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Debate in the Parliament of the Duchy of Nassau on a Motion for the Complete Emancipation of the Jews in the Duchy (1846)

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evil attitude that is spread against them. It may be that, in earlier times, this was appropriate for a certain educational class among the Jews as among the Christians. In our century, thank God, the great majority in all religious confessions is at an entirely different level. A regulation like this insults the legislation that allows it, much more so than the Jews that it affects. There was once a Jew tax, a human customs duty, so to speak, taxable religious opinion. This tax was abolished, whereas now they pay the business tax, as we do, in addition to their onerous church tax. Thus, for example, the innkeeper Simon Cahn in Soden pays 54 guilders alone in church taxes, and yet [there is] no equality! One was always in favor of having the Jews pay the same taxes, but not for them enjoying the same citizenship rights. Less insulting but hardly easier to justify are other restrictions affecting them. Thus, for example, a Jew is allowed to be a physician among us, but not a pharmacist. He may prescribe medications, but not sell them. He is permitted to engage in commerce, but is forbidden from dealing in spices. The inconsistency is obvious. These kinds of regulations exist just because they exist. It would be impossible for a new law to uphold them. The Jews have been added to the civil communities of Nassau, insofar as they, for the last two years, have been contributing to the special local community funds according to a government decree. Nevertheless, while they were invited to the last local community elections in Wiesbaden, they were not admitted. That invitation, it was said, was based on an error. In accordance with reasonable legal concepts, the exclusion was an error. Our government has, by applying these special taxes to them, also acknowledged their right to have a say in local community matters, to help vote for local community offices, and to be elected. Hopefully, the government will have no reservations about pronouncing this in law. Indeed, in Prussia, where political citizenship rights are still withheld from them, they are nonetheless admitted to municipal offices and votin. [ . . . ] (Remarks about conditions in Württemberg and France follow here.) When, therefore, the three neighboring countries mentioned, when here in Germany Hesse-Cassel [Kurhessen or Electoral Hesse] granted the Jews complete political citizenship rights, when they have made it into every branch of the civil service in Württemberg, and in Baden at least into some branches, [when they] can be elected as representatives in the state parliament in Braunschweig [Brunswick], and when the result everywhere has been beneficial and nowhere disadvantageous, when the Prussian Rhinelands at last year's provincial estates interceded with a large majority and warm conviction on behalf of complete equality for the Jews with the Christians, then it would surely be unjust if our Nassau were to lag behind. It would be unforgivable if the government would continue, as is now the case, to be legally prohibited from assigning the smallest office, the lowliest government service, to a man it finds qualified if he has incidentally been born to Jewish parents and is honest enough not to want to profess Christianity outwardly so long as he is not inwardly persuaded by it. Indeed, our enlightened government itself has de facto

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