During the Civil War,
like so many of their fellow citizens, Jews
were forced to take sides. While most of
the nation's 150,000 Jews lived in the North
and supported the Union, a sizable minority
numbering about 25,000 lived in the South
and held strong allegiance to the Confederacy.
Anti-Jewish sentiments rose sharply during
the war, culminating in General Ulysses S.
Grant's infamous Order
No. 11, banning Jews
as a class from Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Mississippi. The order was soon rescinded
at the request of President Lincoln himself.
Cleveland: Arthur Westbrook
Dime Novel Collection
From the nation's earliest days, an undercurrent
of prejudice and discrimination posed a continuing
challenge to the Jewish community. However,
constitutional guarantees of religious liberty,
backed-up by American Jewry's firm response
to acts of intolerance, prevented persecution
of Jews from sinking deep roots in the United
States. Still, confronting the challenges
presented by anti-Semitism has been a persistent
concern of American Jewry and has led to
the founding of communal organizations focused
specifically on responding to prejudice and
preventing it through education.