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The Jews and the Nation

The Jews and the Nation: Revolution, Emancipation, State Formation, and the Liberal Paradigm in America and France

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    The Jews and the Nation
    Book Description:

    This book is the first systematic comparison of the civic integration of Jews in the United States and France--specifically, from the two countries' revolutions through the American republic and the Napoleonic era (1775-1815). Frederic Jaher develops a vehicle for a broader and uniquely rich analysis of French and American nation-building and political culture. He returns grand theory to historical scholarship by examining the Jewish encounter with state formation and Jewish acquisition of civic equality from the perspective of the "paradigm of liberal inclusiveness" as formulated by Alexis de Tocqueville and Louis Hartz.

    Jaher argues that the liberal paradigm worked for American Jews but that France's illiberal impulses hindered its Jewish population in acquiring full civic rights. He also explores the relevance of the Tocqueville-Hartz theory for other marginalized groups, particularly blacks and women in France and America. However, the experience of these groups suggests that the theory has its limits.

    A central issue of this penetrating study is whether a state with democratic-liberal pretensions (America) can better protect the rights of marginalized enclaves than can a state with authoritarian tendencies (France). The Tocqueville-Hartz thesis has become a major issue in political science, and this book marks the first time it has been tested in a historical study. The Jews and the Nation returns a unifying theory to a discipline fragmented by microtopical scholarship.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2526-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Frederic Cople Jaher
  4. PART I Introduction

    • CHAPTER 1 The Prospect
      (pp. 3-32)

      The Jews and the Nation is a multilayered meditation on the early national history of France and the United States. The exploration features an account of the experience of each country’s Jews respectively during the War for Independence and the early Republic and the French Revolution and the First Empire. Since treatment of the Jews always reflects broader conditions and circumstances, this inquiry further ramifies into analytical perspectives on both French and American civic culture and society. In expanding from group to nation—“contextualization” in current jargon—the exploration moves from narrative to interpretation and from account to theory.


    • CHAPTER 2 The Nation
      (pp. 33-56)

      The French and American nations were born in the advent of nationalism. Identification of nationalism with the French Revolution is pervasive enough to prompt long- standing attempts to quantify nationalist public opinion in that uprising. Until recently, the most systematic of these investigations was Beatrice Fry Hyslop’s 1934 monograph, French Nationalism in 1798 According to The General Cahiers. Hyslop’s results, however, are questionable because she conflated loyalty to the king with loyalty to the nation, a conjunction that the Revolution itself disproved.¹

      Sixty-five years later, Gilbert Shapiro and John Markoff, in Revolutionary Demands: A Content Analysis of the Cahiers De...

  5. PART II The Account

    • CHAPTER 3 The French Experience I: The Revolution and Its Republic
      (pp. 59-102)

      In its liberal phase (until August 1792) the Revolution dismantled much of historical France. The country’s evaporating past was dynastic and corporative but an idealized future loomed that would be republican and national. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen affirmed individual rights and replaced the political nexus of king and subject with that of state and citizen. Although not always immediately or completely implemented, National Constituent Assembly legislation abolished feudalism; turned peasants into citizens; suppressed the ranks and privileges of nobility; confiscated ecclesiastical property and eliminated church tithes; required the clergy to swear allegiance to...

    • CHAPTER 4 The French Experience II: Napoleon and the First Empire
      (pp. 103-137)

      Republicanism, liberty, and the rights of man and the citizen were legacies of the Revolution and France recurrently reverted to this inheritance. Another legacy of the Revolution, which dominated until the Third Republic, was a kind of state imperium. Power institutionalized in the state was sometimes personified by a Caesar ruling in the name of the people, but not necessarily as their representative. An exemplar of enlightened autocracy, Napoleon was the first and foremost of these postrevolutionary figures. The bequests of autonomy and authority, more distinguishable in the abstract than in historical reality, were combined in Bonaparte, who proclaimed himself...

    • CHAPTER 5 The American Experience
      (pp. 138-172)

      July 4, 1788, was a good day for a parade in Philadelphia. Cloudy but rainless skies and a brisk southern wind brought relief from the clammy summer heat that usually engulfed the city, but the parade would have taken place even if the weather had made marching a sweaty chore. America’s largest city was celebrating two defining events of its young history, the twelfth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and ratification of the U.S. Constitution on June 21st when the last of nine states necessary for approval voted affirmatively. At dawn the peal of church bells sounded a counterpoint...

  6. PART III Conclusion

    • CHAPTER 6 The Argument
      (pp. 175-219)

      The record of the Jews and the nation from 1775 to 1815 reveals the secure possession of civic rights in the United States, and formal liberation within an uneasy and unequal political situation in France. These dissimilar outcomes bear out the Tocqueville-Hartz theory of American democracy. Validation in one respect, however, is insufficient corroboration; therefore, I now revisit the objections raised in chapter 1 to assess the more universal authenticity of consensus liberalism. The applicability of the Tocqueville-Hartz paradigm will now be subjected to a more rigorous test: Does it provide a coherent and relevant interpretation of the trajectory of...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Outcome
      (pp. 220-238)

      In 1989, Anne Sinclair, a television journalist, was chosen to represent Marianne, the female figure of republican France; there is nothing noteworthy in this selection except that Sinclair was Jewish. Five years before, a French public opinion survey reported that 94 percent of the respondents felt that Jews were “French people like all the rest.” Concurrent approval was recorded in America: Ninety-two percent of the respondents in a 1981 public opinion poll would let Jews into their neighborhoods, 73 percent would vote for a Jewish presidential candidate, and 66 percent would not object to their child marrying a Jew. Further...

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 239-284)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 285-295)