Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession

Benjamin Nathans

in Beyond the Pale

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780520208308
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931299 | DOI:
Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores the role of Jewish lawyers within the legal profession itself. It argues that as the best educated, best organized, and most Westernized profession, lawyers offer an important case study of the impact of Russia's imperial diversity on its embryonic civil society. It explains why the bar became a haven for Jews, and then explores the debates that culminated in 1889 in the ban on their admission. It observes that in contrast to quotas in institutions of higher education, restrictions on admission of Jews to the bar emerged from within the profession itself, reflecting broad anxieties that the social mobility unleashed by the Great Reforms—and more broadly by the process of modernization—was placing Russians at a decisive disadvantage in their own empire.

Keywords: Jewish lawyers; legal profession; bar; institutions of higher education; Great Reforms; Russians

Chapter.  11891 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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