|Napoleon was the first leader in Europe to grant liberty, equality and fraternity to all religions. In this lithograph of the period, Napoleon is granting liberty to the Jews.|
Conference given at:
International Congress of the
|28th Consortium on|
Florida State University
March 7, 1998
THE TRUTH GOES THROUGH THREE STAGES:
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently attacked;
Finally, it is accepted as self-evident.
How Did Napoleon's Involvement With The Jews Come About?
"My primary desire was to liberate the Jews and make them full citizens. I wanted to confer upon them all the legal rights of equality, liberty and fraternity as was enjoyed by the Catholics and Protestants. It is my wish that the Jews be treated like brothers as if we were all part of Judaism. As an added benefit, I thought that this would bring to France many riches because the Jews are numerous and they would come in large numbers to our country where they would enjoy more privileges than in any other nation. Without the events of 1814, most of the Jews of Europe would have come to France where equality, fraternity and liberty awaited them and where they can serve the country like everyone else."
"My desire is to make Jews equal citizens in France, have a conciliation between their religion and their responsibilities in becoming French, and to answer all the accusations made against them. I want all people living in France to be equal citizens and benefit from our laws."
The Grand Sanhedrin, was the Supreme Assembly of the Jewish nation, and had not been reunited for 18 centuries. Napoleon had the idea of assembling the principal Jewish notables of all of Europe, in order to permit them to solve the problems that concerned him. Convened by decree on the 23rd of August 1806, the Grand Sanhedrin met from the 9th of February to the 9th of March 1807. At the time of their last reunion, Napoleon was proclaimed the modern "Cyrus." Napoleon was warmly and unanimously praised.