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American groups like the Immigration Restriction League criticized these new arrivals along with immigrants from Asia and southern and eastern Europe as culturally, intellectually, morally, and biologically inferior.
Despite these attacks, very few Eastern European Jews returned to Europe, for whatever privations they faced here, their situation in the US was still much better than it had been in their former homes. Between and , approximately 1. Whereas before , American Jews never amounted even to 1 percent of America's total population, by Jews formed about 3.
This dramatic increase, combined with the upward mobility of some Jews, contributed to a resurgence of antisemitism. As the European immigration swelled the Jewish population of the United States, there developed a growing sense of the Jew as different. Jerome Chanes attributes this perception on the fact that Jews were concentrated in a small number of occupations: they were perceived as being mostly clothing manufacturers, shopkeepers and department store owners. He notes that so-called "German Jews" who in reality came not just from Germany but from Austria, Poland, Bohemia and other countries as well found themselves increasingly segregated by a widespread social antisemitism that became even more prevalent in the twentieth century and which persists in vestigial form even today.
In the middle of the 19th century, a number of German Jewish immigrants founded investment banking firms which later became mainstays of the industry. Most prominent Jewish banks in the United States were investment banks , rather than commercial banks. One example of allegations of Jewish control of world finances, during the s, is Mary Elizabeth Lease , an American farming activist and populist from Kansas, who frequently blamed the Rothschilds and the "British bankers" as the source of farmers' ills. The Morgan Bonds scandal injected populist antisemitism into the presidential campaign.
It was disclosed that President Grover Cleveland had sold bonds to a syndicate which included J. Morgan and the Rothschilds house, bonds which that syndicate was now selling for a profit, the Populists used it as an opportunity to uphold their view of history, and argue that Washington and Wall Street were in the hands of the international Jewish banking houses. Another focus of antisemitic feeling was the allegation that Jews were at the center of an international conspiracy to fix the currency and thus the economy to a single gold standard.
According to Deborah Dash Moore , populist antisemitism used the Jew to symbolize both capitalism and urbanism so as to personify concepts that were too abstract to serve as satisfactory objects of animosity. Richard Hofstadter describes populist antisemitism as "entirely verbal.
In the first half of the 20th century, Jews were discriminated against in employment, access to residential and resort areas, membership in clubs and organizations, and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities.
Asylum: Book One of the Birch Harbor Series by Kristen Selleck, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Restaurants, hotels and other establishments that barred Jews from entry were called "restricted". New national organizations were formed for the purpose of improving conditions for Jewish Americans in general and in advancing its acceptance by American society. Perhaps the most important national Jewish organization was the American Jewish Committee , founded in Mainly drawn from the elite Western European Jews, it set out to safeguard the civil and religious rights of Jews and to combat discrimination and prejudice.
Another important national organization, sharing similar aims, was the American Jewish Congress , founded in In , a Jew in Atlanta named Leo Frank was convicted for the rape and murder of Mary Phagan, a year-old Christian girl who he employed. Frank was sentenced to death but Governor Slaton was convinced after a review of the evidence that Frank was innocent, so he commuted the sentence to life in prison.
As a result of public outrage over this act, a Georgia mob kidnapped Frank from prison and lynched him. The Klan disseminated the view that anarchists , communists and Jews were subverting American values and ideals. With the entry of the United States into World War I , Jews were targeted by antisemites as "slackers" and "war-profiteers" responsible for many of the ills of the country.
For example, a U.
Army manual published for war recruits stated that, "The foreign born, and especially Jews, are more apt to malinger than the native-born. The ADL also mounted a campaign to give Americans the facts about military and civilian contributions of Jews to the war effort. Antisemitism in the United States reached its peak during the interwar period. One element in American antisemitism during the s was the identification of Jews with Bolshevism where the concept of Bolshevism was used pejoratively in the country.
Immigration legislation enacted in the United States in and was interpreted widely as being at least partly anti-Jewish in intent because it strictly limited the immigration quotas of eastern European nations with large Jewish populations, nations from which approximately 3 million Jews had immigrated to the United States by In , educational discrimination became a national issue when Harvard announced it was considering a quota system for Jewish students. Although it was eventually dropped, the quota was enforced in many colleges.
As late as Dartmouth College had a limiting quota of Jewish students. To limit the growing number of Jewish students, a number of private liberal arts universities and medical and dental schools instituted a quota system referred to as Numerus clausus. Such policies were for the most part discarded during the early s although the last vestiges were not eliminated at Yale University until Jews encountered resistance when they tried to move into white-collar and professional positions.
Banking, insurance, public utilities, medical schools, hospitals, large law firms and faculty positions, restricted the entrance of Jews. This era of "polite" Judeophobia through social discrimination, underwent an ideological escalation in the s. In , Congress passed the Johnson—Reed Act severely restricting immigration. The act effectively diminished the flow of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe to a trickle. Henry Ford was a pacifist who opposed World War I , and he believed that Jews were responsible for starting wars in order to profit from them: "International financiers are behind all war.
I believe that in all those countries except our own the Jewish financier is supreme That is what I oppose—a power that has no country and that can order the young men of all countries out to death'".
According to author Steven Watts, Ford's antisemitism was partially due to a noble desire for world peace. Ford became aware of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and believed it to be a legitimate document, and he published portions of it in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Also, in —21 the Dearborn Independent carried a series of articles expanding on the themes of financial control by Jews, entitled: . One of the articles, "Jewish Power and America's Money Famine", asserted that the power exercised by Jews over the nation's supply of money was insidious by helping deprive farmers and others outside the banking coterie of money when they needed it most.
The article asked the question: "Where is the American gold supply? It may be in the United States but it does not belong to the United States" and it drew the conclusion that Jews controlled the gold supply and, hence, American money. Ford believed the Federal Reserve system was secretive and insidious. These articles gave rise to claims of antisemitism against Ford,  and in he signed a statement apologizing for the articles.
According to Gilman and Katz, antisemitism increased dramatically in the s with demands being made to exclude American Jews from American social, political and economic life. During the s and s, right-wing demagogues linked the Depression of the s, the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt , and the threat of war in Europe to the machinations of an imagined international Jewish conspiracy that was both communist and capitalist.
A new ideology appeared which accused "the Jews" of dominating Franklin Roosevelt's administration, of causing the Great Depression, and of dragging the United States into World War II against a new Germany which deserved nothing but admiration. Roosevelt's " New Deal " was derisively referred to as the "Jew Deal". Father Charles Coughlin, a radio preacher, as well as many other prominent public figures, condemned "the Jews," Gerald L.
Smith , a Disciples of Christ minister, was the founder of the Committee of One Million and publisher beginning in of The Cross and the Flag, a magazine that declared that "Christian character is the basis of all real Americanism. Gerald Winrod. In the end, promoters of antisemitism such as Coughlin, Smith, Kuhn and Winrod achieved no more than a passing popularity as the threat of Nazi Germany became more and more evident to the American electorate.
Steven Roth asserts that there was never a real possibility of a "Jewish question" appearing on the American political agenda as it did in Europe; according to Roth, the resistance to political antisemitism in the United States was due to the heterogeneity of the American political structure. Antisemitism in the United States was also indicated by national public opinion polls taken from the mid nineteen thirties to the late nineteen forties.
The results showed that over half the American population saw Jews as greedy and dishonest.
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These polls also found that many Americans believed that Jews were too powerful in the United States. Similar polls were also taken, one of which posed that 35—40 percent of the population was prepared to accept an anti-Jewish campaign. In a poll, approximately 60 percent of the respondents held a low opinion of Jews, labeling them "greedy," "dishonest," and "pushy.
In a Roper poll found that only thirty-nine percent of Americans felt that Jews should be treated like other people. Fifty-three percent believed that "Jews are different and should be restricted" and ten percent believed that Jews should be deported. The main spokesman for antisemitic sentiment was Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest whose weekly radio program drew between 5 and 12 million listeners in the late s. Coughlin's newspaper, Social Justice , reached a circulation of , at its peak in After the election, Coughlin increasingly expressed sympathy for the fascist policies of Hitler and Mussolini , as an antidote to Bolshevism.
His weekly radio broadcasts became suffused with themes regarded as overtly antisemitic. He blamed the Depression on an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers, and also claimed that Jewish bankers were behind the Russian Revolution. Coughlin began publication of a newspaper, Social Justice , during this period, in which he printed antisemitic polemics such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The 5 December issue of Social Justice included an article by Coughlin which closely resembled a speech made by Goebbels on 13 September attacking Jews, atheists and communists, with some sections being copied verbatim by Coughlin from an English translation of the Goebbels speech.
On November 20, , two weeks after Kristallnacht , when Jews across Germany were attacked and killed, and Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues burned, Coughlin blamed the Jewish victims,  saying that "Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted. On December 18, two thousand of Coughlin's followers marched in New York protesting potential asylum law changes that would allow more Jews including refugees from Hitler's persecution into the US, chanting, "Send Jews back where they came from in leaky boats!
Donald Warren, using information from the FBI and German government archives, has also argued that Coughlin received indirect funding from Nazi Germany during this period. After , Coughlin began supporting an organization called the Christian Front , which claimed him as an inspiration. In January, , the Christian Front was shut down when the FBI discovered the group was arming itself and "planning to murder Jews, communists, and 'a dozen Congressmen'"  and eventually establish, in J.
Edgar Hoover 's words, "a dictatorship, similar to the Hitler dictatorship in Germany. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war in December , the anti-interventionist movement such as the America First Committee sputtered out, and isolationists like Coughlin were seen as being sympathetic to the enemy. In , the new bishop of Detroit ordered Coughlin to stop his controversial political activities and confine himself to his duties as a parish priest. William Dudley Pelley founded the antisemitic Silvershirt Legion of America ; nine years later he was convicted of sedition.
And Gerald Winrod , leader of Defenders of the Christian Faith , was eventually indicted for conspiracy to cause insubordination in the armed forces during World War II. The avant-garde of the new non-interventionism was the America First Committee , which included the aviation hero Charles Lindbergh and many prominent Americans. The America First Committee opposed any involvement in the war in Europe.