In a country founded on the principle of religious freedom, with no medieval past, no legal nobility, and no national church, how did anti-Semitism become a presence here? Frederic Cople Jaher considers this question in A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness, the first history of American anti-Semitism from its origins in the ancient world to its first widespread outbreak during the Civil War. Comprehensive in approach, the book combines psychological, sociological, economic, cultural, anthropological, and historical interpretation to reveal the rise and nature of anti-Semitism in the United States.
To find evidence of serious anti-Semitism in America for much of the time Jews have lived here, you need to put on knee pads and go searching in the nooks and crannies of history. Frederic Cople Jaher has searched strenuously, beginning with the first Jews to arrive in 1654...His writing has a pleasingly solid feel to it, packing in fact after fact.
Frederic Cople Jaher was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.