Gen. Grant's Jewish Order

See Birdman's note following the text.

1] On December 17, 1862, General Ulysses Grant wrote to the Assistant Adjutant General of the US Army:

"I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the specie regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by the Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officer at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department. But they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone 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 at an agreed rate, paying gold."

Also, on December 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11. This order banished all Jews from Tennessee's western military.

General Orders No. 11 declared: "1. The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, are hereby expelled from the Department.

"2. Within 24 hours from the receipt of this order by Post Commanders, they will see that all of this class of people are furnished with passes required to leave, and anyone returning after such notification, will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permits from these headquarters.

"3. No permits will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits.

"By order of Major Gen. Grant.

"Jno. A. Rawlings,
Assistant Adjutant General"

Birdman note

I am always suspicious of any argument that does not give the other side, especially in the case of a controversial matter like the Jews. The basic principle of a free market is that all exchanges between wlling buyers and willing sellers are permittted. That means we have to ask, Why is Gen Grant so eager to forbid certain of those trades? He says it is because of 'unprincipled traders', but what is that? Is it because Jews have better information? Or are better capitalized? Those don't sound like lack of principle to me. OK, maybe it is because Jews have not kept their promises to pay. That's illegal, but it is just common sense not to agree to a sale to an unknown party unless payment is made at time of sale. And that sounds like it is not so much the fault of the Jew as it is the fault of the people who trade with him. So I say, Give the Jew a break -- there are plenty of sins he is guilty of, so we don't need to accuse him of others -- it makes us look like liars.

PS: If you must know, Lincoln rescinded Grant's order the next day.