Solomon Etting

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Solomon Etting
Born 28 July 1764
Died 6 August 1847

Solomon Etting (28 July 1764 – 6 August 1847) was a merchant,[1] and politician of Jewish faith in Baltimore, Maryland. Before moving to Baltimore in 1791, Etting lived in York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[2]

Maryland banned non-Christians from holding office or practicing law. In 1797, Etting and his father-in-law Bernard Gratz petitioned to “be placed upon the same footing with other good citizens"[3] but were unsuccessful then, as well as in 1802 and 1824.[4] Another partner in the fight was Baltimore banker Jacob I. Cohen Jr.

Etting followed another Jewish immigrant, Jacob Henry, in the endeavor to attain public office. North Carolina denied public office to all non-Protestants, when in 1809, Henry made a speech which became famous, asserting his inalienable right to sit in the state’s House of Commons, and the House took his part.[5] Henry asked, "Will you drive from your shores and from the shelter of your constitution all who do not lay their oblations on the same altar, observe the same ritual, and subscribe to the same dogmas? If so, which among the various sects into which we are divided shall be the favored one?"[6]

Around 1820, there were about 4,000 Jews in the United States; only seven of the original 13 states recognized them politically.

In 1826, the "Jew Bill" finally passed, allowing members of the Jewish faith to hold public office upon swearing to a belief in "the doctrine of reward and punishment" rather than the generally required declaration of belief in Christianity.[7] Etting was then elected to the Baltimore City Council. At that time, the American Jewish population numbered 6,000.

Related links[edit]


  1. ^ "Etting, Solomon". American National Biography. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Solomon Etting (1764-1847), Biographical Series". Maryland State Archives. 
  3. ^ "December 13, 1791. Early State Records Online". Maryland State Archives. 
  4. ^ "Solomon Etting (1764-1847). Biographical Series". Maryland State Archives. 
  5. ^ Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p.365-366.
  6. ^ This was later used in a similar context in Congress in 2006. Alan Dershowitz (21 December 2006). "Swearing on the Koran". Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  7. ^ Wiernik, Peter (1912). History of the Jews in America: From the Period of the Discovery of the New World to the Present Time. New York: Jewish Press Publishing Company. p. 127.