The Treatment Of The Jewish Population Throughout History Essay

The Treatment Of The Jewish Population Throughout History Essay

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The point has been made in this course that the treatment of the Jewish population throughout history has had little to do with Jewish customs and traditions, and more to do with events happening in the Christian world. Jewish people moved (or were forcibly moved) back and forth across the board in British, and ultimately, European history as pawns for other players ' schemes.

It is possible that there were individual Jews living in England during Roman and Anglo-Saxon rule, but no records survive detailing their experiences. The first recorded appearance of Jewish people in England comes on the heels of the Norman Conquest in 1066 when William the Conqueror took control of the English throne, after killing the previous king, Harold (“William the Conqueror”). With most of the British Isle under his command, William I, “encouraged Jewish merchants and artisans from Northern France to move to England” (Schoenberg). Jewish communities began taking root in cities such as London, Bristol, and York. Most of the time, these communities existed as highly segregated areas in the large cities, resisting assimilation into general English, or rather, Norman culture. With sumptuary laws in place to ensure that no one dressed above his station, the Jews of England were forced to wear distinctive dress that proclaimed their religious affiliation.

The Catholic Church, viewed usury, or the lending of money with interest, to be a damning sin and prohibited Christians from earning an income in this fashion. As Jews did not have to oblige the rules set forth by the Catholic Church, Jews turned to money-lending to earn their livelihoods. Their high interest rates allowed them to rise to a higher standard of living and cultivate a measure of favor f...


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... the dress of political uniforms (Schoenberg).

After the Second World War, many Jews joined the emigration from city communities into the suburbs of England, where many can still be found in modern times.

The history of the Jews in England has largely been characterized by the actions of the Christians around them, rather than by their own actions. They are victims of circumstance, rather than villains with a sinister agenda as many depictions showed throughout history. Their precarious position within English society led first to wealth, then to harm. No matter what individuals did, it seemed that the society as a whole was largely of one unified opinion that depended on the feelings of the era, rather than the actual behavior of the Jewish population. It is a history of misunderstanding, slander, and uncertain futures that rely on the good will of those in power.

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