Antisemitism in the 19th century

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The development of nationalism allowed Jews to be patriotic about the country in which they lived. However, many of their non-Jewish fellow citizens still considered Jews to be outsiders.

The spread of ideas in the previous centuries had allowed many individuals to think for themselves. New ideas appeared about how society should exist. One such idea was communism. The founder of communism, Karl Marx, was of Jewish birth but was an atheist.

Some people, including Jews, saw communism as an ideal. They believed everyone would be treated fairly and religion wouldn’t matter any more.

Communism became popular amongst the working classes, who felt that they were exploited. The leaders of many communist groups were young Jews who were rebelling against their own religious backgrounds as well as seeking equality for all.

The majority of Jews were never communists, but the association with communism led to further antisemitism amongst people who saw it as dangerous to their way of life.

By the end of the 19th century, there had been waves of anti-Jewish feeling in France following the Dreyfus case. There were anti-Jewish riots in Russia and Poland leading to a great westwards migration of Jews from those countries.