After the failed German Revolution of 1848, thousands of German revolutionaries fled Europe and immigrated to the United States. Several of the '48ers came to Wisconsin, changing the culture and history of the state in the mid-19th Century.
Young and well educated, the exiled '48ers represented a new type of immigrant. Earlier German immigrants to Wisconsin tended to be farmers and tradesmen. The new immigrants were scholars, scientists, journalists, teachers, and lawyers. Indeed the '48ers that did try their hand at farming were often referred to as "Latin Farmers" because they spoke better Latin than English. The Wisconsin '48ers were men and women committed to freedom and liberty and came to America with these ideals intact.
Wisconsin represented a particularly fruitful state for the revolutionaries to settle in because Wisconsin's Constitution of 1848 allowed the foreign-born to vote after just one year of residency. Thus, immigrants could play a major role in Wisconsin politics. The Wisconsin Forty-Eighters did just that.