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David Levy Yulee is Elected to US Senate, 1845

#OTDJH: July 1st, 1845




David Levy Yulee becomes the first Jewish man elected to the US Senate. Yulee, represented the new state of Florida from 1845-1851 and from 1855-1861.


Yulee, a Jew of Sephardic descent, was born on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and possessed both Morrocan and Spanish descendancy - most likely a direct result of his family's exile from the Iberian region due to the Inquisition.


Unfortunately, but important to note, Yulee was also a supporter of slavery and Florida’s secession from the Union. He served a nine-month prison term at Fort Pulaski following the end of the Civil War for his part in aiding the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis’ escape.


In between his first and second stint in the US Senate, Yulee established a five thousand acre sugar cane plantation which was constructed and operated by slaves. While most of the plantation became a casualty of the Civil War, what remains was refashioned as the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site in Homosassa County Florida.



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