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Isaac Mayer Wise, "Letter from the Editor," The Israelite 9, no. 28 (16 January 1863): 218.
Grant Expels Jews from his Department; Lincoln Demands Order Be Revoked
On 17 December 1862, Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11 which expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, citing trade regulation violations. Grant was provoked by the black market in southern cotton and illegal traders, some of whom were Jewish; old prejudices flourished and Jewish practices became linked to profiteering.

Jewish leaders from around the country telegraphed President Lincoln, condemning the act as a violation of the Constitution and of the rights of citizenship. After meeting with a Jewish delegation from Paducah and Cincinnati, Lincoln requested that Union Commanding General Henry Halleck order Grant to revoke General Orders No. 11, which he did on 6 January.

Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, leading founder of American Reform Judaism and editor of the Jewish paper The Israelite, was part of a delegation that called on Lincoln that day to thank him for rescinding the order. Lincoln expressed his sincere belief in the illegitimacy of condemning an entire class; he would not allow anyone to be wronged due to religious affiliation.

Wise described the background of General Orders No. 11 and its revocation in this Israelite editorial of 16 January 1863.

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