Thomas Healy

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How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed Free Speech in America

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thomas Healy reveals how the Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes became a free‑speech advocate and established the modern understanding of the First Amendment. A lifelong skeptic, Holmes disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one’s political views, but in 1919, he wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America is a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking.

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