The Kossuth Emigration In America
A Dissertation

My dissertation scrutinizes the emigration activity of the great Hungarian statesman, Louis Kossuth. It provides an insight into the attitude of the American political circles, mainly that of the Congress towards Kossuth's theory, concerning their non-interventionist policy. Furthermore, we can get acquainted with the clashing options of different ethnic groups and nationalities regarding the support of the Hungarian Revolution. Of course, each person interpreted the personality, habit, intention and speeches of Kossuth in a totally different way.

His almost 8-month stay in America convinced him as well as others, who had hoped for some kind of an assistance from the US, that it was fully impossible to live up to the expectations of all the states, parties, decision-makers and organizations in the country.

On the one hand, it is understandable barely 10 years before the outbreak of the American Civil War, which made the nation turn against itself for four years.

On the other hand, America was characterized already in the 1850's by ethnic diversity, resulting distinct traditions, beliefs, religions and ideologies.

This is not to suggest that Kossuth wanted to please every individual or social group, his intention was just to take a neutral standpoint on topics related to American domestic affairs, as it can be seen later, it was not an easy task.

Kossuth was the first European statesman (after Lafayette) who managed to break out of the " semidarkness of grizzle" and attested an international diplomat behaviour, which was unique from an East European politician even at that time.
He never intended to become a real immigrant, during his stay in America, he delivered several speeches, recruited supporters for the Hungarian cause and printed the famous Kossuth-dollars.

The fate of the Hungarian Revolution and Kossuth himself, was not left to the American citizens, but to the international politics, which the US distanced herself from with her non-interventionist politics.

What did 'we' actually lost and what did we gain?

Unfortunately, Hungary did not get the military support that Kossuth wanted but it gained a large reputation in the US and all over the world: the Americans learned that this East-European country existed, and it had fought fiercely for her freedom, just like the American colonies had done from 1775 until 1783.

And this is may its most lasting achievement for Hungarian citizens.

Vissza az oldal tetejére
Ignác Szabó