Sunday was Abraham Lincoln’s 213th birthday. The 16th president appears in Jonathan Sarna’s forthcoming Nextbook Press book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, during a meeting in Washington between President Lincoln and delegations of Jews from Cincinatti and Louisville:
Isaac Mayer Wise, who participated in the meeting, wrote a widely circulated account of what transpired. Though he had not previously been one of the president’s acolytes, he was now deeply impressed. Lincoln, he reported, “knows of no distinction between Jew and Gentile.” In addition, he “feels no prejudice against and nationality,” and “by no means will allow that a citizen in any wise be wronged on account of his place of birth or religious confession.” “To condemn a class,” he quoted Lincoln as declaring, thereby turning Grant’s order practically on its head, “is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad, I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.”
Happy birthday, Mr. President.
When Grant Expelled the Jews [Nextbook Press]
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.