" David Levy Yulee is known in the United States as the first Jew to serve as senator. But in Morocco, he is the descendent of a renowned Jewish family that gained respect within the Moroccan Jewish community and served the royal court during the 18th century. "
David Levy Yulee was the first American senator of Jewish descent. Born in the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, the story of this American politician has exciting details to it that cross the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Morocco.
David Levy Yulee is the descendent of the Ibn Yulis, a Sephardi family that had a prosperous life in Morocco, serving the royal palace during the 18th century. While he was known in the United States and in Florida in particular as a congressman and attorney, David Levy Yulee’s career is just another chapter of his family’s history.
https://esefarad.com/the-first-jew-elected-to-the-united-states-senate-was-of-moroccan-descent-more-https-en-yabiladi-com-articles-details-86097-first-elected-united-states-senate-html/ He was of Sephardic Jewish descent and later became the first Jewish member of the United States Senate.
David Levy Yulee's major historical significance lies in his role in Florida's development during the 19th century. He moved to Florida in the 1830s and became involved in various business ventures, including the development of railroads. He played a crucial role in establishing the Florida Railroad, which connected the eastern and western coasts of the state.
In 1845, Yulee was elected as Florida's territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress. He later became a U.S. Senator from Florida, serving from 1845 to 1851 and again from 1855 to 1861. He was the first person of Jewish heritage to serve in the Senate.
During his time in the Senate, Yulee supported the expansion of railroads in Florida and was an advocate for the state's economic development. However, his political career was ultimately impacted by the American Civil War. As Florida seceded from the Union in 1861, Yulee resigned from the Senate and sided with the Confederacy.
David Levy Yulee was indeed a slave owner. Like many individuals in the Southern United States during that time, Yulee owned enslaved individuals.
Yulee's family was involved in plantation agriculture, particularly in growing and harvesting sugarcane. They owned large plantations in Florida, including the Homosassa Springs Plantation in Citrus County and the Cottonwood Plantation in Levy County. These plantations relied on the labor of enslaved people.