On December 17, 1862, in the midst of the Civil War and only weeks before Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11. The order expelled Jews “as a class” from the territory of the Department of Tennessee, a region under Grant’s command that included Mississippi, western Tennessee, and parts of Kentucky and Illinois. Grant had been informed that some Jews were running a black market in Southern cotton and he wanted to put a stop to this violation of wartime trade regulations. (Both Jews and non-Jews were involved in this illegal trade. Rather than targeting the individual Jews and non-Jews who were leading the ring, Grant went after Jews “as a class”).
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