web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Haym Solomon: Remembering a Founding Father on Independence Day

U.S. postage stamp honoring Haym Solomon.

U.S. postage stamp honoring Haym Solomon.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

You won’t find the name Haym Solomon in text books in your local elementary school. U.S. History classes at the finest universities rarely utter his name. But without the dedication of this Polish Jewish immigrant to the American Revolution, the Fourth of July would not be celebrated as Independence Day.

Born in Lesno, Poland in 1740, his parents were refugees, who escaped religious persecution in Portugal. As a young man he traveled extensively throughout Europe learning numerous languages and developing an extensive knowledge of currency and finance.

Through his family and personal experiences, Solomon understood the injustice of life under an oppressive government. He became acquainted with the American colonial struggle against taxation without representation when he came to New York in 1772.

Solomon started a brokerage company that would become very successful and bring him prominent clients loyal to the King of England. However when news surfaced regarding the fighting in Lexington and Concord, his own loyalty was with the colonists’ struggle. He would take up the cause of freedom, joining New York’s revolutionary Sons of Liberty.

Solomon put his life on the line numerous times for the cause.

First arrested in September 1776 with all known members of the Sons of Liberty, Solomon and his cohorts were blamed, and most likely rightfully so, for burning down nearly 500 homes the British planned to use to house their troops. During his time at the inhumane prison known as the “Old Sugar House,” he got pneumonia and almost died.

When he recovered, Solomon noticed that the Hessian prison guards who spoke German could not communicate with their British counterparts. He told the British he spoke the German language and became an interpreter. Under the watchful eye of the British, Solomon nevertheless used his language skills to convince over 500 guards to abandon the throne and join the colonists’ fight for Independence.

Solomon was paroled, but eventually arrested again and sentenced to death on charges of espionage. He was able to escape, and made his way to Philadelphia.

Solomon continued his business and was appointed by Congress as Postmaster to the French military as well as numerous allied-nation ministers. He enjoyed great success, and his financial skills and dedication to the cause brought him to the attention of Minister of Finance, Robert Morris.

Solomon started handling financial transactions for the Continental Congress. He used his network and contacts with other governments to raise money for the military effort and also gave personal loans to members of the new government so they could stay in Philadelphia and continue their work for the new nation.

Solomon’s most famous contribution came in August 1781. British General Charles Cornwallis was struggling in Yorktown against southern forces of the Continental Army. General George Washington needed to march his army to the coastal city to deliver the final blow against the King’s army. But Washington’s forces were near mutiny: Food and supplies had run out and congress had no money to make necessary purchases as well as pay the troops.

It is believed that Washington said to Robert Morris, “Send for Haym Solomon.”

Legend has it that word reached Solomon during “Kol Nidre” services at his Philadelphia synagogue Mikveh Israel on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day. Solomon, an observant Jew, nevertheless raised $20,000 ($425,000 today), and one version of the event has it that Solomon raised the crucial funds from his fellow congregants.

Now funded, thanks in large part to Solomon, Washington went on to win the final battle of the Revolutionary War.

History books don’t teach our children about Haym Solomon. But without his dedication to liberty and the American Revolution, tea might still be our national drink.

You can find a monument featuring Solomon with George Washington and Robert Morris in downtown Chicago along the river and Wacker Drive. A statue that bears his name can also be found in Los Angeles at Pan Pacific Park. But with these exceptions and the creation of a commemorative stamp in 1975, history and future generations won’t likely know about the priceless contribution of the first prominent Jewish American.

As we celebrate Independence Day and remember the American Revolution, names such as Washington, Franklin and Adams will come to mind. But this year, let’s add another name to our thoughts – a Founding Father whose dedication to the birth of our nation is just as great as the aforementioned patriots, and without his efforts, July 4 would be just another day we’d spend with our families playing cricket.

 

About the Author: Jason Stverak is president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

4 Comments (Click to Comment)

4 Responses to “Haym Solomon: Remembering a Founding Father on Independence Day”

  1. God bless him..he was a patriot

  2. God bless him..he was a patriot

  3. Is is any wonder Obama has it in for Jews.

  4. A great statesman for America. Everyone should know who he is and what he did for us.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
cease fire!
Ceasefire Talks Again
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

IDF soldier injured in Gaza is evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital.

The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

More Articles from Jason Stverak
U.S. postage stamp honoring Haym Solomon.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/haym-solomon-remembering-a-founding-father-on-independence-day/2014/07/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: