Anglo-Jewish Opinion During the Struggle for Emancipation (1828-1858)1


It was not hardship which led the Jews of England to demand their civil emancipation. Nor was the immediate occasion for initiating the struggle a specifically Jewish issue. The Jewish leaders, centring on the Board of Deputies, hoped that the Act of 1828, which relieved Protestant Dissenters and Roman Catholics from certain old restrictions, would automatically relieve the Jews as well. Their efforts in aid of that Bill formed the beginning of the struggle for Jewish emancipation. To their dismay the House of Lords introduced into the measure a deliberate demarcation between Christian dissenting bodies and Jews, so that the Jews were worse off than before. In this situation the Jewish emancipationists opened an independent Jewish campaign. The further relief of the Roman Catholics in 1829 strengthened their resolve. The Board, informal, exclusive, and limited to the major metropolitan synagogues, derived its strength from the personal standing of its

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