While honor is said to be the underlying
principle in an aristocracy and fear in a despotic monarchy, civic
virtue is fundamental in a republic. The citizen who is fully conscious
of his civic duties towards his government and his country, who is
willing to lay aside his personal interest for the greatest good of the
greatest number of his fellow citizens, is the citizen who preserves our
freedom and institutions, and so long as there is a majority of citizens
endowed with that sterling quality of civic virtue, so long there will
be no danger as to the stability of our republican institutions. Our
naturalized citizens, coming now as they do, mostly from countries where
either despotism or pretended "honor" is the basic principle of
government, very quickly, upon becoming citizens here, realize their new
responsibilities, which inspire them with loyalty to the country of
their adoption. They are grateful for the confidence reposed in them, in
giving them a share in the administration of our government.
To all of this, the Russian Jew is no exception. Having no civil rights
in Russia, he seizes the opportunity given him by our laws, and becomes
a citizen of the United States. No one can, on the average, be more
depended upon to vote rightly on all public questions than the Russian
Jew. Whereas the average naturalized citizen leaves behind him a country
where his race predominates, and to which he could return in safety in
case of adversity, the Russian Jew is not so situated. He comes here to
stay. To him this is almost the only country that offers relief and
The Russian Jew in America is well pleased with the freedom granted him
and has not looked to any considerable extent for public office as a
means for a livelihood or promotion. In the city of Chicago, and county
of Cook, with a Russian Jewish population of about 75,000 and comprising
not less than 18,000 voters, only a handful hold public offices, most of
them unimportant. An exception is that of Mr. Abel Davis, a Russian Jew,
who was elected recorder of deeds in the election of November, 1904. His
nomination was brought about by Russian Jewish Republican clubs. Mr.
Davis was a lieutenant in the Spanish-American war, and saw actual
service in Cuba. He was for one term a member of the Illinois
legislature. Other officials include deputy health inspector, deputy
clerks of the court and recorder, and assistant state's attorney.
There is good prospect that in the future the Russian Jews will
participate at the primary election of both parties; they will endeavor
to elect their own delegates.
The Russian Jews, as a whole, are for personal liberty in the fullest
sense of the word. Believing that the Democratic party can be more
trusted in safeguarding the personal liberty of the people, and fearing
a revival of the Blue Laws in Chicago, they generally vote the
Democratic ticket. This is not, however, the general rule in
congressional and presidential elections. The following is a table of
the votes in the Ninth Ward, the majority of which have been cast by
Russian Jews since the year 1900.1
City Election, April 4, 1899: For Mayor--Carter, Republican, 2316;
Harrison, Democrat, 3130; Altgeld, Independent, 750; Keroin,
Presidential Election, November 6th, 1900--McKinley, 3034; Bryan, 3591.
City Election, April 2, 1901: For Mayor--Henecy, 3088; Harrison, 3991.
Congressional and County Election, November 4, 1902: For State
Treasurer--Busze, Republican, 2853; Duddleson, Democrat, 2946.
At the city election, which took place on April 7th, 1903, Mayor
Harrison, Democrat, carried the ward by 1679 majority over Stewart,
At the election of November, 1902, a very notable event took place in
the 17th Senatorial District, largely populated by Russian Jews, when
Clarence S. Darrow, chief counsel for the miners' union before the
Anthracite Coal Commission at Philadelphia, was elected to the
legislature by a majority of 6000 on an independent ticket.
In the November, 1904, election, the most representative Russian Jewish
ward, the Ninth, was carried for Roosevelt by about 900 majority.
Socialism does not flourish to any considerable extent among the Russian
Jews in Chicago. Of all the Russian Jewish voters throughout the city
only about 500 cast Socialist votes.
The new generation of the Russian Jews will be the Jews of America. They
will lead in thought and morals. As to politics, I believe they will
safeguard the interests of. the people, and will have in time
considerable influence in the government of our country.
The Russian Jewish settlement embraces
the Ninth Ward, part of Tenth, part of Eleventh. part of Nineteenth.
Dart of Fourteenth. Fifteenth. Sixteenth.