Grant Expels Jewish Citizens 1862

Given just 24 hours to evacuate, Jewish citizens of Paducah, Kentucky sent President Lincoln a telegram expressing their outrage at the “inhuman order” and calling it “the grossest violation of the Constitution, and our rights as good citizens under it.” The infamous order, issued by General Ulysses S. Grant on December 17, 1862, expelled all Jews from the territory under his command. Grant blamed Jews for smuggling and speculation that compromised the Union’s ability to put economic pressure on the Confederates.

Jewish Americans, numbering 150,000 in 1860—a tenfold increase in 20 years—mounted a campaign against the order. President Lincoln quickly countermanded it, saying that “to condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad.”