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Jews and the Civil WarA Reader$
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Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam D. Mendelsohn

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740910

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740910.001.0001

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“Shoddy” Antisemitism and the Civil War

“Shoddy” Antisemitism and the Civil War

(p.311) 12 “Shoddy” Antisemitism and the Civil War
Jews and the Civil War

Gary L. Bunker

John J. Appel

NYU Press

This chapter examines the intensification of antisemitism during the Civil War. It traces Civil War-era prejudice against Jews in popular culture, specifically the graphic images found in some of the leading magazines of the day. It shows how cartoons regularly caricatured all traders and smugglers as “sharp-nosed” Jews, even though most of them were not really Jewish. Magazines likewise blamed Jews for the range of “shoddy” goods—substandard uniforms, weapons, foodstuffs, for example—that corrupt wartime contractors supplied to the military. The perception was that Jews favored profit over fighting in the war. This chapter considers how ethnocentrism, popular stereotypes, and Jewish visibility combined to shape the notion “that Jews as a class represented a threat to the outcome of war”.

Keywords:   antisemitism, Civil War, prejudice, Jews, popular culture, magazines, cartoons, shoddy goods, ethnocentrism, stereotypes

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