Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gen. Grant kicked out the Jews….wha?

I never heard this story before.

Maybe the reason is that it’s an aberration in official conduct, although it speaks loudly about the frame of mind of anti-Semitic people in the middle of the 19th century.

In December 1862 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant signed an order to kick all Jews out of his military “department”—Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. Part of Grant’s mandate was to shut down the black-market trade in Southern cotton, and lots of folks thought Jews were doing much of the war profiteering. Grant’s officers immediately started rousting Jewish families out of their homes with nothing more than what they could carry.

Jewish leaders promptly protested to President Lincoln, who had no foreknowledge of Grant’s order. Old Abe immediately ordered Grant to revoke his General Order No. 11, and Grant did so.

I note for the record that Gen. Grant was elected to the presidency in 1868 with strong support from Jewish voters, and he appointed Jews to high federal offices.

Xenophobia and social bigotry are well-seated in the human brain. In the last 11,000 years, “civilization” has spread an easily torn veneer over them.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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