The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Turners, (gymnasts in English) were a group of German Americans who together with Carl Schurz were instrumental in getting Abraham Lincoln elected as president.

They were formed in Turnvereinen , or "gymnastic unions", which were not only athletic, but also political, reflecting their origin in similar "nationalistic gymnastic" organizations in Europe. The German movement was started by Turnvater Jahn and was instrumental in German unification after 1848.

American turners provided the bodyguard at Lincoln's inauguration March 4, 1861 and also at Lincoln's funeral.

The Turnvereine made an important contribution to the integration of German-Americans into their new home. Outposts of the organizations continue to exist in areas of heavy German immigration, such as Wisconsin. In 1948 the United States Post Office issued a 3-cent commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the movement.

Last updated: 05-07-2005 06:30:27
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04