Early Chicago, 1833–1871
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 26PETITION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A GERMAN CONSTABLE
August 21, 1854
By 1850, there were 5,094 Germans in Chicago and they represented seventeen percent of the total population. Most were Protestant in religion and many were skilled laborers or professionals. They were extremely conscious of their origins and preferred to buy German-made goods, attend German churches and theaters, and join German-dominated trade unions. Many native businesses employed German clerks, carried German goods, and advertised in the German language to attract the German trade. Service in the Civil War and intermarriage eventually lessened their ethnic identity.
The petition was granted.
Points to Consider
Why were certain citizens requesting the appointment of a German constable?
Why are there no longer requests for appointments of German policemen?
What was the percentage of Chicago's German population around 1854?
Why were so many Irish names on the petition?