The French Revolution Of Mendelssohn And Voltaire 's Natural Rights

751 Words Oct 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
Whereas France was the first European nation to Emancipate Jews, other Western countries such as Germany took much longer, yet drew on the same Enlightenment reasoning. After the Revolution of 1789, the newly elected French National Assembly welcomed Protestants as citizens, and in 1790 Sephardi Jews. In order to decide on full Jewish enfranchisement, France issued an essay contest through the Metz Royal Society of Arts and Sciences. (SOURCE) In 1789, Zalkind Hourwitz, originally a Polish Jew via Germany, settled in France submitting one of three winning essays, Apoligies de Juifs. (Source) Clearly influenced by Mendelssohn and Voltaire’s natural rights, Hourwitz unapologetically rejected any Emancipation contract predicated on Jewish regeneration. Hourwitz asserts, “Grant them the rights of citizenship and you will see that they are French just like all other subjects of the kingdom.” Unfortunately, Hourwitz 's support of his coreligionists right to dual identities as both Frenchmen and Jews did not repair his strained relationship with his own community. Hourwitz’s remained unreconciled and isolated from his coreligionist over his youthful split from traditional Judaism over his disdain for religious authority and his quest for secular knowledge. Personally, Hourwitz was not desirous of a dual identity; he viewed himself more a “man” than a Jew.
Hourwitz cleverly used the pen and press to make his defense of Jews and shame his opposition via various Parisian…

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