A crack in the wall that kept Jews from office

“[By 1840] only North Carolina in the South did not grant civil equality [to Jews] and it would not do so until 1868, though efforts to remedy this were made in the 1850s. In practice, however, Jews could be elected to office, as was Jacob Henry to the House of Commons in 1808, because almost no one cared to enforce the exclusion.

“In this, the Jewish case in North Carolina was similar to that of Roman Catholics, who were to gain legal equality only in 1835 but had served before then, by a nod and a wink.”

– FromConjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860″ by Michael O’Brien (2004)

Apparently no such restrictions ever impaired Jews’ eligibility to pay taxes.

 

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