Jews in the South

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

American Judaeophobia: Confederate Version

Bertram Wallace Korn

THE SAME psychological, social, economic, and political factors which brought latent prejudices against Jews into the open in the North were creating a similar pattern of scapegoatism in the Confederacy. Economic tensions, personal fears and frustrations, and mass passions required an outlet and a victim in the South just as in the North.

Additional social factors peculiar to life in the South tended to strengthen and heighten the reaction to Jews: a general dislike of all aliens and foreigners which, during the War, created the legend that the Union Army was a band of German and Irish hirelings and mercenaries, while the Confederate Army was said to be exclusively native;1 a wide-spread suspicion of the merchant and storekeeper, typical

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1
Ella Lonn wrote her fascinating study Foreigners in the Confederacy ( Chapel Hill, 1940) to investigate and evaluate this legend. The evidence which she has marshaled from an exhaustive search of contemporary sources demonstrates that many thousands of foreigners were resident in the Confederacy, loyal to it, and active in its military campaigns.

Frank Moore cited an interesting example in Moore (ed.), The Rebellion Rec­. ord: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, etc....( 12 vols.; New York, 1861-68), VI, 412, reprinted from the Richmond Enquirer of July 15, 1863, of the Confederate belief that all traitors were foreigners:

Foreigners of every age and sex crowded the office of the provost-marshal, in Richmond, anxious to get passports to go North, by way of the blockade. The Jew, whose ample pockets were stuffed with confederate money; the Germans, with hands on pockets tightly pressed; Italians, with the silvery jargon; and the Irish woman, with "nine children and one at the breast," all beset the office and wanted passports to leave the country.... It is not fair that those who have drained the very life-blood of our people, should be let off thus quietly, and not made to shed the first, at least, if not the last, drop of blood for the Government which protected them in the collection of their hoarded pelf.

An illustration of the general suspicion in which foreigners were held in a newspaper poem clipped by the Rev. George Jacobs and preserved in his scrapbook, entitled "Ho! Profundum," of which this is one verse:

Tis noon-yet scarcely is begun
Up in the treasury the run,
Where Dutch and Yankee, Jew and Hun,
Meet in stock jobbery.

-135-

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