Jeffrey D. Davis
Fields: 19th Century American History, 19th Century German History, Immigration
Education: B.A., History and German Literature (dual major), University of Virginia, Class of 2015
My name is Jeffrey D. Davis and I am a first-year Master's student in the History Department. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2015, where I studied history, focusing on the ancient world and on 20th century German history, and German Literature. Afterwards I worked for several law firms dealing with the issue of business immigration. In the midst of this, I realized that I did not know much about the roots of the modern American immigration system nor much about the stories of immigrants of bygone eras. To that end, I am returning to graduate school at UMass Amherst to study German immigrants who came to the United States in the mid-19th century, particularly those radicals who had played roles in the failed revolutions of 1848 in the German lands. I intend to study the ways in which they conceived of their historical roles, as participants in a series of European revolutions who then came to the United States and experienced our great national crisis, the Civil War. I also hope to study what happened to the communities they left behind - how their absences were felt by family members, communities, and their societies more broadly. I am interested as well in the types of networks they established to provide themselves social sustenance, whether in their new country or remotely across the Atlantic Ocean, and the ways in which emigration affected the political contexts of their homelands.