Mark Twain… on the Jews…

January 3, 2011 by  
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We recently discovered an issue of Harper’s Monthly from September, 1899 which has a lengthy article by Mark Twain regarding Jews.  While he is often viewed as America’s greatest writer, few are aware of his ongoing defense of minorities within the U.S., including Jews, Blacks, Native Americans, along with other minority groups. To kick off the new year on an upbeat, but challenging note, we invite you to view the text of “Concerning the Jews“, by Mark Twain.  As we reflect on the 100+ years since this was written, it appears that many have heeded his words – a tribute to the melting pot potential of the citizens of the United States.

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2 Responses to “Mark Twain… on the Jews…”

  1. Morris on January 5th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Mr. Twain’s skills at writing, and his eloquence, are certainly admirable.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire essay. Thank you.

    The essay he wrote, though, does illustrate that even the great among us can get it wrong.

    Mr. Twain’s reference to lack of military service, and his retraction, is but one honest example of getting it wrong.

    From my perspective Mr. Twain provided well thought and well written ‘excuses’ for anti-Semitism, but missed the fundamental issue of its ‘cause.’

    Nevertheless, it would be quite a treasure to own this newspaper. I deeply appreciate your sharing it with us. This is but one example of the gems that can be found in a newspaper.


  2. GuyHeilenman on January 6th, 2011 9:20 am

    Thanks Morris. I struggled a bit with the decision to write the initial post – due to the ethnic/religiously charged nature of his comments. Our desire is to never offend and there is always a danger of offense being taken if such content is not read in the proper light. Another collector privately warned me of the potential problem I might have with some of Twain’s comments toward Christians. To the contrary, I was challenged by his “rebuke” and thankful for the relational progress made (between the Jewish and Christian communities) since his writing. Thanks again for your comments.

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