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Beyond the PaleThe Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia$
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Benjamin Nathans

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520208308

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520208308.001.0001

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Jews and the Imperial Social Hierarchy

Jews and the Imperial Social Hierarchy

Chapter:
(p.22) (p.23) Chapter 1 Jews and the Imperial Social Hierarchy
Source:
Beyond the Pale
Author(s):

Benjamin Nathans

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520208308.003.0002

This chapter investigates Russia's regime of legal disabilities specifically aimed at its Jewish population when Jewish emancipation had swept from west to east across nearly the entire European continent. It observes that the Russian Jews in the decades before 1917, who were themselves victims of official discrimination, emphasized the distinctiveness of tsarist policy toward the Jews as compared to the treatment of the empire's other ethnic and religious groups, citing specifically anti-Jewish motives among ruling elites as the prime cause. It notes that recent studies treat the absence of civil and political rights for Jews within the context of a general absence of legal rights in Russia, and argue that Jewish emancipation as enacted in Europe across the long nineteenth century would have made little sense in a society lacking the principle of equality before the law, without denying the presence in the tsarist government of strongly negative attitudes toward Jews.

Keywords:   legal disabilities, Jewish emancipation, European continent, Russian Jews, official discrimination, tsarist policy, civil and political rights

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