Our problems remain epistemological.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

On Jacob Henry and 1809

 This is how my most recent article ends:

So why did [Jacob Henry] do it? We can only guess. Henry wanted to smooth things over; he wanted to fit in; he probably thought no one would notice. What followed were consequences he did not plan, and what he came to stand for in the popular mind may have been principles to which he did not subscribe. The service he did his country through the popular reimagination of November 20, 1809 was not of his own making.

By the 1820 census, Henry had migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, and established connections with its relatively large and affluent, by New World standards, Jewish community. One guesses that among them, Henry would find some comfort—among his coreligionists and the descendants of Marranos, and other crypto-Jews. He could enjoy basking in their and others’ pleasant admiration, and they would not ask too many uncomfortable questions.

As few have since.

Dublin, on the Liffey, 16 Adar 5781


From: Seth Barrett Tillman, What Oath (if any) did Jacob Henry take in 1809?: Deconstructing the Historical Myths, 61(4) Am. J. Legal Hist. 349–384 (2021) (footnotes omitted) (peer review), <https://tinyurl.com/3etu53m3>, <https://ssrn.com/abstract=3790115>.

Seth Barrett Tillman, On Jacob Henry and 1809,’ New Reform Club (Mar. 17, 2022, 1:56 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2022/03/on-jacob-henry-and-1809.html>.

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