Lager Bier and the Republican Party

Believe it or not, German immigrants and lager bier played a part in establishing the Republican Party.

Prior to a group of Wisconsin men establishing the Republican Party in 1854, there were two parties; the Whigs and the Democrats, neither of which appealed to German immigrants.

The Democrats welcomed immigrants and lager lovers alike but were pro slavery. The Whigs were anti slavery but were prohibitionist and anti immigrant.

The choice of voting for slavery or for life without lagerbier was no choice at all for German immigrants. Since bier was a part of their culture, they were against prohibition and they immigrated to the America to escape the oppressive German government of the time and saw no distinction between that oppression and slavery.

These circumstance begat the Republican Party. When the prohibitionists tried to jump on board the new party there was tremendous push back. As one Wisconsin man put it, “Nearly all the Germans of this city were prepared to cast their lot against slavery and with the new party, but they refused to bow to the dictates of the fanatic and zealous temperance men.”

Germans could not vote for prohibition or a prohibition man. “Can you expect of a brewer that he will tear down with his own hands, his brewery or ask a laborer, after a hard day’s work paving your streets to throw away his wholesome and nourishing Lagerbier to sacrifice his comfort for the sake of restricting slavery”?



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