the Jews themselves. In Germany, for example, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, rabbinical conferences would set as an agenda reforming the practices of Judaism in order to insure compatibility with citizenship in a modern nation state.
Twenty-five months of agitation, discussion, debate, and adjournment finally ended on 27 September 1791. (A year and a half earlier, on 28 January 1790, the Assembly had permitted the Sephardic Jews to continue to enjoy the rights they had previously enjoyed, including active citizenship.) Arguing that freedom of religion permitted no distinction in the political rights of citizens because of their faith, Adrien Duport once again specifically included the Jews: 'I believe that the Jews cannot be the only ones excepted from the enjoyment of these rights when pagans, Turks, Muslims, even Chinese, in a word men of all religions, are admitted'. This time those present (many deputies who would have objected having long since emigrated) tacitly agreed that to speak against Duport's proposal was to fight the Constitution itself.
A commitment to France, to the ideals of the Revolution and to the Constitution had led the revolutionaries to acknowledge the Jews as fellow citizens. They had done so, however, by granting citizenship to 'individuals of the Jewish persuasion', thus addressing neither the contested nature of Jewish existence in the ancien régime nor the definition of Judaism as more than a set of religious beliefs.35 Not until 1806, when Napoleon convened the Assembly of Jewish Notables would these issues be confronted. In the meantime, as liberty trees were planted and ghetto walls crumbled, the French armies extended emancipation to the Jews of Italy, Holland, Belgium, and southern Germany. Since Prussia had included among its reforms a decree emancipating its Jews, and Britain had quietly permitted significant social and economic integration, only those Jews residing in the Habsburg Empire were unaffected.
With Napoleon's defeat, however, came a setback to Jewish emancipation. Restrictions were restored, and Jewish disabilities revived. In some instances, for example in Rome, the Jews were once again confined to ghettos. Although the Treaty ofVienna assured the Jews enjoyment ofall rights accorded to them 'in' the several German states, a last-minute shift to the preposition 'by' left only the Jews of Prussia with these rights. Hostility to the Enlightenment, to Napoleon, and to religious scepticism fed traditional religious enmities and provided additional justification for excluding the Jews.
Ironically, however, it was not the defeat of Napoleon but Napoleon himself who eroded the rights of the Jews in France. On 17 March 1808, he approved a series of three decrees. While the first two assured them an official consistorial organization somewhat comparable to that ofthe Protestants, the third, known
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