By Aaron Welt
One hundred years ago, a Jewish, immigrant Socialist almost became New York's mayor. For months, detractors watched in horror as the candidate, Morris Hillquit, galvanized much of the city. In April of that tumultuous year, President Woodrow Wilson had reversed course, and bucked popular opinion, asking Congress for permission to send U.S. troops to fight in the "Great War." Hillquit’s campaign galvanized antiwar sentiment in New York. It was also a flash-point for ethno-religious politics in the city. Jewish New Yorkers, in particular, sparred over what Hillquit’s improbable run meant for America’s increasingly immigrant Jewish population. The Socialist lost the election, accruing about half as many votes as the winner, Tammany Democrat John Hylan. But his campaign was a turning point for many communities in New York, and continues to leave its mark on the city.
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