There were many important consequences of German political emigration. It had a significant impact upon Germany and on those who did not leave Germany. It had a deep and lasting impact upon the United States, as part of the wider influence of large-scale German emigration and the growth of German-American communities.
This is shown by the later history of Theodor Hilgard’s family. Theodor himself returned home, at the invitation of the Bavarian government, and then lived quietly at Heidelberg until he died in 1873. A biography of Hilgard is subtitled ‘Ambassador of Americanism’, showing how Germany was influenced by the ideas brought back by returning exiles. Hilgard’s sons, however remained in the United States and had successful careers. Hilgard’s American home, Belleville Illinois, is a typical example of the many towns and cities in the United States where German-Americans had a huge influence.
The American Civil War played an important role in the integration of Germans into American life and politics. Many ‘Forty-Eighters’ joined the Unionist Army at the beginning of the American Civil War - the 216. 000 Germans were by far the largest immigrant contingent in the armies of the North. after the Civil War, German-American communities continued to grow in size and influence. By 1914, German-American newspapers, social clubs and politicians had become an integral part of American society.