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Jews and revolution in Europe, 1789–1919

Howard N. Lupovitch


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The interplay between European Jewry and European revolutions manifested itself in two ways during the long nineteenth century, from 1789 to 1919. First, the legal and political status of Jews, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, ranked among the most hotly contested and protracted debates among revolutionary elites and their antagonists. Second, from 1848 on ward, Jews were among the leaders of most revolutionary movements. The particular aims at stake during the revolutionary movements of the nineteenth century changed from liberalism in 1789, to liberalism and nationalism by 1848, to socialism and communism by 1917. Yet the centrality of the Jewish Question, as the debate over the status of Jews came to be known by the 1820s, remained throughout; the inclusion of Jews in the new states and societies that these movements hoped to build remained at the forefront of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary discourse and debate. Each of the great revolutionary dramas of 1789, 1848, and 1917 added a dimension to the debate over the fate of the Jews. The Jewish Question eventually delineated the future of a religious and ethnic minority, but also became a gauge of the success of revolutionary ideas and movements. The French Revolution brought discourse on Jewish rights to the forefront. For several decades prior to 1789, public exchanges on civic amelioration of Jews in England, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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