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Initiating the historic Maryland Jew Bill...



Item # 647602

December 19, 1818

NILES' WEEKLY REGISTER, Baltimore, Dec. 19, 1818  Inside has a brief yet notable item with a small head: "Maryland Legislature" which includes in part: "...A committee was appointed to bring in a bill to extend the same civil privileges to persons professing the Jewish religion as are enjoyed by those of any other religious sect..." (see). This would ultimately come to pass, known as the Maryland Jew Bill.
As a bit of history, In 1776 Maryland's constitution safely protected "...all persons professing the Christian religion..." yet said nothing at all for those of other beliefs. It was a fact not widely known among other Americans that in the State of Maryland, and in Maryland alone, a citizen professing the Jewish religion could not hold any office, civil or military. In 1797 Solomon Etting, Baltimore leader and representative Jewish figure, along with other prominent Jews petitioned the Maryland Assembly to address this prejudicial issue and secure equal rights for Jews. The petition was well received but ultimately rejected. Year after year as it was presented and turned down new advocates were enlisted including influential Gentiles. In 1818 Judge H. M. Brackenridge and others began a vigorous battle to right this wrong. The legislation ultimately to be known as "The Jew Bill" was enfranchised in 1825 and confirmed the following year.
Also in this issue are 9 pages of text on the: "Seminole War" which includes considerable details & includes 5 letters signed in type: J.C. Calhoun. Reporting on the "Seminole War" continues in the 8 page "Supplement" issue included here, with 7 lengthy letters signed in type: Andrew Jackson.
Complete in 24 pages with the "Supplement" issue, 6 1/4 by 9 1/2 inches, lite scattered foxing, otherwise in very good condition.

This small size newspaper began in 1811 and was a prime source for national political news of the first half of the 19th century. As noted in Wikipedia, this title: "...(was) one of the most widely-circulated magazines in the United States...Devoted primarily to politics...considered an important source for the history of the period."

Category: Pre-Civil War

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