secluded in their ghettos for centuries, and had consequently acquired a physical and moral physiognomy differentiating them in a measure from their former oppressors. This peculiar physiognomy was, on its moral side, not essentially Jewish or even Semitic. It was an advanced development of the main attributes of civilized life, to which Christendom in its transition from feudalism had as yet only imperfectly adapted itself. The ghetto, which had been designed as a sort of quarantine to safeguard Christendom against the Jewish heresy, had in fact proved a storage chamber for a portion of the political and social forces which were destined to sweep away the last traces of feudalism from central Europe. In the ghetto, the pastoral Semite, who had been made a wanderer by the destruction of his nationality, was steadily trained, through centuries, to become an urban European, with all the parasitic activities of urban economics, and all the democratic tendencies of occidental industrialism. Excluded from the army, the land, the trade corporations and the artisan gilds, this quondam oriental peasant was gradually transformed into a commercial middleman and a practised dealer in money. Oppressed by the Church, and persecuted by the State, his theocratic and monarchical traditions lost their hold on his daily life, and he became saturated with a passionate devotion to the ideals of democratic politics. Finally, this former bucolic victim of Phoenician exploitation had his wits preternaturally sharpened, partly by the stress of his struggle for life, and partly by his being compelled in his urban seclusion to seek for recreation in literary exercises, chiefly the subtle dialectics of the Talmudists (Loeb, Juif de l'histoire; Jellinek, Der Jüdische Stamm). Thus, the Jew who emerged from the ghetto was no longer a Palestinian Semite, but an essentially modern European, who differed from his Christian fellow-countrymen only in the circumstances that his religion was of the older Semitic form, and that his physical type had become sharply defined through a slightly more rigid exclusiveness in the matter of marriages than that practised by Protestants and Roman Catholics (Andree, Volkskunde der Juden, p. 58).
Unfortunately, these distinctive elements, though not very serious in themselves, became strongly accentuated by concentration. Had it been possible to distribute the emancipated Jews uniformly throughout Christian society, as was the case with other emancipated religious denominations, there would have been no revival of the Jewish question. The Jews, however, through no fault of their own, belonged to only one class in European society—the industrial bourgeoisie. Into that class all their strength was thrown, and owing to their ghetto preparation, they rapidly took a leading place in it, politically and socially. When the mid-century revolutions made the bourgeoisie the ruling power in Europe, the semblance of a Hebrew domination presented itself. It was the exaggeration of this apparent domination, not by the bourgeoisie itself, but by its enemies among the vanquished reactionaries on the one hand, and by the extreme Radicals on the other, which created modern anti-Semitism as a political force.
The movement took its rise in Germany and Austria. Here the concentration of the Jews in one class of the population was aggravated by their excessive numbers. While in France the proportion to the total population was, in the early 'seventies, 0.14%, and in Italy, 0.12%, it was 1.22% in Germany, and 3.85% in Austria-Hungary; Berlin had 4.36% of Jews, and Vienna 6.62% (Andree, Volkskunde, pp. 287, 291, 294, 295). The activity of the Jews consequently manifested itself in a far more intense form in these countries than elsewhere. This was apparent even before the emancipations of 1848. Germany.Towards the middle of the 18th century, a limited number of wealthy Jews had been tolerated as Schutz-Juden outside the ghettos, and their sons, educated as Germans under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn and his school (see Jews), supplied a majority of the leading spirits of the revolutionary agitation. To this period belong the formidable names of Ludwig Börne (1786–1837), Heinrich Heine (1799–1854), Edward Ganz (1798–1839), Gabriel Riesser (1806–1863), Ferdinand Lassalle (1825–1864), Karl Marx (1818–1883), Moses Hess (1812–1875), Ignatz Kuranda (1811–1884), and Johann Jacobi (1805–1877). When the revolution was completed, and the Jews entered in a body the national life of Germany and Austria, they sustained this high average in all the intellectual branches of middle-class activity. Here again, owing to the accidents of their history, a further concentration became apparent. Their activity was almost exclusively intellectual. The bulk of them flocked to the financial and the distributive (as distinct from the productive) fields of industry to which they had been confined in the ghettos. The sharpened faculties of the younger generation at the same time carried everything before them in the schools, with the result that they soon crowded the professions, especially medicine, law and journalism (Nossig, Statistik des Jüd Stammes, pp. 33-37; Jacobs; Jew. Statistics, pp. 41-69). Thus the “Semitic domination,” as it was afterwards called, became every day more strongly accentuated. If it was a long time in exciting resentment and jealousy, the reason was that it was in no sense alien to the new conditions of the national life. The competition was a fair one. The Jews might be more successful than their Christian fellow-citizens, but it was in virtue of qualities which complied with the national standards of conduct. They were as law-abiding and patriotic as they were intelligent. Crime among them was far below the average (Nossig, p. 31). Their complete assimilation of the national spirit was brilliantly illustrated by the achievements in German literature, art and science of such men as Heinrich Heine and Berthold Auerbach (1812–1882), Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy) (1809–1847), and Jacob Meyerbeer (1794–1864), Karl Gustav Jacobi the mathematician (1804–1851), Gabriel Gustav Valentin the physiologist (1810–1883), and Moritz Lazarus (1824–1903) and Heymann Steinthal (1823–1899) the national psychologists. In politics, too, Edward Lasker (1829–1884) and Ludwig Bamberger (1823–1899) had shown how Jews could put their country before party, when, at the turning-point of German imperial history in 1866, they led the secession from the Fortschritts-Partei and founded the National Liberal party, which enabled Prince Bismarck to accomplish German unity. Even their financiers were not behind their Christian fellow-citizens in patriotism. Prince Bismarck himself confessed that the money for carrying on the 1866 campaign was obtained from the Jewish banker Bleichroeder, in face of the refusal of the money-market to support the war. Hence the voice of the old Jew-hatred—for in a weak way it was still occasionally heard in obscurantist corners—was shamed into silence, and it was only in the European twilight—in Russia and Rumania—and in lands where medievalism still lingered, such as northern Africa and Persia, that oppression and persecution continued to dog the steps of the Jews.
The signal for the change came in 1873, and was given unconsciously by one of the most distinguished Jews of his time, Edward Lasker, the gifted lieutenant of Bennigsen in the leadership of the National Liberal party. The unification of Germany in 1870, and the rapid payment of the enormous French war indemnity, had given an unprecedented impulse to industrial and financial activity throughout the empire. Money became cheap and speculation universal. A company mania set in which was favoured by the government, who granted railway and other concessions with a prodigal hand. The inevitable result of this state of things was first indicated by Jewish politicians and economists. On the 14th of January 1873, Edward Lasker called the attention of the Prussian diet to the dangers of the situation, while his colleague, Ludwig Bamberger, in an able article in the Preussischen Jahrbücher, condemned the policy which had permitted the milliards to glut the country instead of being paid on a plan which would have facilitated their gradual digestion by the economic machinery of the nation. Deeply impressed by the gravity of the impending crisis, Lasker instituted a searching inquiry, with the result that he discovered a series of grave company scandals in which financial promoters and aristocratic directors were chiefly involved. Undeterred by the fact that the leading spirit in these abuses, Bethel Henry Strousberg (1823–1884), was a Jew, Lasker presented the results of his inquiry to the diet on the 7th of February 1873, in a speech