The 19th century saw the transition of a late feudal economy, regulated with privileges and based on a stratified society (nobility, commoners, serfs) to a capitalist economy, based on equality in front of the law. The ongoing Industrial Revolution threatened the existence of entire professions, while it opened up opportunities for those who were flexible and capable, such as the assimilated Jews.
The case of Austrian politician Karl Lueger may illustrate the (re-) emergence of anti-Semitism. In the 1860es and 1870es the Austrian craftsmen, accustomed to regulated market conditions (guild system) experienced an increasingly volatile market in which they had great difficulties to earn their living. Often, craftsmen were forced to borrow money from moneylenders, a good number of which were Jews. Many Jews were active in the Austrian liberal movement. Lueger, initially a liberal himself, associated the Jews with the rampant corruption and in 1882 became co-founder of the Anti-Semitic Party.

French philosopher Arthur de Gobineau in 1853-1855 published an essay on the inegality of human races; he established a ranking list of European races, of which he regarded the 'Nordic Race' the most pure and the 'Jewish Race' the least pure. His theory was later taken up by writers such as Paul de Lagarde, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Alfred Rosenberg, and abused by Nazi ideology and propaganda.

Anti-Semitism and Responses, from the Jewish Virtual Library
Article Anti-Semitism, from Jewish Encyclopedia
Article Karl Lueger, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Article Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, from Columbia Encyclopedia
Modern Anti-Semitism, from
Rise of Anti-Semitism, in Jewish Virtual History Tour : Vienna

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on October 31st 2003, last revised on November 16th 2004

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