When General Grant Expelled the Jews

About the Author: Jonathan D. Sarna

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  • Hardcover
  • 224 pages
  • When General Grant Expelled the Jews
  • Jonathan D. Sarna
  • English
  • 01 January 2017
  • 0805242791

When General Grant Expelled the Jews Finalist, National Jewish Book AwardsA Riveting Account Of General Ulysses S Grant S Decision, In The Middle Of The Civil War, To Order The Expulsion Of All Jews From The Territory Under His Command, And The Reverberations Of That Decision On Grant S Political Career, On The Nascent American Jewish Community, And On The American Political Process On December Just Weeks Before Abraham Lincoln Announced The Emancipation Proclamation, General Grant Issued What Remains The Most Notorious Anti Jewish Order By A Government Official In American History His Attempt To Eliminate Black Marketeers By Targeting For Expulsion All Jews As A Class Unleashed A Firestorm Of Controversy That Made Newspaper Headlines And Terrified And Enraged The Approximately , Jews Then Living In The United States, Who Feared The Importation Of European Antisemitism Onto American Soil Although The Order Was Quickly Rescinded By A Horrified Abraham Lincoln, The Scandal Came Back To Haunt Grant When He Ran For President In Never Before Had Jews Become An Issue In A Presidential Contest, And Never Before Had They Been Confronted So Publicly With The Question Of How To Balance Their American And Jewish Interests Award Winning Historian Jonathan D Sarna Gives Us The First Complete Account Of This Little Known Episode Including Grant S Subsequent Apology, His Groundbreaking Appointment Of Jews To Prominent Positions In His Administration, And His Unprecedented Visit To The Land Of Israel Sarna Sheds New Light On One Of Our Most Enigmatic Presidents, On The Jews Of His Day, And On The Ongoing Debate Between Group Loyalty And National Loyalty That Continues To Roil American Political And Social DiscourseWISH ENCOUNTERS SERIES

10 thoughts on “When General Grant Expelled the Jews

  1. Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com says:

    When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D Sarna is a non fiction book about Grant s infamous General Order No 11 Yes, this a non fiction book who would have thought On 17 December, 1862 Major General Ulysses S Grant issued his infamous General Order No 11 expelling all Jews from his military district which consisted of Kentucky,Mississippi, and Tennessee Grant intended to hinder the activities of people who smuggle things in and out of the war zone which, in his mind, were Jew When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D Sarna is a non fiction book about Grant s infamous General Order No 11 Yes, this a non fiction book who would have thought On 17 December, 1862 Major General Ulysses S Grant issued his infamous General Order No 11 expelling all Jews from his military district which consisted of Kentucky,Mississippi, and Tennessee Grant intended to hinder the activities of people who smuggle things in and out of the war zone which, in his mind, were Jews.As history later showed, many people, including those under his commend, engaged in the lucrative smuggling trade General Order No 11 caused great distress among the Jewish community Eventually, Grant was able to recoup and even win Jewish support for his presidency.When I first saw the title of this book, I had to read it twice.Could it be Is this for real Yes, When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D Sarna is a the unbelievable, but true, title of this well written and well researched book about one of the most deliberate cases of ant Semitism in the short history of America.General Order No 11 decreed as follows The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department of theTennessee within twenty four hours from the receipt of this order Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.Did you pick up the text Jews, as a class after all, many Jews were in the United States after escaping thrown out of Europe so one can certainly understand the uproar which the verbiage of this order caused.But the book doesn t dwell on the impact of the order at the time Grant issued it the impact was minimal and the horrified President Lincoln reversed it immediately but on the aftermath Sarna points to the President Grant not candidate Grant trying to make amends to the Jewish community, nurturing relationships, and lifelong friendships with Jewish leaders and generally no pun intended beingsympathetic to Jews than his predecessors.Grant was so successful in redeeming his stature among America s Jews that Rabbi Edward Benjamin Morris Browne was a pallbearer at his funeral Since the funeral was on the Sabbath he walked along instead of riding.Dr Sarna, a professor at Brandeis University, wrote a compelling, exciting book in which he tries to explain the huge impact General Order No 11 had on the Jewish community in particular, and on the country at large From the first major lobbying effort to the campaigns run by candidates, the elections which Grant won had significant effects which lasted to this day.Forreviews and bookish posts please visit

  2. Elaine says:

    Whatever possessed me to buy over 200 pages about Grant s infamous anti Jewish diatribe What could possibly merit so many pages Clearly it was a whim that prompted me to press Confirm, thus plunking it on my Nook.i had read Grant s autobiography, which is excellent, and, as a Civil War buff, knew a great deal about his soldiering i held a high impression of the man, despite his defaming Jews as rapacious, greedy, moneygrubbers After all, he was a Christian and that is what too many Christi Whatever possessed me to buy over 200 pages about Grant s infamous anti Jewish diatribe What could possibly merit so many pages Clearly it was a whim that prompted me to press Confirm, thus plunking it on my Nook.i had read Grant s autobiography, which is excellent, and, as a Civil War buff, knew a great deal about his soldiering i held a high impression of the man, despite his defaming Jews as rapacious, greedy, moneygrubbers After all, he was a Christian and that is what too many Christians, even today, think about Jews Weighing this one order, which expelled all Jews from his territory,against his masterful generalship, I decided not to condemn him for being a child of his times.In any event, Lincoln rescinded the infamous Order 11, and, along with others, took Grant to task for judging all members of a group on the basis of tne actions of a few, actions that some Christians were equally guilty of.Grant himself admitted his own guilt and apologized very often for Order 11 It became a big issue in his later campaigning for the Presidency, during which he forcefullyy recanted that order More to his credit, well before his Presidential bid, he sought Jewish forgiveness, and even sought their friendship and advice.Then came the chapters explaining why the book was so long It wasn t only about the Order It was about 19th century American Jews These weren t the dowtrodden masses of poor Jews of Eastern Europe, who had not yet emigrated, but educated upper class Jews mostly from Germany and its neighbors, as well as the Rabbis who founded the different Jewish religious denominations that stand to this day.There follows the best history of both how Jews carved out a place in American society, and heightened realization even by Gentiles of the need to separate church and state Also, it formed the idea that we should teach our views to other nations.The most appalling thing to me was that Jews, feeling that tbey had power, boasted publicly that they alone could foil Grant s election They bragged about their money and their international connections to other Jews Not only were they dead wrong on all counts, but there were certainly too few of them to, on their own, vote a President in or out Moreover, their stupid bravado fed into Christian Jew haters unto our times.The wealthiest in America were and are Gentiles and Jews are so few, they hardly make a dent in National Elections Moreover, Jews are not a monolithic group in any way at all, and certainly weren t in the 1800 s There is no dogma in the religion, and nothing I ve ever heard of that they could agree on politically or otherwise that would allow them to have an international conspiracy They, as a group, hold very different goals and ideas They conspire about nothing.To the contrary, they and,importantly Gentiles in the 19th Century first conceived of America s reigious tolerance as being a beacon to the rest of the world.Although anti Jewishness was not strong in the late 19th Century, the influx of Eastern European poverty stricken refugees from the massacres in Eastern Europe led to cries from Gentiles to close our doors to Jewish immigration In 1924, that became a reality I have a postcard of my grear uncle and his beautiful children whom we couldn t rescue in 1924 It s on my famiy website elaineostrachchaika.com, captioned as Sad Eyes.Worse yet, in 1939 on, President Roosevelt himself refused to allow Jews, even children, to escape from death camps and Nazi wholesale massacres in Poland, Rumania, Ukraine,Hungary, France, and everywnere else In America, Father Coughlin preached on national radio every Sunday that Jews should be exterminated That alone shows that Jews do not control the media, another ant Jewish canard.More proof of Jewish lack of control of the media, is that Jewish pleas for opening our doors were ignored, as were their request to have Americans bomb the rail lines that brought Jews to death camps The Press did not inform Americans what was going on Even The NewYork Times was silent If Jews had all the money they re supposed to have, or any of the power and international connections, that couldn t have happened Jews were not even able to hold rallies informing Americans of what was going on, for fear of government retaliation American Jews were deprived of the right to assemble during a war for democracy.Roosevelt even sent Joseph Kennedy, the late President s father, to Hollywood to warn the studios not to make movies of the horrors for Jews, and, idid, then American Jews would be penalized Most Christians in America had no clue of the Nazi s exterminations until American troops found the camps on their way to Germany Even the military didn t think that Dachau, Treblinka, Auschwitz and other death camps were important for our troops to know about There was no attempt to liberate the camps until they were accidentally found Often, the Germans were machine gunning the Jews as our troops marched in

  3. Nathan Albright says:

    If you are familiar with the writings of this author at all, you have some idea that this is a book about Jewish history in America My only knowledge of the author s writings is the intersection between Jewish history and Civil War history, and that is the case here as well This book claims to be the first book length treatment of one of theembarrassing events of the eventful and generally successful military career of Ulysses S Grant 1 , when he made an ill advised order in anger at If you are familiar with the writings of this author at all, you have some idea that this is a book about Jewish history in America My only knowledge of the author s writings is the intersection between Jewish history and Civil War history, and that is the case here as well This book claims to be the first book length treatment of one of theembarrassing events of the eventful and generally successful military career of Ulysses S Grant 1 , when he made an ill advised order in anger at some of the shady business dealings of his own father that expelled Jews as a class from the military district he was in charge of, an order that was quickly countermanded by Lincoln but that would dog Grant for the rest of his life There was a lot I could identify with here, from the eternal vigilance of the Jews in this book regarding oppression and marginalization to the awkward silence of Grant when trying to deal with apologizing about this most embarrassing incident that just never seemed to go away no matter how much he tried to bury it under kind words and good deeds.The book is organized in a chronological fashion, and ends up being a short 150 or so pages including a chronology of Grant s own life and his relationship with the Jewish people After a short introduction, the author discusses General Orders No 11 and their context in terms of speculation as well as the business activities of Grant s father After that the author discusses the lightning fast response among Jews and Lincoln s equally rapid rescinding of the offending order and the way that the order became the subject of short term partisan arguing in the press After that the author shifts to the use of the situation in the Election of 1868 as Democrats attempted to use the order in order to convince Jews en masse to vote against Grant, shows Grant s marked favor given to Jews and Jewish interests during his tenure as President, and then closes with Grant s postwar trip to Jerusalem and the continuing problems the order brought him during the course of his life The author closes with a markedly favorable appreciation of Grant as a president and demonstrates that a lot of how his reputation suffered was vengeful spite from Southern historians upset at his success as a Civil War general and looking to knock him down a few pegs in their estimation of him as a president.Overall, this book is a remarkably candid one and full of awkward but endearing human touches The author talks about his own talk as a graduate student regarding Order No 11 that involved a tense moment when a descendant of one of the Grant s father s shady business association admitted the truth of what the author was saying He talks about Grant s policy of stony silence when dealing with any embarrassing aspects of his life, not only the order but also his occasional lapses from sobriety, something I can definitely understand in my own dealings with others Likewise, the author talks a great deal about a man who overcame his prejudices and understood the dark truth that once one has made a massive blunder one cannot unmake it, and while some people may forgive, those of less forgiving and merciful bent will speak about such matters without ceasing This book gave me a great deal of compassion on the suffering of Grant after his order and also on the hypervigilance of the Jewish people as a result of their own suffering under oppressive regimes The author is also honest about the way that some Jews feared that blacks would be raised above them in the aftermath of abolition, but found instead that outsider groups tended to rise or fall together in the eyes of the population at large 1 See, for example

  4. Bob says:

    When General Grant Expelled the Jews is a very well written history of a time long forgotten by most Americans, probably the world Grant has long been seen as a drunkard and among the worst Presidents of the United States But, Jonathan Sarna brings us back to Grant s time to shed light on this much misunderstood man.After the near impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the man who became President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Grant received the Republican nomination and ultimately won t When General Grant Expelled the Jews is a very well written history of a time long forgotten by most Americans, probably the world Grant has long been seen as a drunkard and among the worst Presidents of the United States But, Jonathan Sarna brings us back to Grant s time to shed light on this much misunderstood man.After the near impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the man who became President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Grant received the Republican nomination and ultimately won two terms as President.The book begins by telling the story of General Order 11 This order, paraphrased said that all Jews, as a class, were required to leave the war zone under General Grant, comprising the area from Mississippi to Cairo, Illinois The story behind the order was several people were caught smuggling goods across enemy lines Stereotypically and historically, Jews were seen as unscrupulous business people who would necessarily be behind this Because of this, Grant lumped all Jews together as a class of people and evicted them all for the sins of a few There were a multitude of problems with this order, most notably 1 like all peoples, all Jews are different 2 By classifying them together and giving them the blame, it brings our racism and unwarranted hatred 3 The order was issued on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln s Presidential Executive Order to free the slaves.Suffice it to say that the order was rescinded, but damage was done to the standing of Jews in the United States, and to their views of General Grant If the story were to stop there, as it had for a hundred years, Grant s characterization as a drunkard and a poor President would have been well deserved As it turns out, much of his personal beliefs and policies had been forgotten over the years.After the order was rescinded, Grant s behavior changed dramatically Apparently seeing the error of his ways, he spent much of the rest of his career trying to break down racial stereotypes and racism, and to help integrate various minorities into the general population.The times were difficult, after the Civil War, former slaves were under attack by Jim Crowe laws Catholics and Irish were not welcomed into society Grant spent the latter half of his career righting his wrong and promoting better relations, and involvement of these groups at all levels Indeed, Grant appointed the first African American government officials, and Jewish officials He became very involved in promoting race relations, and stood hard by Thomas Jefferson s insistence in the clear separation of church and state.There is a quote from President Grant that should be read by all US Government officialsWe are going to lay our cornerstone with the sublime motto, Eternal Separation of State and Church For this reason we shall never favor or ask any support for our various benevolent institutions by the State and if offered, we should not only refuse, but reject it with scorn and indignation, for those measures are the first sophistical, well premeditated steps for the future union of Church and State Sectarian institutions must be supported by their sectarian followers the public purse and treasury dare not be filled, taxed and emptied for sectarian purposes.In the United States today, there is battle between the religious right and those who value this separation High officials in the government, under the guise of Conservatism, put aside our current economic concerns, the decline of the quality of healthcare and public education, and advocate for social issues above all stemming from in most cases Christian Values This puts our Constitution in danger, and pits groups against each other.We can learn from the wisdom of Ulysses S Grant in how he viewed this, and led the Country during his time Although the gains be made quickly regressed after his death, and history forgot his policies, it is my hope thatpeople read this book, understand his wisdom, and learn from his leadership in how he enacted public and governmental policies.I comment Dr Sarna for this outstanding accounting of history forgotten

  5. Carrie says:

    I thought this book was a little disappointing I really wanted to enjoy it, but I found that it was really a detailed look at the relationship between American Jews and Ulysses S Grant during and after the Civil War Grant s order to expel the Jews was short lived and quickly overturned by Lincoln Its effect wasn t widespread and wasn t felt by larger pockets of southern Jews Based on the title of the book, I was expectingdetails about the people who were affected by the order i.e th I thought this book was a little disappointing I really wanted to enjoy it, but I found that it was really a detailed look at the relationship between American Jews and Ulysses S Grant during and after the Civil War Grant s order to expel the Jews was short lived and quickly overturned by Lincoln Its effect wasn t widespread and wasn t felt by larger pockets of southern Jews Based on the title of the book, I was expectingdetails about the people who were affected by the order i.e their personal hardships or change in social status The discussion of the short term effects of the order to expel the Jews was actually only a small portion of this book The rest of the book was about Grant s apparent attempt to restore his relationship with American Jews by involving them in his presidential administration I will say that the author has really done his research Per his estimate, the number of Jews living in America during the mid 1800s was relatively small, so they aren t a common subject in Civil War or Reconstruction literature In this regard, I doubt you ll find better research than what s in this book The author is also a good writer, which is refreshing in a book about a somewhat obscure topic I just unfortunately did not find this to be a page turner, but it may be a good read for people with interest in Grant or American Jews during the Reconstruction era

  6. Dan says:

    An intriguing title and in turn, an intriguing book If I ever knew anything about this episode in American history it s been long forgotten, but I m pretty sure it s one of those things that just never came up in any class I ever took The actual incident referred to is over in the first chapter, which occurs before his presidency, and, at least as presented in this volume, was basically a poorly written order done in the heat of wartime and one that was quickly reversed The remaining five c An intriguing title and in turn, an intriguing book If I ever knew anything about this episode in American history it s been long forgotten, but I m pretty sure it s one of those things that just never came up in any class I ever took The actual incident referred to is over in the first chapter, which occurs before his presidency, and, at least as presented in this volume, was basically a poorly written order done in the heat of wartime and one that was quickly reversed The remaining five chapters are spent covering his presidency and very briefly the period after, and how this one incident continued to haunt him throughout those years It s well written, interesting and kept me reading I will say, as I was getting through chapter 6 and his demise was approaching, I kept wondering, what s going to be in the other half of the book, because according to my ereader, I was only 40 some% of the way in Turns out, an entire half of the book is devoted to a timeline, bibliography, references, endnotes, and a massive index that takes up almost 30% of it On an ereader that sor less irrelevant, but makes me weep for the additional trees involved for the print edition It does, also, make it a pretty pricey book for a mere 6 short chapters

  7. Debbie says:

    I m not sure how many stars to give this oneI really enjoyed it, and learned a LOT about Grant and about Judaism in the U.S during and after the Civil War and Grant and Judaism It s a subject I don t think is well known or researched, so was very interesting from that perspective.And then there was the very end With citations from Wikipedia and some stretching of information garnered from wikipedia a group of international and political commentators bloggers surveyed by the Londo I m not sure how many stars to give this oneI really enjoyed it, and learned a LOT about Grant and about Judaism in the U.S during and after the Civil War and Grant and Judaism It s a subject I don t think is well known or researched, so was very interesting from that perspective.And then there was the very end With citations from Wikipedia and some stretching of information garnered from wikipedia a group of international and political commentators bloggers surveyed by the London Times do not historians make Which is NOT okay in a scholarly work And wasn t even necessary, I don t think, for his argument conclusion I d wondered about a few of his citations, like why some of Grant s speeches had come from some university website, rather than LOC or Nat l Archives or something, and in the acknowledgements he talks about doing a lot of the research online while on sabbatical in Israel, so it made some sense But there s just no excuse in scholarly writing for citations from wikipedia you should always go to the source It was just lazy or overly hurried work And that just ruined it all for me.Oh, he also repeats sentences and phrases a LOT

  8. Margaret Sankey says:

    In December 1862, fed up with cotton trading and contraband including his own father s involvement in a scheme , Grant issued a reactionary order expelling Jews, as a group yes, literally, General Store Germans , from the Department of the Tennessee Quickly, Lincoln halted the order and was mortified, but the weeks in which is was carried out were burned into the memories of Jewish Americans, many of whom had experienced pogroms in Europe Running for President and holding the office, Grant In December 1862, fed up with cotton trading and contraband including his own father s involvement in a scheme , Grant issued a reactionary order expelling Jews, as a group yes, literally, General Store Germans , from the Department of the Tennessee Quickly, Lincoln halted the order and was mortified, but the weeks in which is was carried out were burned into the memories of Jewish Americans, many of whom had experienced pogroms in Europe Running for President and holding the office, Grant had to consciously rehabilitate himself, rebuffing attempts to legally classify the US as a Christian nation, appointing Jews as territorial governors, judges and ambassadors, and encouraging a confident political presence in Midwestern cities like Cincinnati Sarna concentrates on the deliberate moves made by Grant, their effect on the American Jewish community, and the unfortunately transient nature of those gains

  9. Mark says:

    Interesting book about Grant s Order of 1862 expelling the Jews as a class from Grant s area of war After the Order was rescinded by Lincoln Grant was vilified but later became a very good friend to Jews and Jewish causes while President.

  10. Gail says:

    I was so looking forward to reading this book but only reached page 55 I found the information interesting enough but the prose is boring.