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Jewish America: The Civil War "The Early Years"

First Aired Wednesday, January 10, 2001

At the start of the Civil War, there were 150,000 Jews in America, most of whom had arrived as immigrants within the past ten years. But the violent times forced allegiances, and Jews answered the call to war. In the South, Jews not only fought for the Confederacy, they held key positions in Jefferson Davis' cabinet. They were foot soldiers, officers, even generals. And in the North, Jews enlisted by the thousands, many of whom became staff officers. In spite of their loyalty to the cause, the Jew was still widely discriminated against. The infamous General Order #II, issued by Ulysses Grant, expelled Jews from their homes and business without cause, and Congress itself passed a law that only allowed Christians to be chaplains.

THE CIVIL WAR is about the Jewish soldiers, spies, and politicians who fought the war. But it is also about the triumph of a people who for the first time refused to allow others to deny them the rights that had so recently been guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States. Produced by Black Dog Films, Ryan Flair-Producer, David Scheerer- Director, Ronald Tobias-Writer. Presented by KUSM-TV/Montana PBS, MSU-Bozeman.