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About Der Wöchentliche Demokrat. (Davenport, Iowa) 1851-186?
Davenport, Iowa (1851-186?)
- Der Wöchentliche Demokrat. : (Davenport, Iowa) 1851-186?
- Place of publication:
- Davenport, Iowa
- Geographic coverage:
- H. Lischer
- Dates of publication:
- Began Nov. 22, 1851.
- Description based on: Jahrg. 9, Nr. 7 (16. Feb. 1860).
- In German with some advertisements in English.
- sn 88060177
- Succeeding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
Der Demokrat, Der Wöchentliche Demokrat and Der Tägliche Demokrat
Founded in 1851 in Davenport, Iowa, Der Demokrat represented the on-going desire of German immigrants to retain their native language and culture in their adopted country. As with other German- language papers in the United States, Der Demokrat survived and even thrived as long as readers identified themselves as German-Americans. As this population dwindled after 1900 and the nation became hostile toward Germany during World War I, increasing numbers of German-Americans abandoned their native language newspapers such as Der Demokrat and fully embraced both the English language and American society.
“Jedem das Seine!” was the motto that appeared on the masthead of the first issue of Der Demokrat. The motto was one of justice, loosely translated as, “To each his own.” In that sense, the paper was a symbol of the democratic movement that had spread across Europe in the late 1840s. Although copies of Der Demokrat for the first decade of publication do not survive, the founding editor, Theodor Johannes Hesdorf Gülich, was an ardent socialist, and it is likely that his paper reflected that philosophy. The paper was insistent in its opposition of slavery and its support of popular freedom and social reform.
At first, Der Demokrat was published weekly. Beginning on January 3, 1856, Gülich added a daily edition, later titled Der Tägliche Demokrat, with the help of his new assistant editor, Heinrich Ramming. The paper struggled to cover its expenses during its early years, but did establish a measure of stability after it was sold to Theodor Olshausen and Heinrich Lischer in April 1856. Lischer would serve as publisher for the next several decades. The paper reverted to only a weekly edition on May 7, 1861, due to events leading up to the Civil War; but the daily edition returned a few months later, on August 23. In September 1861, Lischer hired a talented journalist named Jens Peter Stibolt as the paper’s editor. After Stibolt’s death in 1887, Der Demokrat was edited by Nikolaus B. Koch and August Paul Richter. Both men had worked with Lischer and Stibolt and their steady hands kept the paper solvent. During their time, the paper increased its coverage of European news and American politics.
In 1890, in an effort to provide for future generations, Heinrich Lischer founded the Lischer Printing Company and formalized the roles of his three sons, Oskar, Eduard, and Fred, as leaders of the paper. Like their father, the Lischer brothers maintained an editorial philosophy that was both sympathetic to all things German and ardent in its political views. However, after 1900 the brothers found that interest in a German language paper was declining each year. The anti-German hostility that emerged in Iowa after 1914 made it almost impossible to publish. When America entered the war in April 1917, it was clear that the days of Der Demokrat were numbered. The paper ceased publication on September 8, 1918, slightly two months before the end of the war.
Provided by: State Historical Society of Iowa