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Using the usual formulas of religious invective ― he called the Jews 'repugnant,' 'deceitful,' and 'enemies and blasphemers of Christ' ― Stuyvesant recommended to his directors...'to require them in a friendly way to depart.'" By 1776 and the War of Independence, there were an estimated 2,000 (mostly Sephardic) Jews (men, women and children) living in America, yet their contribution to the cause was significant.In fact, so many Jewish conversos came to Mexico that the Spanish made a rule precluding anyone who could not prove Catholic ancestry for four generations back from migrating there.Needless to say, the Inquisition soon followed to make sure these Jewish conversos were not really heretics, and burnings at the stake became a regular feature of life in Mexico City.The earliest legislation of the colonies of New England was all determined by Scripture.
To them, England was Egypt, the king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean was the Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites.Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania taught courses in Hebrew ― all the more remarkable because no university in England at the time offered it.(In America, Bible study and Hebrew were course requirements in virtually all these colleges and students had the option of delivering commencement speeches in either Hebrew, Latin or Greek.)(2) Many of the population, including a significant number of the Founding Fathers of America, were products of these American Universities ― for example, Thomas Jefferson attended William and Mary, James Madison Princeton, Alexander Hamilton King's College (i.e. Thus, we can be sure that a majority of these political leaders were not only well acquainted with the contents of both the New and Old Testaments, but also had some working knowledge of Hebrew.We see them adopting the biblical motifs of the Puritans for political reasons.
For example, the struggle of the ancient Hebrews against the wicked Pharaoh came to embody the struggle of the colonists against English tyranny.
The Hebrew Bible also played a central role in the founding of various educational institutions including Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Rutgers, Princeton, Brown, Kings College (later to be known as Columbia), Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth etc.