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"A Very Jewish Civil War" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2021 10:23 p.m. PST

"In 1891, a disturbing article appeared in the North American Review, which was the 19th-century version of today's Time—it was the country's most popular public-affairs magazine. The article charged that Jews tended to shirk service in the military. It was soon followed by a letter to the editor from a non-Jewish Civil War veteran. He wrote that during months of service in the Union army, he had never seen a soldier who was a Jew.

Many Jewish leaders were infuriated with what they considered a bald display of anti-Semitism. One so powerful, apparently, that Mark Twain would repeat the claim ("unpatriotic disinclination to stand by the flag as a soldier") in an essay titled "Concerning the Jews," published a few years later. One of the angriest Jews was Washington, D.C., attorney Simon Wolf, head of that city's B'nai B'rith. He vowed to debunk the libel and spent over three years compiling the names of every co-religionist he could find who had fought in American wars: from independence from England, to the war with Mexico, to the biggest conflict to date—the Civil War. In 1895 he published the names in a ponderous tome, The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen. You can see it today on Google…"
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Armand

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2021 6:36 a.m. PST
Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2021 8:14 a.m. PST

Quick now, which American president was the first to include both a Roman Catholic and a Jew in his cabinet?

Oooh, oooh, I know, I know! That would be Jefferson Davis.

Bill N07 Aug 2021 10:49 a.m. PST

Don't forget that the Confederate Congress seated representatives from certain Indian nations.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2021 3:35 p.m. PST

Thanks!…

Armand

RA Cunningham07 Aug 2021 4:33 p.m. PST

" Quick now, which American president was the first to include both a Roman Catholic and a Jew in his cabinet?

Oooh, oooh, I know, I know! That would be Jefferson Davis."

I don't understand internet humor.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2021 8:22 p.m. PST

Jefferson Davis being the head of the racist and evil white supremacist Confederacy would not be expected to have both Roman Catholics nor Jews in his government. Yet as others have mentioned they even had Native Americans serving in their government. The lens of today often distorts the history we read.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Legion 408 Aug 2021 10:44 a.m. PST

The lens of today often distorts the history we read.
Very much so … When they try not only to rewrite history in a very biased, skewed, inaccurate, etc., manner But put current standards, morals, etc., of today to back then … they miss the point, are completely moronic and/or have an "radical agenda" … IMO of course.

Oddball08 Aug 2021 12:09 p.m. PST

Unfortunately, anti-Semitism seems to ageless, covering all locations and times.

In the Civil War, my family had 3 brothers enlist. 1 KIA, 1 POW, the last not a "stellar" record, the desertion thing was way over blown, anyway they were all Christians.

In W.W. II,

1st Lt. Melvyn Feigen
371st BS, 307th BG, 13th AF
MIA with entire B-24 crew on recon mission, July 13, 1943.

Think "Unbroken", but no happy ending.

He was my brother in law's uncle and he was Jewish.

dave836508 Aug 2021 5:12 p.m. PST

" Quick now, which American president was the first to include both a Roman Catholic and a Jew in his cabinet?

Oooh, oooh, I know, I know! That would be Jefferson Davis."

He wasn't an American president. He was merely the leader of a failed insurrection. The rebel government was never recognized as an independent country by any foreign nation.

And Davis was not the first to include a Roman Catholic in his "cabinet". Roger Taney, a Roman Catholic, was acting Secretary of War and appointed Attorney General and Treasury Secretary under Jackson, until Jackson appointed him as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to succeed John Marshall.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2021 5:13 p.m. PST

Kills me that folks notice the invisible things about people such as religions, politics or sexual orientation, let alone someone's sex or race when making a judgement about them. Sad enough it happened in the past, let alone that it happens today.

oldnorthstate08 Aug 2021 6:16 p.m. PST

dave8365 you miss the point…Jefferson Davis was the head of a government, whether it was recognized by a foreign government or not is irrelevant…it had a structure, laws, imposed and collected taxes, etc and the reality that Lincoln had to deal with them as a "government" in any negotiations gave them defacto recognition.

As far as Taney goes the point is not that a Catholic was appointed to a position within the US government, but that the Confederate cabinet and elected officials may have been a tad more diverse than is generally recognized.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2021 7:15 p.m. PST

Slavery is of course wrong.

But if I had to choose between a society that misinterprets God's word and will, and one that rejects it altogether, I would much prefer the first.

Baranovich08 Aug 2021 7:16 p.m. PST

It's completely anti-semitic to claim that Jewish soldiers didn't serve in the army or didn't serve bravely.

It is however not anti-semitic in the least to point out the hypocrisy of Jewish (and Christian) soldiers fighting for a cause that had at its heart the owning of other people. That is merely pointing out an historical reality.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2021 8:27 p.m. PST

I see you deleted your screed against religion. I think that was wise.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2021 8:48 p.m. PST

Roger Taney was Chief Justice and penned the Dred Scott decision. That's hardly anything for Roman Catholics to be proud of or brag about.
He is hardly a proud role model for diversity.

dave836508 Aug 2021 9:25 p.m. PST

"Roger Taney was Chief Justice and penned the Dred Scott decision. That's hardly anything for Roman Catholics to be proud of or brag about.
He is hardly a proud role model for diversity."

And Judah Benjamin (who was not born to a slaveholding family, but came to own slaves later in life as a result of his personal financial success) was a noted apologist for slavery. A bit ironic for a Jew (what with that whole Passover thing and the Isrealites being delivered from slavery in Egypt).

And I didn't say that Taney was a good guy or should be held up as an example of enlightened thought. Just that he was a Roman Catholic appointed to a cabinet position prior to the War of Southern Insurrection.

He was a horrible Chief Justice who is hopefully enjoying the pleasures of Dante's seventh level…

dave836508 Aug 2021 9:33 p.m. PST

My comment was based on the perception that prior comments are the product of "lost cause" romanticisim. And I still do.

But this is a forum for talking about little lead dollies. So let's let Tr***zees and L***ards each be who they are, and return to the one thing that we can all agree on.

Empire III was the greatest set of rules ever written…

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 4:34 a.m. PST

The point about Jefferson's cabinet is simply that different societies have different prejudices. The Old South distinguished primarily in black and white, and Jews and RCs were on the white side. The North had EXTREME prejudice again both (and very few blacks, who were, however, still subjected to racism though not to slavery). The north had child labor, too, which the plantations mostly did not.

Oddball09 Aug 2021 5:42 a.m. PST

Oh, ya, my nephew is currently attempting to become an officer in USMC. Training at Quantico right now. He's Jewish also.

oldnorthstate09 Aug 2021 7:21 a.m. PST

Don't make the mistake of conflating the "lost cause" point of view with cold, hard historical facts…I don't remember any defenders of the lost cause using the "diversity" of the Confederate cabinet as one of the tenants of that point of view…and of course, Empire III is one of the worst Napoleonic rules ever written…how's that for diversity of thought.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 9:10 a.m. PST

Judah P Benjamin is a cold hard historical fact.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 9:11 a.m. PST

So is Moses Jacob Ezekiel.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 9:14 a.m. PST

Mary Chesnut mentions "Hebrews" a number of times in her diary, and pretty clearly accepts them as her social equal. So I'm not sure what the lost cause has to do with it.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 12:21 p.m. PST

Hi doc. I honestly did not realize that most slave children did not work in the fields or at other labor in the south. How did the masters determine this? I do not know much about everyday slave life. I am sure it varied as far as conditions.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 12:33 p.m. PST

Yes, it varied immensely, as large human institutions tend to. But yes, in general, children were not expected to work in the fields until roughly puberty. You will be able to find a lot of pro- and con- on that topic, as on every other aspect of slavery. Children of course were assigned chores they could physically perform, including caring for younger children.

This is a small extract from a well done research paper on slave women:

Infants required some direct caretaking, whereas older children left behind by working mothers did not and were supervised from a distance. Dave Harper, a motherless slave youth, grew up on a farm with an elderly slave woman and explained,

"De old lady took care of de children while de mothers worked. De oldest one never went to de field. She just looked after de little ones."

Slave owners often related this arrangement when explaining the care provided to their youngest slaves, but in reality,
children received little supervision.

The majority of Missouri slaves interviewed by the
WPA supported this latter assertion; most reported a great deal of adolescent autonomy. Steve Brown said, "When I's little de mostest fun we had was going fishing – we spent most of our time down dar by de branch and I guess de big folks was glad to have us out of de way."
Finally, some slave children accompanied their mothers and worked alongside them or played nearby. Katie Cherry took her young daughter Tishey with her when she carded, spun, and wove for her master. Tishey recalled that she played but was not to
disrupt her mother's work. "I ‘member one time, I wus little, I played ‘rat under de loom'. I would crawl up and grab mammy and say ‘e-e-e-k', and pinch her. She say,
‘I'll puts a stop to that ‘rat' bother me when I got work to do!' That didn' stop me but she sho' make me wish it had the nex' time I do it."

Katie Cherry's decisions concerning Tishey demonstrate the freedom given some mothers in deciding arrangements for their children. While assigned to spinning and weaving she kept her daughter close by and supervised her while she worked, but upon
being reassigned to fieldwork, Tishey reported that her mother, "lef me, and my brother and sister by our selvs' ‘till she come."

Tishey's age likely influenced her mother's
assigned work: Cherry performed duties that allowed her to simultaneously supervise her child. In Tishey's memory of playing while her mother wove, she does not mention
siblings nearby. Her game of "rat under the loom" is also indicative of a small child's play. Therefore, it is likely that as Tishey became older her mother did not need to be
close by, and that one of her children acted as supervisor.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 12:50 p.m. PST

The quote above is from this: link

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 12:55 p.m. PST

The quotes are from the WPA's slave narratives, of which there are thousands, interviews done in the 1930s of old people who had grown up in slavery. They are all available online. link

Eugene Genovese used them extensively in his magnificent ROLL JORDAN ROLL: THE WORLD THE SLAVES MADE, still the best single book on slavery.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 2:14 p.m. PST

Thanks, much appreciated doc.

I think that at the time, poor and immigrant children in the North as well as in England and elsewhere were often victimized by the labor needs of the industrial revolution and were not much better off than slaves as far as their labor experiences, and perhaps worse sometimes. At least they were not owned by anyone, with all the trauma that might confer. But from mines to machines, it was a tough world for them.

I will check out the book. Very interesting and another aspect to raise awareness of the historical record.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2021 3:31 p.m. PST

When the Boston transcendentalists established the utopian Brook Farm, they were proud of the fact that they freed the women of the commune from "kitchen slavery."

They did that by hiring poor Irish girls from Boston to do the scut work.

Murvihill11 Aug 2021 8:18 a.m. PST

The children in factory thing is kind of disingenuous. In those days young children were expected to work. On the farm they started chores as soon as they were able to. School is off in the summer because that was the busiest time on the farm and the kids were needed to work. As far as slaves not working when young, all those interviewed in the '30s were 70 years removed from slavery, just how old do you expect they were when they were slaves? I'd be surprised if kids 8-10 were not contributing in some way. The modern US paradigm where kids could basically screw off until they graduate college didn't start until after WW2.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2021 2:41 p.m. PST

Yes, it varied a lot. And factory work often just meant sitting and watching the machine, and if it broke shutting it off and calling someone.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2021 2:44 p.m. PST

The former slaves interviewed might have been in their 20s in 1865, if they were in their 90s then.

arthur181511 Aug 2021 3:08 p.m. PST

In English factories, before it was outlawed in the mid 19th century, children were often expected to crawl between the moving parts of looms or spinning machines to oil and service them while they were operating, resulting in injuries and sometimes death.

Murvihill12 Aug 2021 6:34 a.m. PST

"In English factories, before it was outlawed in the mid 19th century, children were often expected to crawl between the moving parts of looms or spinning machines to oil and service them while they were operating, resulting in injuries and sometimes death." True, but on the farm they dealt with very large animals that could injure or kill them as well. Different times…

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