General Grant’s expulsion of the Jews from Paducah, Kentucky during the Civil War

This is the story of how the actions of Cesar Kaskel, a resident of Paducah during the Civil War, lead to the ending of a Union military injustice, that became known as the worst official anti-Semitic action in American history, when Major-General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11 on December 17th, 1862, instructing his officers to expel all the Jews in the military district of western Kentucky, western Tennessee, and Mississippi:1

Gen. Grant believed that Jewish and other unprincipled traders were orchestrating an unscrupulous trade of southern cotton in his military district and delivering intelligence, gold and supplies to the enemy, but the order blamed the Jews as a class instead of singling out the individual traders. Since western Kentucky, western Tennessee and Mississippi were in Grant’s military district, Grant was in charge of bestowing trading permits, and cotton was a lucrative trade, so he was being inundated with requests. He knew of the reports of goods being smuggled to the Confederacy, and he wanted to stop this practice.

The Civil War brought out the worst in some people, where mistrust and animosities grew steadily in the Four Rivers region due to the political differences, economic hardships and constant guerrilla attacks on residents that became a part of life in the area, and because of this, old world prejudices and stereotypes soon occurred, singling out the Jewish residents in particular.

Because of the river systems located so close to Paducah and the railroad lines that went through the city, its growth, before the Civil War, grew steadily, and because of the river traffic, it was a good location to start businesses for many German immigrants, among them, many of Jewish ancestry. Cesar Kaskel was born in the town of Rawitsch, Prussia, and during the 1850’s, many German Jews left for the United States to escape from a world where there were legal limitations on where they could live and the kinds of jobs that they could do to make a living. Prussia, during this time, was going through domestic unrest due to a bad economy that created hardships for finding work, and Kaskel hoped to change all of that when he moved to Paducah, Kentucky in 1858.2

Kaskel soon partnered with Solomon Greenbaum and went into business, but unfortunately, the Civil War began in 1861, and Kaskel found that running a business during this time was a difficult task. On June 12th, 1861, southern trade was restricted by the Federal Government to economically deprive the Confederate’s ability to trade for war supplies. On September 6th, 1862, Gen. Grant landed troops at the riverfront in Paducah, causing even further economic hardships for Kaskel, where permits, from the Union army, were required before anyone was allowed to conduct business transactions, after western Kentucky was declared to be under “insurrectionary influence” that allowed the Treasury Department to control the trading in the region to limit the ability for illegal trade to occur with the Confederacy.3

With all of the shortages in goods during the war and the Union army in control of Paducah, the speculators and smugglers fared very well, despite the attempts of the Federal government to halt illegal trade, with the supply and demand problems created by the war, and many unscrupulous deals were done to line many a pocket, giving some, with the right connections, more Federal trade permits that gave them the ability to create a vast amount of wealth from the imbalance in trade.4

In small cities, like Paducah, many residents were aware of these deals, and this created accusations of public corruption and personal animosities, either because they were blacklisted from getting permits because they were openly secessionist and branded as treasonous to the Union cause, or they were recent immigrants that had distinct European accents and different ways. The old-world stereotype of the Jewish immigrants came to the forefront, and many were denied permits because they were considered untrustworthy and unscrupulous in business. The Unionist believed they were in league with the secessionists, smuggling goods to the Confederates, and the secessionists didn’t trust the Paducah Jewish merchants because many openly supported the Union Cause; in fact, Cesar Kaskel was the Vice-President of the Paducah Union League Club, and his brother, Julius, was a recruiter for the Union army.5

Alincoln Wikimedia Commons

Abraham Lincoln (Wikimedia Commons)

To highlight how some in the Union army believed that the Jews were all smugglers, a report was wired from Union Navy Lieutenant S. L. Phelps to Flag-Officer A. H. Foote on December 30th, 1861, where he complained that too much smuggling was occurring from Paducah to Evansville, and that it was being done by “as usual chiefly by Jews.”6

When the war began, President Abraham Lincoln had a problem, and it was cotton; the South had it and everyone needed it. Both the European industries and the northern industries in the United States needed the raw material, and the Union army needed it for tents, but it was decided early on in the war to allow trade from the Border States to occur in the Confederate States, so that permits would be given to private citizens that allowed cotton to be bought and brought north. This satisfied the northern industrial interests that were continually requesting that the cotton trade be allowed to continue.7

The problem that General Grant had was when his armies marched south into Tennessee and Mississippi in 1862, where cotton was one of the main cash crops. He quickly learned how warfare caused the price of cotton to skyrocket to three or four times the prewar value, causing many to follow the army in the occupied towns to seek ways of acquiring cheap cotton from the south, and to sell in the northern states for a huge profit. Needless to say, some of the speculators following the army were not afraid to do many things to make a profit, including corrupt deals that also benefited the Confederates. Because military and guerrilla raids were continually burning cotton bales, many farmers chose to sell their cotton as fast as possible, but only at the lower price offered by the speculators.8

General Grant Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division pga 00723

General Grant
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
pga 00723

The situation was so chaotic that a correspondent with the Chicago Tribune described, in his article on December 18th, 1862, what it was like when Gen. Grant was in Holly Springs, Mississippi, “If ever a community were insane, or afflicted with a disgusting moral malady, it is the crowds of speculators and vagrants which have congregated at Holly Springs to deal in cotton – they have ‘cotton’ on the brain – every one of them.”9

Gen. Grant was plagued with constant requests for permits and transportation requests from the speculators, and he believed that many of them were carrying vital military intelligence and trading with gold to the Confederates, when they were travelling back and forth from the enemy lines. Grant felt that guarding the shipments also demoralized his troops, because of the many unscrupulous dealings that were occurring everywhere, including with his soldiers.10

General William Tecumseh Sherman believed that the speculators were hurting the war effort, and he often referred to them as the “Jews and speculators” in his letters. In one of them on July 31st, 1862, he stated, “They were nearly out of bacon and salt meat, but the desire of our people to trade has soon supplied this. Cincinnati has sent enough salt to supply all their army for six months. In like manner the Jews and speculators have sent in enough gold to get all the cartridges necessary, so the two wants of the army are supplied, a whole year lost to the war, and some Jews and speculators have made ten per cent profit. Of course our lives are nothing in the scales of profit with our commercial people. The buying of cotton by the people of the South was one act of folly, but our buying the refuse of them for gold and especially shipping salt, which from scarcity has risen to $100 a barrel, is a greater act of folly.”11

Edwin Stanton (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-BH832-578)

Edwin Stanton (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-BH832-578)

Adding to Gen. Grant’s problems, many soldiers saw the opportunity of making good money too good to pass up, by entering into illicit dealings with speculators, and in one account, an agent of the War Department and the future Assistant Secretary of War, Charles A. Dana, wrote a letter, on January 21st, 1863 in Memphis, to Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War, regarding the problem, “Every colonel, captain, or quartermaster is in secret partnership with some operator in cotton; every soldier dreams of adding a bale of cotton to his monthly pay. I had no conception of the extent of this evil until I came and saw for myself. Besides, the resources of the rebels are inordinately increased from this source. Plenty of cotton is brought in from beyond our lines, especially by the agency of Jewish traders, who pay for it ostensibly in Treasury notes, but really in gold.”12

Gen. Grant wrote to C. P. Wolcott, the Assistant Secretary of War in Washington D.C. on December 17th, telling him how he had been expelling some of the Jewish speculators from his Department, but they kept coming, with their “carpet-sacks”, no matter what he did to try to stop the constant traffic. He said the “Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel everywhere. They will land at any wood-yard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves they will act as agents for some one else, who will be at a military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold.”13

Gen. Grant told Wolcott that he believed the answer was for the Government to buy up all the cotton at a fixed rate, and then send it to Cairo, St. Louis or anywhere else away from him, so that “all traders (they are a curse to the army) might be expelled.”14

The resentment the Union army had to the cotton trade speculators continued to grow after continually dealing with unscrupulous traders, and many officers’ bigotry began to show towards the Jews in general, by stereotyping all of them into this persona they were so used to seeing around the Headquarters of their camps, and Gen. Grant was one of them. Even though not all of the speculators were Jewish, this did not deter their animosity against the Jewish traders.15

While preparing to move out in his first campaign to take Vicksburg, Mississippi, Gen. Grant sent a telegraph from Lagrange, Tennessee on November 9th, 1862, to Major General Hurlbut ordering him to “Refuse all permits to come south of Jackson for the present…The Isrealites especially should be kept out.”16

In mid-December, Gen. Grant’s father, Jesse Grant, visited his son’s Headquarters in Mississippi, and traveling with him were the Mack brothers, Harman, Henry and Simon, that were influential Jewish clothing manufacturers from Cincinnati, Ohio. Gen. Grant’s father was in a secret partnership with them to gain a permit to purchase cotton, along with a means to transport the cotton to New York, and the agreement was that he would travel with them to his son’s Headquarters to act as their agent for a fourth of the cut, but they were completely unaware of all of the problems that cotton had been for the younger Grant. He exploded in anger at his father and the Mack brothers, when he first learned of the plan, and according to witness that was present when this occurred, Journalist Sylvanus Cadwallader from the Chicago Times, Gen. Grant erupted at his father’s attempt to profit from his position in the army, while also raging at the brothers for trying to involve his father in their nefarious and unworthy plan. He immediately sent the brothers home on the first train north, and it was shortly after this event that General Orders No. 11 was issued, on December 17th, 1862.17

Gen. John A. Rawlins, Wikimedia Common

Gen. John A. Rawlins, Wikimedia Common

Gen. Grant’s Chief of Staff, John A. Rawlins, objected to the order as it was being prepared and told the general that it could be seen as discriminatory toward the Jews, but this did not deter Gen. Grant though and he told him, “Well, they can countermand this from Washington if they like, but we will issue it anyhow.”18

When the order was first issued, four military officers sent messages to Gen. Grant’s Headquarters, in an attempt to determine if the order included the Jewish sutlers that were following the military camps. Because the sutlers, merchants and peddlers that followed the camps selling non-military day-to-day goods such as food, tobacco, liquor and clothing, offered a service that was good for their soldier’s morale, the officers questioned the need to expel the Jewish traders, and they held off following the order until they received an answer to their queries.19

In the Israelite newspaper from Cincinnati, Ohio on January 23rd, 1863, it was reported that General Jeremiah Sullivan, at Jackson, Tennessee, refused to enforce the unjust order, and he was said to have stated that he “thought he was an officer of the army and not of the church.”20

Three days later, as Gen. Grant was south preparing for a possible attack on Vicksburg from northern Mississippi, Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn attacked Grant’s supplies lines at Holly Springs, Mississippi, capturing 2,000 soldiers, burning a large amount of Union rations and causing 50 miles of damage to the rail and telegraph, so because of this raid, Grant’s communications were knocked down and unreliable for weeks, contributing to the slow reactions to implementing the order.21

Nathan Bedford Forrest (Wikimedia Commons)

Nathan Bedford Forrest (Wikimedia Commons)

At the same time, General Nathan Bedford Forrest, commanding his force of cavalry in the district around Memphis, attacked posts and the railroad lines between Jackson, Tennessee and Columbus, Kentucky. These two raids caused Gen. Grant to determine that attacking Vicksburg from northern Mississippi was not possible because of the inability to protect the long supply lines to the front.22

Another issue that may have caused confusion was that of the Jewish soldiers and officers in the Union army, and especially to those under the command of Gen. Grant. Were they to be banned as well from Gen. Grant’s theatre of operations? Captain Philip Trounstine, of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, was so incensed at the order, he resigned his commission saying that he could not “help feeling, that as I owe filial affection to my parents, Devotion to my Religion, and a deep regard for the opinion of my friends and feeling that I can no longer, bear the Taunts and malice, of those to whom my religious opinions are known, brought on by the effect that, that order has instilled into their minds. I herewith respectfully tender you my immediate and unconditional resignation.”23

Even though the order was slow getting out, there were a few cases where Jews were mistreated within the Holly Springs Headquarters region, where one group was refused rail transportation to Memphis, forcing them to trek on foot forty miles to the city, and another group was imprisoned, fined and sent on a military train to Jackson, Tennessee where they received orders to promptly leave the military district.24

Outside of Gen. Grant’s immediate Headquarters’ region, there were no reported occurrences of the order, except in Paducah, Kentucky, when it was finally received to the desk of Captain L. J. Waddell, Paducah’s Provost Marshal, and when he read the order, he implemented it to the fullest extent by preparing orders for the removal of thirty Jewish men and their families in the city. As Provost Marshal, Capt. Waddell’s role was to police the city of Paducah for the Union army, under the orders of Gen. Grant, and he followed the order to the letter, whereas other officers disregarded the command to expel the Jews.25

Kaskel was summoned to the office of Capt. Waddell on Sunday December 28th, 1862, and was handed an order to leave the city:

OFFICE OF PROVOST MARSHAL
Paducah, Ky., December 28, 1862

C. J. Kaskel – Sir: In pursuance of General Order No 11, issued from General Grant’s headquarters, you are hereby ordered to leave the city of Paducah, Kentucky, within twenty-four hours after receiving this order.

               By order,

L. J. WADDELL,

Captain and Provost Marshal 26

The other Jewish men of Paducah were also given orders to leave the military district within twenty-four hours, even though two of the men were formerly Union soldiers, so they all began hurried preparations for leaving the city, but Kaskel was outraged with the order and was not going to let this injustice go without a fight.27

Kaskel and several other families decided the best way to fight the order was to go to the top, and they hurriedly sent a telegram to President Abraham Lincoln describing what happened:28

PADUCAH, KY., December 29, 1862.

Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
          President of the United States:

General Orders, No. 11, issued by General Grant at Oxford, Miss., December the 17th, commands all post commanders to expel all Jews, without distinction, within twenty-four hours, from his entire department. The undersigned, good and loyal citizens of the United States and residents of this town for many years, engaged in legitimate business as merchants, feel greatly insulted and outraged by this inhuman order, the carrying out of which would be the grossest violation of the Constitution and our rights as good citizens under it, and would place us, besides a large number of other Jewish families of this town, as outlaws before the whole world. We respectfully ask your immediate attention to this enormous outrage on all law and humanity, and pray for your effectual and immediate interposition. We would respectfully refer you to the post commander and post adjutant as to our loyalty, and to all respectable citizens of this community as to our standing citizens and merchants. We respectfully ask for immediate instructions to be sent to the commander of this post.

D. WOLFF & BROS.
C. F. KASKELL.
J. W. KASWELL.

Their telegram was received in Washington and General Halleck, General-in-Chief of all the Union armies, endorsed it on December 31st, but it was either ignored or lost before it could reach President Lincoln. It could have been overlooked because Lincoln and his staff were busy preparing the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued on January 1st, 1863.29

In their rush to leave the city, there were stories of how one baby was nearly left behind, and that two elderly sick women were allowed to stay with neighbors to care for them. Also, there is folklore in Paducah that tells the story of a Union soldier knocking on the door of a Jewish resident, and when he asked them who they were, the resident replied, “Tailor” in a heavy German accent, in which he replied, “Sorry to bother you, Mr. Taylor, but I’m looking for Jews.”30

After leaving Paducah, on the Steamship Charley Bowen, on the Ohio River, first to Cairo, Illinois and then up to Cincinnati, Ohio, Kaskel quickly wrote out his account and sent telegrams to many leading members of the American Jewish community and to the press, which was picked up by the Associated Press and printed on December 30th, 1862. He described his situation of being expelled from his home and community stating that he was a “peaceable, law abiding citizen, pursuing my legitimate business at Paducah, Kentucky, where I have been a resident for nearly four years, have been driven from my home, my business, and all that is dear to me, at the short notice of twenty-four hours; not for any crime committed, but simply because I was born of Jewish parents.”31

Kaskel pleaded with the Press to help spread the news of the order by saying, “On my way to Washington, in order to get this most outrageous and inhuman order of Major General Grant countermanded, I ask you, gentleman, to lend the powerful aid of the press to the suffering cause of outraged humanity; to blot out as quick as possible this stain on our national honor, and to show the world that the American people, as a nation, brand the author of that infamous order as unworthy of their respect and confidence.”32

Kaskel arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio and only stayed for a short time, long enough to talk to the leaders of the Jewish community in the city to collect letters of recommendation, before heading out to Washington D.C. to speak to Lincoln personally, with one of the Wolff brothers that was expelled from Paducah as well.33

Hon. John A. Gurley, Ohio, Wikimedia Commons

Hon. John A. Gurley, Ohio, Wikimedia Commons

Arriving in Washington on January 3rd, 1863 with letters of recommendation from Max Lilienthal, a rabbi and educator in Cincinnati, and Daniel Wolf, a respected merchant from the same city, Kaskel went to speak to Congressman John A. Gurley of Cincinnati, Ohio, a Republican that had recently lost his re-election campaign, but was friends with the Jewish leaders in Cincinnati and he had access to the President.34

Kaskel explained what had happened and Gurley took him to go see President Lincoln, arriving at dusk, and there is one account of the meeting between the two, though without authenticity to the story, that when the President greeted them and learned what happened, he remarked, “And so,” Lincoln is said to have drawled, “the children of Israel were driven from the happy land of Canaan?” “Yes,” Kaskel responded, “and that is why we have come unto Father Abraham’s bosom, asking protection.” “And this protection,” Lincoln declared “they shall have at once.”35

After explaining the full situation to the President, Lincoln told him that he had not been told about the order removing the Jews from the district, and he immediately penned an order revoking General Orders No. 11, and sent a message to Gen. Halleck to rescind the order, telling Kaskel that he could go home and by the time he reached Paducah, the order would be rescinded.36

General Halleck sent Lincoln’s directive to Grant the next day:37

WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, January 4, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
                  Holly Springs, Miss.:

A paper purporting to be General Orders, No. 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms it expels all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked.

H. W. HALLECK

General-In-Chief.

General Halleck Library of Congress  Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-cwpb-06957

General Halleck
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-cwpb-06957

Kaskel immediately headed back to Paducah that evening, and he arrived back in the city before Lincoln’s revoking of General Orders No. 11 became known to the officers, most likely due to the communications problems that Gen. Grant was still experiencing, and when his presence in the city was discovered by the Post Commander, he was asked whose orders allowed him to return, and the emphatic response from Kaskel was, “By order of the President of the United States.”38

 Because the order was not immediately revoked in Gen. Grant’s reports, Lincoln felt that he was due an explanation, to maintain a good relationship with Grant, so Gen. Halleck had Col. John C. Kelton write an unofficial message to Grant, on January 5th, explaining that the wording of his order excluded a whole class of people instead “of certain obnoxious individuals.” The message added, “Had the word ‘pedler’ been inserted after Jew I do not suppose any exception would have been taken to the order. Several officers and a number of enlisted men in your Dept are Jews. A Govr of one of the Western states is a Jew.”39

It was two days later after Gen. Halleck’s message to revoke the order when Grant’s office transmitted the order of recall, on January 6th, nearly three weeks after it was first issued. Gen. Grant’s new order was short, and to the point, stating, “By direction of General-in-Chief of the Army, at Washington, the general order from these headquarters expelling Jews from the department is hereby revoked.” Later, on January 21st, Gen. Halleck sent another message to Gen. Grant officially to clarify the thoughts of President Lincoln, saying that he had no objection to his order expelling traders and Jewish peddlers and that he thought that was the true reason for the order, but because it expelled an entire religious class, including soldiers in the ranks, the President “deemed it necessary to revoke it.”40

After the high numbers of casualties inflicted on the Union soldiers at the Battle of Shiloh, on April 6th and 7th, 1862, Lincoln had many requests to remove Gen. Grant from command, claiming that he was incompetent as a commander, with accusations of heavy drinking, and it was only the last minute arrival of General Don Carlos Buell that saved him from a complete military disaster. The President told them that he could not spare the general because “he fights,” and the same could be true regarding General Orders No. 11 where Lincoln may have believed that he needed to keep an eye on Gen. Grant, but he wanted no distractions to interfere with the military campaigns against the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi.41

Max Lilienthal Wikimedia Commons

Max Lilienthal Wikimedia Commons

While Kaskel was making his way to talk to the President in Washington, delegations of Jewish leaders from Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky were preparing to travel to Washington to talk with the President concerning General Orders No. 11; the Cincinnati group included Rabbis Max Lilienthal and Isaac Mayer Wise, the editor of the Israelite newspaper, along with Lawyer Edgar M. Johnson, and the Louisville group included Lawyer Martin Bijur and Abraham Goldsmith, a merchant from Paducah. While en route for the Capital, they learned that Kaskel was successful in getting the order revoked, but they continued on regardless, to thank the President in person for his decisive action on the matter.42

When they arrived in Washington, they met Congressman Gurley, as Kaskel had done, and received the same prompt invitation to go and speak to the President; in fact, they did not have time to even change out of their traveling clothes before heading out. Rabbi Isaac Wise wrote an account of meeting, in the Israelite, with President Lincoln on January 16th, 1863:43

Having expressed our thanks for the promptness and dispatch in revoking Gen. Grant’s order, the President gave utterance to his surprise that Gen. Grant should have issued so ridiculous an order, and added – “to condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad. I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.” The President, we must confess, fully illustrated to us and convinced us that he knows of no distinction between Jew and Gentile, that he feels no prejudice against any nationality, and that he by no means will allow that a citizen in any wise be wronged on account of his place of birth or religious confession.

Kentucky Governor Lazarus Powell (Wikimedia Commons)

Kentucky Governor Lazarus Powell (Wikimedia Commons)

On January 5th, 1863, Democrat Senator and a former Governor of Kentucky, Lazarus Powell, brought up a resolution in the Senate to condemn Gen. Grant’s order, and on January 9th, he brought with him documents from residents of Paducah showing that they had been expelled from the city. Powell concluded that Gen. Grant “might just as well expel the Baptists, or the Methodists, or the Episcopalians, or the Catholics, as a class, as to expel the Jews. All are alike protected in the enjoyment of their religion by the Constitution of our country.” Republican Senators John Hale and Charles Sumner succeeded in getting the resolution tabled, which ended the discussion in the Senate, and a resolution in the House of Representatives was also attempted, but it met the same lack of success as in the Senate.44

After Gen. Grant’s victory at the Battle of Vicksburg on July 4th, 1863, the calls for his dismissal by President Lincoln quieted and Gen. Grant was considered a hero thereafter for the Union cause. That is, until Gen. Grant decided to run for President of the United States in 1868, when General Order No. 11 became a campaign issue in the election, and throughout it all, he never said a word about the order, but he did have Gen. John Rawlins issue a statement regarding the order in the New York Times, on June 22nd, 1868, that stated, “The idea that it was issued on account of the religion of the Jews cannot be seriously entertained by any one who knows the General’s steadfast adherence to the principles of American liberty and religious toleration.” Gen. Grant went on to win the Presidency by more than 300,000 votes and more than enough electoral votes, but during the election, there were Jewish leaders that were both for and against the general.45

One of the most noticeable actions of President Grant during his presidency was that he appointed more Jews to public office than any President before him, and he gained many Jewish friends that were quick to speak out in favor of his presidency, so it appears that he went out of way to wipe away the memory of General Orders No. 11, or as his wife, Julia Dent Grant, referred to as ‘that obnoxious order’.46

Cesar Kaskel remained in Paducah for only a short time after the war, moving to New York City and opening a high-end clothing business afterwards, and even though he did not become an outspoken Jewish leader, like Isaac Wise or Simon Wolf, he knew he was able to show that the Jewish minority would always have a voice in the United States, as long as they stood up together to accomplish their goals. Needless to say, he would have had a wonderful story to tell his customers.47

 

Notes and References:

  1. Official records of the Union and Confederate armies in the The War of the Rebellion (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1886/1887), Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 424 
  2. Paducah Kentucky: A History, by John E. L. Robertson and Ann E Robertson, The History Press, Charleston, SC., p. 41 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 3-4
  3. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 3-4 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 515
  4. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 5-6 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 515
  5. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 5-6 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 514-515
  6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1908), series I, vol. 22, p. 479
  7. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen V. Ash, The Historian 44 (August 1982), 506
  8. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 507
  9. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 507
  10. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 508
  11. Home letters of General Sherman, Edited by M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1909, p. 229-230
  12. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 508 & OR Series 1 – Vol 52, part 1, p. 331 – Charles A Dana to Edwin M Stanton about officers in cotton speculation making money. & Recollections of the Civil War, by Charles A Dana: With the Leaders at Washington and in the Field in the Sixties, D. Appleton and Company, 1902, p. 18
  13. Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 421
  14. Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 421
  15. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 508
  16. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol 6, p. 283 & Recollections of the Civil War, by Charles A Dana, D. Appleton and Company, 1902, p. 17
  17. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 47-48
  18. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 511 & James H. Wilson, The life of John A. Rawlins, The Neale Publishing Company, New York, 1916, p. 96
  19. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p.18-19
  20. Israelite (Jan 23, 1863), p. 229 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 513
  21. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 8 & Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 463 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 513 & Three Years with Grant, by Sylvanus Cadwallader, p. 34-40
  22. Three Years with Grant, by Sylvanus Cadwallader, p. 34-40 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 513
  23. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 18 & Philip Trounstine to Major. C.S. Hayes, Moscow, Tennessee, March 3, 1863, in Jewish American History Foundation, http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/trnstine.htm, (accessed August 8, 2014).
  24. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 512 & How General Grant’s Order did work before it was revoked, Jewish American History Foundation, Online at http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/go11.htm (Accessed August 8, 2014)
  25. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 513-514 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 6
  26. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 6
  27. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 6
  28. Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 506 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 8-9
  29. War and Peace of Mind: The Jewish Expulsion and the Election of President Ulysses S. Grant, by Caryn Miller, Rutgers University, 2011, p. 40 & The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol 7, p. 55 & Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 506
  30. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 514 & Paducah Kentucky: A History, by John E. L. Robertson and Ann E Robertson, The History Press, Charleston, SC., p. 42
  31. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 12 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 118 & General Grant’s Infamous Order, By Jonathan D. Sarna, December 19, 2012, New York Times (Accessed Aug 11, 2014)
  32. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 12-13
  33. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518
  34. Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 118 & War and Peace of Mind: The Jewish Expulsion and the Election of President Ulysses S. Grant, by Caryn Miller, Rutgers University, 2011, p. 40 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 21 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518
  35. Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 118 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 118
  36. Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 118 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 21
  37. Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 530 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518 & The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol 7, p. 53
  38. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 22 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 119
  39. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Vol 7, Dec 9 1862 to mar 31 1863, p. 54 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 519
  40. Official Records Series 1 – Volume 17, Part II, p. 544 & The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol 7, p. 54 & Official Records Series 1 – Volume 24, Part I, p. 9
  41. Abraham Lincoln and men of war-times Some personal recollections of war and politics during the Lincoln administration, Alexander Kelly McClure, The Times Publishing Company, Philadelphia, 1892, p. 193-196
  42. Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 119 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 518 & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 22-23
  43. Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 22-23 & The Israelite,  Jan 16, 1863, p. 218 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 119-120 & Civil War Exodus: The Jews and Grants General Orders No 11, by Stephen Ash, p. 519
  44.  Congressional Globe, 37th Cong, 3rd sess., January 9, 1863, part 1, p. 245 & The Israelite, Jan 16, 1863, p. 218 & Abraham Lincoln and the Jews, Isaac Markens, p. 120
  45.  Grant and the Jews, New York Times, June 22, 1868 & General Grant’s Infamous Order, By Jonathan D. Sarna, December 19, 2012, New York Times (Accessed Aug 11, 2014) & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. xi Introduction
  46.  General Grant’s Infamous Order, By Jonathan D. Sarna, December 19, 2012, New York Times (Accessed Aug 11, 2014) & Sarna, Jonathan D., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Schocken Books, New York, 2012, p. 49 & The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant, by John Y. Simon, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1975, p. 107.
  47.  General Grant’s Infamous Order, By Jonathan D. Sarna, December 19, 2012, New York Times (Accessed Aug 11, 2014)

A little history – Common Sense

 

over of Common Sense, the pamphlet, Wikimedia Commons

Cover of Common Sense, the pamphlet, Wikimedia Commons

When the Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770 and the Boston Tea Party took place on December 16th, 1773, the colonists were highly agitated by these events, but throughout all of this, they still considered themselves British subjects that had grievances against the reigning British monarch, George III. In the year 1775, hostilities broke out between the colonists and the British army in these battles:

Even after these battles, the colonists continued to consider themselves British subjects.

Battle of Lexington, Wikimedia Commons

Battle of Lexington, Wikimedia Commons

That all changed after an anonymous pamphlet was published on January 9th, 1776 called ‘Common Sense‘. During this time period, pamphlets were the best way to spread ideas to large numbers, and Thomas Paine began writing this pamphlet in response to a speech that King George III gave to Parliament, on October 27th, 1775, in which he declared the American colonies have begun a rebellion against the British crown, where full military intervention was required to quell it. It was Paine’s friend Dr. Benjamin Rush that suggested he title the pamphlet Common Sense.

When Paine finished the pamphlet, he contacted Philadelphia printer Robert Bell to publish his work, and his words had a decidedly profound effect on the colonists. When the political leaders, as well as the average citizens, read the pamphlet, no longer did they view the events that were occurring as just grievances against the crown of England, but they began to have a very different idea and that was to call for independence from Britain, that led them to the American Revolution.

In the pamphlet, they read:

“Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, Wikimedia Commons

Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, Wikimedia Commons

Many of the colonists’ ancestors, as well as those that had recently arrived, came to the American colonies to escape monarchical rule or to find religious freedoms from a European continent that persecuted them for their beliefs. This new idea of a creating a new country appealed to a vast number of the colonists. Common Sense advocated for the breaking away from Britain’s rule and it helped inspire the idea of the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

Common Sense became an instant best-seller in the colonies and also in Europe, and it was republished in all parts of the United States. This made Thomas Paine internationally famous.

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 Click here to read the full text of Common Sense or you can listen to this audiobook

 

George Washington’s warning against political parties

George Washington (Wikimedia Commons)

George Washington (Wikimedia Commons)

With all of the fighting between the political parties, many people are defined by which party they belong and the issues that they stand for. Partisan attacks and polarization have become the norm, and the division in the nation is clearly growing to an alarming level.

Whether you are liberal or conservative minded, it is the issues that divide us and sets us into one camp or the other, and in order to allow all citizens of the United States to have their voices heard, a big picture view is needed to find a direction that we want our country to move for the future.

By only focusing on issues, it makes it easy for us to forget the most important fact that we are all American citizens, which have many differing ideas, and this fact will remain no matter what issues we decide are the most important to each of us.

George Washington may have been on to something when he said in his farewell speech in 1796:

The unity of government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

Washington was highlighting what was created, and the pride that came from forming a federal government that guaranteed the wishes for independence, tranquility at home, protections from foreign intervention and the prosperity for its citizens.

There are those that only seek to gain the power of one party over the other, no matter if they are liberal, conservative, independent or libertarian, and they use the most volatile issues to create a constant division in the country, which helps gather votes to one party or the other.

Washington also had something to say about this as well:

But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

He goes on to say:

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There are many issues that are dear to each of us, but our beliefs may not have the same force of reason to another group of citizens, and it is crucial to find a way to stand above those issues to be able to reach all Americans for a peaceful compromise. The issues are being used to create a wedge in the electorate that some are exploiting to divide our nation for their own purposes, and this is one of the reasons that George Washington discouraged the idea of having parties.

Whether one agrees with George Washington’s view on having political parties or not, it is easy to see that some of his warnings have merit. There are many that believe ceasing the hostilities erupting across the nation today is a worthy cause, and by seeking out, and exposing the methods employed by those that seek only to divide us for personal gain, we may learn to find ways to bring our divided nation together again.

 

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Listen to the whole speech here

George Washington’s Farewell Address

To the People of the United States

FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS:

1 The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

2 I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

3 The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.

4 I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

5 The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

6 In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.

7 Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

8 Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

9 The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

10 For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

11 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.

12 The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

13 While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

14 These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.

15 In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?

16 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

28 It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?

29 Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

44 How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

45 In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

46 After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

47 The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

48 The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

49 The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

50 Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

51 Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington
United States – September 17, 1796

Source: The Independent Chronicle, September 26, 1796.

Video: The Articles of Confederation

A video I created from the Coffee Party USA’s Civics Minute radio segments on June 12th, 2013. This video is from my article ‘Shays’ Rebellion and the Articles of Confederation‘.