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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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Revolution and Reform

Revolution and Reform

The Antebellum Jewish Abolitionists

(p.125) 3 Revolution and Reform
Jews and the Civil War

Jayme A. Sokolow

NYU Press

This chapter examines the Jews' opposition to slavery and their participation in antebellum America's most controversial reform: abolitionism. It first looks at two groups of Jews who migrated to America following the revolutions of 1848. The largest group migrated because they were determined to find the personal opportunity, economic freedom, and civic equality denied them in Europe. The second, smaller group fled to America because they had participated in the 1848 revolutions or were opposed to the restoration of the conservative regimes. The chapter then considers Jewish abolitionists' use of their liberal European beliefs and Reform Judaism to defend antebellum Blacks, along with their antislavery activities throughout the free states, Kansas, and Maryland. It also explores how different strains of Western and Jewish thought converged in the mid-nineteenth century to produce the particular emotional and intellectual intensity of the Jewish antislavery movement.

Keywords:   slavery, antebellum America, abolitionism, Jews, revolutions, Europe, Jewish abolitionists, Reform Judaism, Blacks, antislavery movement

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