7. The Role of the United States of America During the Birth-Pangs

Q. Let us turn our attention to the United States of America. During the crucial years before and after the Balfour Declaration, what was the response from America's presidents?

American presidents have a heritage of Christian appreciation of the Jewish legacy to the world, the Bible. The Puritans who came to America patterned their religious and secular lives after the Old Testament. The Hebrew language was taught at Harvard University from the year 1635 onward. President Lincoln revoked General Grant's order in 1862, that all Jews be expelled from the territories under his authority. President Ulysses S. Grant sought to intervene in 1869 in Rumania to restrain the anti-Jewish persecutions there. Successive presidents sought earnestly to check outrageous pogroms which began in Russia in 1881.

President Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), was disposed in favour of Zionism by his Presbyterian upbringing and the personal influence of Jewish Zionists in America: Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Justice Felix Frankfurter. In spite of considerable opposition to the Jewish homeland in Palestine, Wilson gave encouragement to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. In 1920 he gave his full support in favour of Jewish submissions at the Paris Peace Conference.

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