chapter  15
22 Pages

Jews and the Great Moral Debate

Far from gaining acceptance, the Jews of Kentucky, most of whom were pro-Union, found themselves menaced by the very side they supported in the Civil War. The first to feel the wrath of these deportation orders were the Jews of Paducah, a small town more than 200 miles down the Ohio River from Louisville. Jews in the ante-bellum South may have been feared and loathed as city slickers, pork-haters, even Yankees, but they never were caricatured as masterminds of the illegal slave trade. Black culture had imbibed anti-Semitism along with Christian theology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Far from secretly undermining the Union cause, as is alleged in Secret Relationship, Northern Jewish bankers publicly embraced what they perceived as the cause of freedom. Despite living in societies where pressures to conform were great, Jews played a minor role in the development of slavery in the New World.