9781250059536

Lincoln and the Jews A History

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781250059536

  • ISBN10:

    1250059534

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/17/2015
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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Summary

One hundred and fifty years after Abraham Lincoln's death, the full story of his extraordinary relationship with Jews is told here for the first time. Lincoln and the Jews: A History provides readers both with a captivating narrative of his interactions with Jews, and with the opportunity to immerse themselves in rare manuscripts and images, many from the Shapell Lincoln Collection, that show Lincoln in a way he has never been seen before.

Lincoln's lifetime coincided with the emergence of Jews on the national scene in the United States. When he was born, in 1809, scarcely 3,000 Jews lived in the entire country. By the time of his assassination in 1865, large-scale immigration, principally from central Europe, had brought that number up to more than 150,000. Many Americans, including members of Lincoln's cabinet and many of his top generals during the Civil War, were alarmed by this development and treated Jews as second-class citizens and religious outsiders. Lincoln, this book shows, exhibited precisely the opposite tendency. He also expressed a uniquely deep knowledge of the Old Testament, employing its language and concepts in some of his most important writings. He befriended Jews from a young age, promoted Jewish equality, appointed numerous Jews to public office, had Jewish advisors and supporters starting already from the early 1850s, as well as later during his two presidential campaigns, and in response to Jewish sensitivities, even changed the way he thought and spoke about America. Through his actions and his rhetoric—replacing "Christian nation," for example, with "this nation under God"—he embraced Jews as insiders.

In this groundbreaking work, the product of meticulous research, historian Jonathan D. Sarna and collector Benjamin Shapell reveal how Lincoln's remarkable relationship with American Jews impacted both his path to the presidency and his policy decisions as president. The volume uncovers a new and previously unknown feature of Abraham Lincoln's life, one that broadened him, and, as a result, broadened America.

Author Biography

JONATHAN D. SARNA is the Joseph Engel Visiting Professor of American Jewish Studies at Harvard University (Spring 2014), the 18th president of the Association for Jewish Studies, and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he chairs its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

ix foreword by Benjamin Shapell

xii introduction by Jonathan D. Sarna

xiv lincoln’s jewish connections

1 CHAPTER ONE
the promised land . . .
whose stones are iron
and out of whose hills
thou mayest dig brass
1809–1830

11 CHAPTER TWO
and this too shall pass away—
never fear
1830–1858

43 CHAPTER THREE
one of my most valued friends
1858–1860

77 CHAPTER FOUR
we have not yet
appointed a hebrew
1861–1862

123 CHAPTER FIVE
i myself have a
regard for the jews
1863

159 CHAPTER SIX
about jews
1863–1865

189 CHAPTER SEVEN
to see jerusalem
before he died
1865

217 epilogue

228 lincoln and the jews chronology

234 notes

262 acknowledgments

264 index

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