Jews in the South

By Leonard Dinnerstein; Mary Dale Palsson | Go to book overview

Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South, 1789-1865

Bertram Wallace Korn


Introduction

AS WE INAUGURATE this five-year-long observance of the Civil War *, there is certain to be no diminution of the quantity of historical volumes already flooding forth from the nation's presses. One of the major subjects will undoubtedly continue to be the question of the causes of the Civil War. Some writers will favor political interpretations; others will emphasize economic factors; still others will cite social ingredients. Some will blame the North, and others the South. Some will denounce fool-hardy leadership in the South, or in the North, or both. Others will underline the failure of ordinary citizens in both sections to express their feelings and desires. Many of these writers will be so enamored of their theories that they will overlook the all-pervasive influence of the crucial problem: slavery. Political, economic, social, psychological, and other currents were present as contributory factors, but they were all related in one way or another to the persistence of the slave system. Had Negro slavery not been an integral aspect of the life of the Old South, there would have been no conflict, no secession, no war. Differences there might have been, but not violence and bloodshed. Slavery was the single indigestible element in the life of the American people which fostered disunion, strife,

____________________
*
Address delivered at the Fifty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society at the Jewish Museum of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York City, February 18, 1961.

-89-

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