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Documents - Religion
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1.   Moses Mendelssohn, Reply to Johann Caspar Lavater (1769)
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) achieved fame and distinction as the father of the Jewish Haskalah....
2.   Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, Concerning the Amelioration of the Civil Status of the Jews (1781)
Christian Wilhelm von Dohm (1751-1820), who distinguished himself in Prussian diplomatic and other administrative service, achieved European fame with this essay, which greatly influenced the emergent....
3.   Edict on Religion by Johann Christoph von Wöllner, Prussian Minister of Justice and Head of Religious Affairs, cosigned by King Frederick William II, and various Ministers (July 9, 1788)
This combative document registered the anti-rationalist reaction that was gathering force in the late eighteenth century. At the same time, however, it also extended the principle of religious equality....
4.   Itzig Behrend, Chronicle of a Jewish Family in Hesse-Kassel, c. 1800-1815 (Retrospective Account)
Itzig Behrend (1766-1845) spent his whole life in Grove (Hesse-Kassel), a small rural community with a few Jewish families. The following family chronicle provides a wealth of information on marriages,....
5.   Jérôme [Hieronymus] Napoleon, King of Westphalia, "Decree Abolishing Fees Imposed on the Jews" (January 27, 1808)
In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte’s regime in France took a step backward from the French Revolution’s unconditional conferral, in 1791, of civil and religious equality upon the Jews. Nevertheless, his....
6.   Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden, "Legal Provisions Concerning the Jews in the Sixth Constitutional Edict" (June 4, 1808)
This first Jewish “emancipation decree” issued by a German government reflected the widespread German Enlightenment opinion that Jews should gain civil and religious equality in return for....
7.   Frederick William III, King of Prussia, "Edict Concerning the Civil Status of the Jews in the Prussian State" (March 11, 1812)
Prussian Jewish policy since 1750 distinguished between the legally protected propertied Jews and their merely tolerated co-religionists. Complicating the Prussian situation were the numerous Polish....
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