Monday, October 22, 2007

Abraham Lincoln and his view on Judism

We know how Lincoln felt about slavery but how did he feel about the most discriminated group in world history. Abraham Lincoln's dealings with the Jews was an issue explored in the 1909 book "Abraham Lincoln and the Jews," a self-published book by Isaac Markens. The book deals with Lincoln's views on Jews before and during the American Civil War.It recounts Lincoln's reversal of a law that allowed only Christians to serve as military chaplains and his rescinding of a notorious 1862 order by Gen. Ulysses Grant expelling all Jews from Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The book utalizes contemporary accounts, letters and other documents produced by our 16th President.Grant's order appeared in part motivated by anti-Semitism, but Jewish peddlers who roamed the region despite orders against such transience also frustrated him. Troops forced 30 Jewish families out of Paducah, Ky., under the order. Jewish leaders from the region appealed directly to Lincoln, who ordered Gen. Henry Halleck to tell Grant the order was unacceptable."The President has no objection to your expelling traitors and Jew peddlers, which I suppose was the object of your order," Halleck wrote, according to Markens' account, "but as in terms proscribed an entire religious class, some of whom are fighting in our ranks, the President deems it necessary to revoke it." The book recounts the outrage Grant's order provoked in the U.S. Senate and in newspapers across the nation. Featured in a recent issue of Secrecy News, the publication of the Federation of American Scientists, the book is available at Google books. Just do a search for it, its free and its interesting reading.

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