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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author Healy, Thomas.
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author_additional Thomas Healy.
author_display Healy, Thomas
availability_toggle_catalog Available Now, Available Online, Entire Collection
available_at_catalog Bennett, Perl Mack, Wright Farms
bisac_subject BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Lawyers & Judges, HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
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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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edition First Edition., Unabridged.
era 1841-1935, 1886-1953, 20th Century, 20th century
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local_callnumber_catalog HISTORY US 20TH i
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (10hr., 21 min.)) : digital., 322 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
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publishDate 2013
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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
table_of_contents Prologue: an unexpected visit -- Train fever -- A smart chap -- The habit of intolerance -- Catspawned -- The old ewe and the half-bakes -- He shoots so quickly -- Defending sophistries -- Dangerous men -- They know not what they do -- The red summer -- Workers wake up! -- A plea for help -- Quasi in furore -- Adulation -- Alone at Laski -- Epilogue : I simply was ignorant.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title The great dissent : how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind--and changed the history of free speech in America
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_sort great dissent how oliver wendell holmes changed his mind and changed the history of free speech in america
title_sub how Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind--and changed the history of free speech in America
topic 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
topic_facet Abrams, J, Freedom of speech, History, Holmes, Oliver Wendell, LAW / Courts, Trials (Anarchy), Trials, litigation, etc