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General order 11. Was Grant anti-semetic?

Discussion in 'Ulysses S. Grant' started by Will Carry, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. Will Carry

    Will Carry Sergeant

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    In General order 11 of 1862, supposedly Grant ordered the expulsion of all Jews from his area of operations. He was based out of Memphis. The premise was that Jews controlled the black market of cotton being smuggled north on the Mississippi. I thought that the black market was run by the Union Army. I read general order 11 and it was very confusing but it never mentioned Jews. So why is it interpreted as anti-semetic?

    Don't assume I know a lot about general order 11 but as I understand it Grant later claimed that the order was written by a subordinate and he didn't read it thoroughly before he signed it. Does this let him off the hook? How many Jews were in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi? The Big Muddy played such an important role in the Civil War and the smuggling really interests me. If anyone could recommend a book that would be nice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017

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  3. KansasFreestater

    KansasFreestater 1st Lieutenant

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  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Here is the beginning of General Order 11, which definitely is directed at Jews:
    1. The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department [of the Tennessee] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.
     
  5. 8thFlorida

    8thFlorida Sergeant

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    There were a lot of Jewish brothers and sisters in the South. Judah Benjamin was probably the most prominent and well known. I remember going through a Confederate cemetery in Richmond and seeing a large Jewish memorial to those that we lost in the war. My thought is that many Jewish people contributed to the Southern Cause of Secession.
     
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  6. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger 2nd Lieutenant

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    From what I know the order was specific, but retracted not long afterwards, and Grant also expressed regret over it later. I'm going off the top of my head re: something I read, but don't currently have to hand so I'm also open to correction.
     
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  7. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Captain Forum Host

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  8. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    He rescinded it, but only after Lincoln and Stanton got involved.

    On the questions raised in the OP:

    The order itself was clearly antisemitic. It was clearly aimed at "the Jews, as a class" not at a few cotton traders.
    Very few Jews lived in the affected area.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  9. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger 2nd Lieutenant

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    I knew that didn't come out quite right when I said it! You rescind orders, but you retract statements. As soon as I read your post, it jumped out at me :wink:
     
  10. wausaubob

    wausaubob 1st Lieutenant

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    Pat Young has this covered. Grant had to learn. The anti-semitism he expressed was unimportant if he was a lowly colonel, but by late 1862 he was among the leaders of the country. He had political responsibilities.
    However, I understand both Grant and Sherman, and Porter as well, were extremely frustrated by the amount of gold going into the Confederacy and the amount of cotton coming out, and the trade was unofficially permitted by the Treasury Department.
     
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  11. Will Carry

    Will Carry Sergeant

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    Thanks Pat. It would have helped if I had read the first two words. There will always be people who profit from chaos. An enterprising person could have made a lot of money smuggling things to the North and the South. I have heard rumors that Major Booth was smuggling goods out of Fort Pillow but that has never been substantiated. At first I thought smuggling was terrible but soldiers didn't make a lot of money and after the war most of them would be unemployed. So why not?
     
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  12. wausaubob

    wausaubob 1st Lieutenant

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    After reading under the associated topics, I noticed a letter written by Grant, a mention of the carpet bag luggage used by some of these traders. I have to speculate that this was adopted as a non-explicit way to refer to Jewish financial people who purchased loan instruments from the New York banks, at an enormous discount, and then tried to enforce those security interests after the war.
     
  13. wausaubob

    wausaubob 1st Lieutenant

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    I think when Grant issued the order, there were a small number of merchants, one or two of which were Jewish, that were abusing a permit Grant had allowed his father, and Grant could not name the particular people who were involving without embarrassing his father and himself. Therefore he resorted to the anti-semitic exclusion order, which was wrong.
     
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  14. major bill

    major bill Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Because smuggling provides money to your enemy which they can use to purchase items which can further their war effort. On a certain level, smuggling helps kill your fellow soldiers.
     
  15. wausaubob

    wausaubob 1st Lieutenant

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    There's the rub. How many soldiers should die, on both sides, so that the Treasury Department can protect traders who are getting cotton out of the Confederacy that could be shipped from New York to England?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
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  16. Will Carry

    Will Carry Sergeant

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    Do you think Major Booth was smuggling out of Fort Pillow? Sherman told him to abandon the fort and the rumor among Forrest's men was that he was pillaging West Tennessee and sending the booty north on gun boats that would stop at the dock by the fort. Being rumors I have nothing to substantiate these claims, but it sounds like it would make a good novel.

    Lionel F. Booth also known as George H. Lanning. This guy is very interesting if Wikipedia is correct.
     
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  17. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    :D Nobody's ever, ever brought that little gem up about Booth/Lanning. Booth was born in Bedford County - about a mile from Forrest's birthplace - and the Lannings were well known to the Forrests. Doubtful Forrest knew Booth personally....but he would certainly have recognized the name. The more you dig into Ft Pillow, the more intrigue surfaces.
     
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  18. Canadian

    Canadian Corporal

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    I think the involvement of his father was key. Jesse Root Grant was using his connection with Ulysses Grant to promise greater access for his partners, who happened to be Jewish, to the illegal cotton trade. Supposedly he asked Grant for privileges. This was both an embarrassment for Grant and a military problem, since the cotton trade would help the enemy.. Given Grant's complicated relationship with his father he would not have wanted to isssue orders barring his father from the newly conquered area, so barring the Jewish partners was a desperate workaround.
     
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  19. WilliamH

    WilliamH Private

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    In general terms during the 1850s-60s I think of racism being a common widespread belief both North and South among the general population (I realize that there were individuals and groups that spoke out against it).

    Is the same true for anti-Semitism? Was that a wide spread belief at the time? Was the wording/stereotype of Grant’s order a common line of thinking for that day?
     
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  20. major bill

    major bill Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Anti-Semitism in America was common well into the 20th Century and is still not uncommon today. How Jews were views and how they were discriminated against has changed over the years
     
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  21. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Yes. However, it tended towards discrimination rather than forced removal. Grant's order has no American equivalent in his day.
     
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