The great dissent: how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind--and changed the history of free speech in America

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Pub. Date:
2013
Language:
English
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No right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech. Yet well into the twentieth century, that freedom was still an unfulfilled promise, with Americans regularly imprisoned merely for speaking out against government policies. Indeed, free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one's political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. Why did Holmes change his mind? That question has puzzled historians for almost a century. Now, with the aid of newly discovered letters and confidential memos, law professor Thomas Healy reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes's journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero. It is the story of a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking-and a deeply touching human narrative of an old man saved from loneliness and despair by a few unlikely young friends. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, The Great Dissent is intellectual history at its best, revealing how free debate can alter the life of a man and the legal landscape of an entire nation.
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ISBN:
9780805094565
9781452696164
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full_title great dissent how oliver wendell holmes changed his mind and changed the history of free speech in a
author healy thomas
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-07-13 01:57:12AM

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auth_author2 Campbell, Danny.
author Healy, Thomas.
author2-role Campbell, Danny., hoopla digital.
author_display Healy, Thomas
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display_description No right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech. Yet well into the twentieth century, that freedom was still an unfulfilled promise, with Americans regularly imprisoned merely for speaking out against government policies. Indeed, free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one's political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. Why did Holmes change his mind? That question has puzzled historians for almost a century. Now, with the aid of newly discovered letters and confidential memos, law professor Thomas Healy reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes's journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero. It is the story of a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking-and a deeply touching human narrative of an old man saved from loneliness and despair by a few unlikely young friends. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, The Great Dissent is intellectual history at its best, revealing how free debate can alter the life of a man and the legal landscape of an entire nation.
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subject_facet Abrams, J., -- 1886-1953 -- Trials, litigation, etc, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Lawyers & Judges, Freedom of speech -- United States, HISTORY / United States / 20th Century, Holmes, Oliver Wendell, -- 1841-1935, Holmes, Oliver Wendell, -- Jr., -- 1841-1935, LAW / Courts, Trials (Anarchy) -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th Century, Trials (Anarchy) -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century
title_display The great dissent : how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind and changed the history of free speech in America
title_full The great dissent : how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind and changed the history of free speech in America / Thomas Healy, The great dissent : how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind--and changed the history of free speech in America [electronic resource] / Thomas Healy
title_short The great dissent :
title_sub how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind--and changed the history of free speech in America
topic_facet Abrams, J, Freedom of speech, History, Holmes, Oliver Wendell, LAW / Courts, Trials (Anarchy), Trials, litigation, etc