Talk:Judah P. Benjamin

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Featured article Judah P. Benjamin is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Article in serious need of expansion[edit]

Benjamin was a fascinating and important figure who warrants a much fuller treatment than this article as it currently stands. The extended treatment of "alternate history" is rather overdone to say the least. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.16.41.200 (talk) 18:29, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

First Jewish Cabinet Member[edit]

If Benjamin was the first Jewish cabinet member in North America, I would guess it could be expanded to the Western Hemisphere, since I can't imagine a South American ountry before 1861 having a Jew in so high a position. Dynzmoar (talk) 16:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Stick to known facts, not speculation. Just use what is sourced.Parkwells (talk) 13:23, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

John S. Harris[edit]

Please see my question in the discussion on John T. Harris. How can the Benjamin article have Benjamin "Succeeded by" Harris while the Harris article has Harris "Preceded by" "Vacant"? The explanatory note is in both places, but the bodies per se of the tables need to be consistent. I recommend a comprehensive and consistent fix for all House and Senate positions which were interrupted by the American Civil War. Richard David Ramsey 18:39, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Benjamin's Papers[edit]

The New York Times recently ran an article about Benjamin's papers, which I added under References: Kahn, Eve M. (December 31, 2009). "Letters Reveal Doubts of Senator Judah Benjamin". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.  - Eastmain (talk) 22:39, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Hebrew Name[edit]

I just spoke with an ultra orthodox Jewish man named Yehuda Philip.

I looked him up on the internet, and instead found this Yehuda Philip... Since Judah P. Benjamin was Jewish, and the son of the first reform synagogue founder, I think it would be appropriate to add his Hebrew name in parenthesis: (Hebrew: Yehuda).

All Jewish men in those days, even 'Epicurean' Jews, would be given a traditional Hebrew name, during their circumcision, as is common with many Jewish men today. When called up to the Torah, on the Sabbath day, and twice a week, on Monday or Thursday, at the daily morning prayers, only the Hebrew name is used. For those who did not have a synagogue nearby, or who did not pray regularly, the name was used again during the wedding in the Ketubah, an official document of the groom's spiritual and financial commitment to his wife, and used again in divorce - which was rare in those days, and then again during burial, when the community (Kehilla) and burial committee (Hevra Kadisha) pray for his soul and ask forgiveness.

It is probable that Philip was his "General" name and Judah (pronounced Yooda, and which is short for Yehuda) was his "Jewish" or "Hebrew" name. Perhaps someone can help find documentation for this? I hereby call out to friends.

As a side-note, I have friends who's American parents emigrated to Israel, and decided to use the Hebrew names only, giving their children funny names on their US passports. Thus they have: Just Berkowitz (when asked again, he says: Yes, Just Berkowitz), Kalman Danger Berkowitz (my middle name is Danger) and Berkowitz Berkowitz. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 07:42, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

OK, Here's proof. The Jewish Virtual Library writes the tragic story of this man, and states as follows (my emphasis):
A solitary man, estranged from his wife, Benjamin died alone in England, and his daughter arranged to have him buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Until 1938, when the Paris chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy provided an inscription with his American name, his simple tombstone was engraved with the name “Philippe Benjamin”.
While Judah Benjamin "preferred such obscurity, his prominence as a Jew assured that he would come under harsh scrutiny", both during and after his life. For example, on the floor of the Senate Ben Wade of Ohio charged Benjamin with being an “Israelite in Egyptian clothing.” With characteristic eloquence, Benjamin replied, “It is true that I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were receiving their Ten Commandments from the immediate Deity, amidst the thundering and lightnings of Mt. Sinai, the ancestors of my opponent were herding swine in the forests of Great Britain.”
As is commonly written on some websites like the Halfbakery: nuff said. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 07:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
TRAGIC??? Umm... exactly what is it about this guy's story that you consider "tragic"? That his side lost the war? That he escaped retribution? That he made a fortune in England? There are any number of adjectives I can think of to apply to his life, but "tragic" wouldn't be one of them. Are you sure you know what the word means? It's not a synonym for selfish, craven, vicious, or avaricious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.65.214.125 (talk) 15:27, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
You should give the background to this vicious (not eloquent) remark. Wade was a fierce opponent of slavery. Benjamin, of course, supported and profited from the evil crime. Jews, according to the Bible, were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh (again, according to the Bible) was a slave owner (like Benjamin), but of Jewish slaves. The eloquence and devastating wit was all on the part of Wade. Benjamin was just being his typical race-supremacist self; as though "herding" Africans was somehow more noble than herding pigs. (And, of course, inventing history based on Biblical stories that we now know to be almost totally false.) Get a grip on yourself man; your distasteful agenda is showing. 'nuff said! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.65.214.125 (talk) 15:48, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I moved your remarks to their proper location. You should not intersperse remarks inside my reply. You can copy my words and then remark on them. AFTER my signature. Oh, and you can sign your name.
Thank you for alerting me to my wording. I'm willing to look at it again. Lets check if it can be called a tragic ending:
He was on the side of the slave owners. That is true, and even at one time owned a plantation with 140 slaves.
But your saying that Jews were central to slave trafficking needs a bit of discussion. The ship owners were mostly not Jews. The traders were mostly Christians, not Jews. The actual abductors were mostly Muslims aided by bands of local African bands. Again not Jews. Many if not most Jews opposed the slave trade. If you want to know, (and you can read my Hebrew writings in blogs and other places), I have studied the opposition to the Slave trade, in the Jewish tradition (Halacha, which is our interpretation of the Bible and of the Talmudic scriptures) and it is quite strong. We hold "Kana Lo Eved, Kana Lo Adon" - If you buy a slave, you buy yourself a master. This is because you must treat any slave humanely. (This was written at a time when slavery was prevalent). If you sleep on a bed, he must sleep on an equally comfortable bed, etc. OK but that wasn't the discussion. The discussion is not what "the Jews" think or do, but rather what Judah Philip did, and deserved.
I will be happy if you apologize for you words: "...Benjamin was just being his typical race-supremacist self;... " which probably is meant as a remark on all Jews.
Coming into power under that side, which was for slavery, he is documented as offering the slave's emancipation (in a way that would have a possible effect and actually happen). Because of that he was removed from office, only to be re-enstated as vice president, only BECAUSE he could NEVER actually become president - due to his being Jewish.
The same antisemitism with which he was accused by the Southerners for causing them to lose the war, was used by the Northerners to accuse him of plotting Lincoln's death. If he was not the cause for the loss of the south (funny, it seems you, like me, are against slavery, so why would you see that as a bad thing, but anyways) which he probably isn't, and if he had nothing to do with Lincoln's murder, which again he probably hadn't, then yes, it could still be seen as a tragedy. Granted, having a hand in the Southern slave-holding south, is a reason for dissociating oneself with that person. So in the bottom line, I am happy to agree with you and ask to recall my words, about him having a "tragic story". פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 12:40, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Slow down everyone. It appeared that Pashute was describing his opinion that Benjamin's life as tragic, not suggesting that term be used in the article. We don't have to argue about his opinion, but about making this article better. The only way that description could appear in the article is if it is cited from an RS; for instance, one of his biographers. As to the naming conventions, I think it is too speculative to add his Hebrew name in the article; you don't have a source that says he used it. You have said he was not Orthodox and it is not clear what his upbringing one. Just use the names that are documented: Judah and Philip. Also, the editor without a name said that Benjamin supported and profited from slavery (which is fact), nothing about any assertion that Jews were central to slave trafficking, so that does not need to be a topic of argument. Please keep to the topic of this article. Parkwells (talk) 13:33, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Father's birthplace[edit]

Someone had a cite from answer.com that his father Philip Benjamin was born in Nevis; but Judah Benjamin's biographer Evans (1989) said that both parents were born in London. I think this is the more reliable source. There was a large, mostly Sephardic community at that time in London, which developed from the 17th century.Parkwells (talk) 15:20, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Evans is not the most scholarly biographer. Let me review the sources and see what I can find.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:17, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Congrats on featured article[edit]

Good going!Parkwells (talk) 13:51, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I noticed that you added the reprint date to the Meade citation. I haven't seen the 2001 edition I worked from the 1943 are the pages the same?--Wehwalt (talk) 18:13, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
congrats for all the hard work being recognised! Mr Serjeant Buzfuz (talk) 13:32, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks on behalf of all who worked on the article including the reviewers.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:20, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Freeing the slaves in the lede section[edit]

Interesting article, nice work getting it to FA! That said, a question / concern. Disclaimer: I'm not personally familiar with the scholarship on Benjamin.

"To preserve the Confederacy as military defeat made its situation increasingly desperate, he advocated freeing and arming the slaves, but his proposals were not accepted until it was too late."

Is this really so relevant as to be mentioned in the lede? However, from looking at the relevant section, he's on record as opposing a plan to free the slaves in 1863, and seems to be in favor of freeing the slaves as a tactic to gain the recognition of Britain and France. How prominent was he in pushing this later, and do historians agree about his motives in doing so? (The burning of his papers doesn't help, I suppose.)

I'm just a tad skeptical because certain historical revisionists like to play up how if the South had won, then everything would have been perfect, see look at these out-of-context quotes about proposals to maybe free the slaves some day after the Negro race has matured some and is ready for it (the "gradual emancipation" proposal from Davis). If Benjamin really was a notable at-the-time proponent of immediate emancipation + recruitment, great, the bit in the lede should stay. But if it happened to be incidental promises as part of negotiation tactics with Britain & France, then this seems more like a historical curiosity that runs the risk of painting Benjamin in a "more enlightened" fashion then would really be warranted by modern mores. SnowFire (talk) 00:02, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

He gave a major speech in Richmond in early 1865 pushing the plan. I didn't go into details about the speech because I was fearing too much detail and that folks wanted to get on to his escape. I'd have to review my sources in greater detail to answer you more fully and I am away from home until Monday. I agree as to the risk of painting Benjamin as more enlightened than he was, after all, he did own a large number of slaves at one time. I found nothing beyond generalities as to how he treated them. As for "when you're mature enough", I never meant for that to be taken too seriously. There would always be the same objection to allowing much of the South's capital to walk out the door.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:26, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. I'll defer to you & your sources on it. Thanks for the reply (and definitely mention if you get the chance to re-check the sources later ;-) ). SnowFire (talk) 19:27, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I think you've made a valid point. So I've added "late in the war". If I recall Evans (the source I have at home, Meade is back at the library and Butler is online), it's going to be inconclusive.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:53, 25 July 2014 (UTC)