German immigrants were a major part of US history - Why so little influence

…on the way the new US Government was formed? The template for the administrative construction of the US government seems to be almost exclusively influenced by the English template. Where is the German influence?

If I were to hazard a guess, the huge German influx happened after the Revolutionary war, especially in the mid-19th century. The framework of our legal and political system were deeply entrenched by then.

Plus, the gentry and elites of pre-revolutionary America were English. I seemto remember that the early Germans were mostly small time farmers with little influence in political matters.

German influence in American culture and cuisine is huge, though.

The people who set up the government were not of German descent. I don’t see any obviously German names among the signers of the Constitution.

In addition, the colonies were English colonies, so they naturally gravitated to the government in their homeland.

Finally, what German template? Germany wasn’t unified until around 1870; before that you had many different government models (though most were ruled by a king or prince).

Two World Wars.

History is written by the winners; Germans do not exist.

History wasn’t always my strong suit, but I’m fairly certain that the World Wars happened a little bit after the US Constitution was written.

There’s also the facts that mass German immigration to the US peaked in the 19th century, there were no German colonies in the Revolution, and the Germans didn’t really have a government at the time, still being a complex smattering of monarchies and Church realms as part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Keep in mind that the people of the thirteen colonies saw themselves as Englishmen and saw their revolution as a restoration the rights they felt they were entitled to under English common law.

Oh quit,
I’m just saying that any history book written in the last not-quite-100 years will have anti-German bias. Besides, they were with the Brits during the Revolution.

The United States was a British colony, and so drew on British experiences and British philosophers in its creation.

And in the late 18th century there wasn’t any nation-state called “Germany.” “Germany” was a place and German a language and ethnicity, but it was not (unlike Great Britain) a political entity with the capability to exert influence though nationhood and imperialism - in fact, the unification of Germany as a nation-state came after the creation of, say, Canada and Belgium. You can’t draw nation-building inspiration from a nation that doesn’t yet exist.

Give me a few concrete examples of this that are not not food or drink related…

From Wiki:

German Americans have been influential in almost every field, from science to architecture, industry, sports, and entertainment. Some, like Brooklyn Bridge engineer John Augustus Roebling or architect Walter Gropius, left behind visible landmarks. Others, like Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun, set intellectual landmarks. Still others, like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jack Nicklaus, and Doris Day,[5][6] became prominent sports or acting icons.[7]

When you think that the first significant numbers of German immigrants came to Pennsylvania in 1683, that Southeast Pennsylvania has had a significant German population since long before the Revolution, that the post-1848 German outflow populated much of the Midwest, composed the backbone of Fighting Bob LaFollettet’s progressive movement in Wisconsin, and saved Missouri for the Union in 1861, it is hard to dismiss the German influence on the nations history. As to the foundations of the Republic, however, the founders were from the educated and propertied class and that class was dominated by English (not British) immigrants, their children and grandchildren.

That is not to say that the Pennsylvania Germans did not have an influence. You can say the same thing about the New York Dutch. Their influence was simply submerged by the dominant English connected political leaders.

I suppose I was thinking of “German Influence” as being something from German culture or government than got grafted onto US culture, not the admittedly huge impact of German immigrants as specific individuals.

I’m sure there’s a long list of notable German-Americans (and immigrant representatives of every other nation) but I want to make sure my home town hero Charles Steinmetz gets a mention (he hung out in Schenectady, NY). He was instrumental in the development of mathematics necessary for the manufacture of practical electric motors.

I’m going to guess that German Jews have had a fundamental influence on American humor.

I really doubt this is a significant factor.

Besides the items already mentioned, German immigrants assimilated into the general American population very quickly. By the time of the World Wars, in most places there was little to differentiate them.

Some of my ancestors emigrated to the US from Germany before the Civil War. My grandfather, born in 1903, knew only a couple of words of German. The only part of German culture he retained was an affinity for pork chops and sauerkraut.

Actually, they were the Brits during the Revolution - at least the monarchy was still the House of Hanover.

None of those people were around during the American Revolution. You can’t influence a government if you don’t exist yet. In other words, the German influence on American culture pretty late in the day; the biggest influx of Germans came during the mid-1800s, and most of them were farmers.

That’s not quite true; there was still German-only instruction in German (American) schools up until the US involvement in WWI. Organizations like the German-American Bund attracted enough members to suggest that German Americans still saw themselves as a separate entity.

On the U.S. Government? I know not.

But have you ever been to Wisconsin? Theres STILL a permeation of German style socialism (especially at the city and county levels in some communities), business/work ethics, brewing (at one time almost 200 breweries) and architecture.

Perhaps the answer to the OP is where they settled affected where they had influence over.

But this is just a theory on my part.

The pre-Revolution Germans were not only in Pennsylvania. There was the Wachovia settlement in North Carolina, from which Wachovia Bank takes its name.

If I am not mistaken, there were also German communities to be found in western Virginia.

But the Germans did not have their hands upon the levers of power, so their influence on the shape of the new goverment was negligible to non-existent.

Oh and Pennsylvanian Germans refined the Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifle, which played a role in some Revolutionary War battles.

Kindergarten. Sauerkraut. Lager.

OK, there’s one institution, a food and a beer.

What about our Santa Claus, aka Chris Kringle? Isn’t he a German import?
Halloween and trick-or-treating are Irish imports, IIRC.