In part 2 of his lecture series on Jews and American Politics: From Outsiders to Insiders, Professor Jonathan D. Sarna discussed Ulysses S. Grant and the election of 1868. On December 17, 1862, as the Civil War entered its second winter, General Ulysses S. Grant issued a sweeping order, General Orders #11, expelling “Jews as a class” from his war zone. The order came back to haunt Grant in 1868 when he ran for president. Never before had Jews been so widely noticed 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. The debate over whether to vote for a party that one considered bad for America just to avoid voting for a man who had been bad to the Jews raised complex questions that would arise time and again in American presidential contests, down to contemporary times.
This lecture was held for the inaugural Sidney and Miriam Brettler Memorial Series 5777, sponsored by their children.
Click here for other parts in this series.