History Supports Roth Scenario

Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, which I’m finally reading, presents an alternate history in which an increasingly anti-Semitic U.S. is governed during WWII by a Nazi sympathizer. One of my friends tried to convince me that Roth’s premise is implausible, but he’s wrong:

During the Civil War, the Union Army leader [General Ulysses S. Grant] issued an order expelling Jews from their homes, including 30 families in Paducah, Ky. . . . Jewish families in several towns and states were harassed and uprooted from their homes with only 24 hours’ notice.

The order “affected areas in western Tennessee, southern Illinois, northern Mississippi and far Western Kentucky.” It read:

The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.


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