American Jewish History

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The study of history and historical writings is called historiography; American Jewish history is one form to study about the past of the American Jews. Jacob Rader Marcus and Hasia R. Diner are two historians who broke down American Jewish historiography according to their point of views. In “The Periodization of American Jewish History,” Marcus focuses on four periods of American Jewish history. On the other hand, in “The Study of American Jewish History: in the Academy, in the Community,” Diner discusses many dates celebrate and urge the study of American Jewish history. Marcus and Diner both approach with historical information; however, Marcus approaches historiography through specific, cultural eras while Diner briefly summarizes American Jewish history through dates. Marcus and Diner summarize the emergence of American Jewish history, however, one uses particular blocks of time while the other brings general situations and their dates.

Jacob Rader Marcus breaks down American Jewish history into four cultural periods - Sephardic, Dutch, Eastern European, and American. The Sephardic period is furthermore broken down into the Colonial period which then becomes the Dutch era and English phase. The Dutch era (1654-1664) is known for the bigotry of the Stuyvesant “party” who wished to expel the Jews from America and deny them their rights. During the English phase (1664-1776), however, the British mercantilists gave the Jewish people some rights. Next came the Early National Period that ranged from 1776-1840. At this period, America was under the control of a new government and the Jews, for the first time, began to receive full political rights. From the year 1841-1920, the German period began when a German colleague joined ...

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... wrote papers on American Jewish history, which later became books and the first step to forming scholarly literature on the subject. By the 1980’s, American Jewish history was considered its own topic. Yet, American Jewish history is considered only a minor part of American history. Starting in the 1970’s, American Jewish history has entered the “halls of ivy,” and has offered universities to pay for the educating of American Jewish history. Furthermore, in the last decade, donors have offered schools money to teach about Israel. Celebrations were held around the country in 2004 and 2005 to celebrate the 350 years of American Jewish settlement. The celebrations gave American Jewish historians a chance to share with the world a piece of their knowledge. They discussed the importance of American Jewish history and that it should be taught more around the country.
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