Carl Schurz, an American statesman, born at Liblar, near Cologne, Prussia, March 2, 1829. He was educated at the gymnasium of Cologne and the university of Bonn, which he entered in 1846. At the outbreak of the revolution of 1848 he joined Gottfried Kinkel, professor of rhetoric in the university, in the publication of a liberal newspaper, of which for a time he was the sole conductor. In the spring of 1849, in consequence of an unsuccessful attempt to promote an insurrection at Bonn, he fled with Kinkel to the Palatinate, entered the revolutionary army as adjutant, and took part in the defence of Rastadt. On the surrender of that fortress he escaped to Switzerland. In 1850 he returned secretly to Germany, and with admirable skill and self-devotion effected the escape of Kinkel from the fortress of Spandau, where he had been condemned to 20 years' imprisonment. In the spring of 1851 he was in Paris, acting as correspondent for German journals, and he afterward spent a year in teaching in London. He came to the United States in 1852, resided three years in Philadelphia, and then settled in Madison, Wis. In the presidential canvass of 1856 he delivered speeches in German in behalf of the republican party, and in the following year was defeated as a candidate for lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. During the contest between Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln for the office of United States senator from Illinois, in 1858, he delivered his first speech in the English language, which was widely republished.
Soon after he removed to Milwaukee and began the practice of law. In the winter of 1859-60 he made a lecture tour in New England, and aroused attention by a speech delivered in Springfield, Mass., against the ideas and policy of Mr. Douglas. He was an influential member of the republican national convention of 1860, being largely instrumental in determining that portion of the platform relating to citizens of foreign origin, and spoke both in English and German during the canvass which followed. President Lincoln appointed him minister to Spain, which post he resigned in December, 1861, in order to enter the army. In April, 1862, he was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers, and on June 17 assumed command of a division in the corps of Gen. Sigel, with which he took part in the second battle of Bull Run. He was made major general, March 14, 1863, and at the battle of Chancellorsville commanded a division of Gen. Howard's corps (the 11th), which was routed by Jackson. He had temporary command of the 11th corps at the battle of Gettysburg, and subsequently took part in the battle of Chattanooga. On the close of the war he returned to the practice of law.
In 1865-'6 he was the Washington correspondent of the New York "Tribune," and in 1866 he made a report, as special commissioner appointed by President Johnson, on the condition of the southern states, which was submitted to congress. In the same year he removed to Detroit, where he founded the "Detroit Post;" and in 1867 he became editor of the Westliche Post, a German newspaper published in St. Louis. He was temporary chairman of the republican national convention in Chicago in 1868, and labored earnestly in the succeeding canvass for the election of Gen. Grant. In January, 1869, he was chosen United States senator from Missouri, for the term ending in 1875. He opposed some of the leading measures of President Grant's administration, and in 1872 took a prominent part in the organization of the liberal party, presiding over the convention in Cincinnati which nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency. He visited Europe in 1873, and again in 1875, being received with much consideration in his native country. On his return he took part in the political canvass in Ohio, in which he opposed strenuously the increase of the national currency.
Among his more celebrated speeches are: "The Irrepressible Conflict" (1858); "The Doom of Slavery" (1860); "The Abolition of Slavery as a War Measure" (1862); and "Eulogy on Charles Sumner" (1874). A volume of his speeches was published in 1865 (12mo, Philadelphia).