This Day in Texas History:
Texas Germans Declare Slavery to be Evil
May 14, 1854
On this day in 1854, Texas Germans gathered to discuss the national crisis over slavery. At the the annual Staats-Saengerfest (State Singers’ Festival), held on May 14 and 15, delegates from various local political clubs of German citizens in western Texas met in San Antonio and, following the lead of the Freier Mann Verein (Freeman’s Association) organized by fellow Germans in the Northern states, adopted a mildly worded plank declaring that slavery was an evil and that abolition was the business of the states.
The resolution went on to maintain that a state should be able to obtain help from the federal government to effect abolition. By “help” the convention meant that the state would ask the federal government to pay the owners for freed slaves. The declaration, along with more strongly worded antislavery newspaper articles in the German language press, led many Anglo-Texans to question the loyalty of their German neighbors on the slavery question, and eventually helped fuel mistrust when Texas joined the Confederacy in 1861.