Sea stroms, Hasselqvists, Obergs, Viborgs, Seastedts of no par ticular distinction but as a mass having their share in the making of the America that shaped its destiny toward a leading role among world powers. To what extent did Swedes settle in the southern slave states and in what proportion did they become owners of slaves And how did it come about that something like 99 per cent of the Swedish voters in the North became Republicans and cast their ballots for Lincoln And how did this preponderance in the States of the midwest and the northwest affect the portentous national election of 1860 To what extent did the Swedes enlist in the Union armies serving under Lincoln What significant figures and worthy fighters of Swedish blood came to view during the war of the 1 86os vi FOREWORD Suoh . questions and many related ones have been for many yeai. J e sing Mr. Nek Hokanson of Evanston, Illinois. No one had ever taken the trouble to assemble the answers in some adequate fashion. So he worked at it. He is a business man. Though his vocation is in the real estate field, he began acquiring the materials for a thesis. When the present writer saw those materials six years ago they were a rough note book rather than the series of chapters now nicely organized within these covers. He has made a pleasant volume to read and yet the stuff of history weaves through all the pages. We can pay salutation to Mr. Hokanson for the devotion and thoroughness with which he has served in this area of research and statement. He had zeal and a desire to be thorough. Such works more often are found unfinished and slumbering among other dusty relics long after the authors demise. Or they are too often published as a fragment and a gesture of hope that some body sometime will do a real job. Mr. Hokanson was not content that some fabulous unknown in an unpredictable future should do this job. Mr. Hokansons preface preceding his first chapter is mov ingly continued away back at the end of the text and just before the appendix. There we find Postscript to My Daughter. There he puts his message that the descendants of Swedish pioneers, now numbering about six million, have contributed much to America. Their influence is felt in art, science, litera ture, music and industry. They have supplied us with some of our greatest architects, engineers and builders. They have furnished leadership in education, politics and statesmanship. And we may take two paragraphs from this Postscript as indicating the Hokanson theory and outlook as to the hyphen ates of a polyglot boarding house...

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