Julius Kahn (congressman)

Julius Kahn (February 28, 1861 – December 18, 1924) was a United States Congressman who was succeeded by his wife Florence Prag Kahn after his death. He has been described by the American Jerusalem as "among the most influential Jews in San Francisco—as well as national–civic life, from the middle of the 19th century into the 1930s".[1]

Julius Kahn
KAHN, JULIUS. HONORABLE LCCN2016856284 (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1903
Preceded byJames G. Maguire
Succeeded byEdward J. Livernash
In office
March 4, 1905 – December 18, 1924
Preceded byEdward J. Livernash
Succeeded byFlorence Prag Kahn
Personal details
Born(1861-02-28)February 28, 1861
Kuppenheim, Germany
DiedDecember 18, 1924(1924-12-18) (aged 63)
San Francisco, California
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Florence Prag Kahn


Kahn was born in Kuppenheim, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, in what would become Germany. He immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in California in 1866. After studying law in San Francisco, he was elected a member of the State Assembly in 1892 and admitted to the bar in January 1894. He was elected as a Republican to the 56th and 57th Congresses (March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1903). Although he unsuccessfully contested the election of Edward J. Livernash to the 58th Congress, he was elected to the 59th and to the nine succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1905 until his death in 1924.

During his time in the House of Representatives he was noted as an advocate of military preparedness. He helped draft and secure the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916, the Selective Service Act of 1917, and the National Defense Act of 1920. He served as chairman of Committee on Military Affairs (66th–68th Congresses). Representative Kahn also authored the Kahn Exclusion Act, ultimately enacted as the Alien Exclusion Act, telling Congress that "I submit if the Chinese people themselves would deal honestly with us, and if they resorted less to trickery and duplicity to circumvent our laws, then there would be no need of closing up all possible loopholes in the law with the seemingly severely restrictive measures that the Chinese themselves make necessary."[2]

At the time of his death, he had been re-elected to the 69th Congress. His wife, Florence Prag Kahn, succeeded him in Congress and served until 1937. He was buried in the Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma, California. A well-known playground and adjacent ballpark in San Francisco was named in his honor; in 2018, it was proposed to strip his name from the playground due to the fact that he championed the extension of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1902 which he justified by stating that the Chinese people were "morally, the most debased people on the face of the earth."[3]

Source materialsEdit

The Western Jewish History Center, of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, in Berkeley, California has a large collection of family papers, documents, correspondence, and photographs relating to Julius Kahn and to his wife, Florence Prag Kahn.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Kahn and Prag Families". American Jerusalem. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  2. ^ Gold, Martin B. (2012). Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress. United States of America: The Capitol Net Inc. p. 393. ISBN 978-1-58733-257-9.
  3. ^ Eskenazi, Joe (May 4, 2018). "Name of anti-Chinese SF Jew may be stripped from playground". Jewish News of Northern California.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by California State Assemblyman, 39th District
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by