Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech

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Cornell University Press, 1999 - History - 431 pages
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Jacob Abrams et al. v. United States is the landmark Supreme Court case in the definition of free speech. Although the 1918 conviction of four Russian Jewish anarchists—for distributing leaflets protesting America's intervention in the Russian revolution—was upheld, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's dissenting opinion (with Justice Louis Brandeis) concerning "clear and present danger" has proved the touchstone of almost all subsequent First Amendment theory and litigation.In Fighting Faiths, Richard Polenberg explores the causes and characters of this dramatic episode in American history. He traces the Jewish immigrant experience, the lives of the convicted anarchists before and after the trials, the careers of the major players in the court cases—men such as Holmes, defense attorney Harry Weinberger, Southern Judge Henry DeLamar Clayton, Jr., and the young J. Edgar Hoover—and the effects of this important case on present-day First Amendment rights.
 

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Fighting faiths: the Abrams case, the Supreme Court, and free speech

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No scholar has examined the 1919 Abrams caseabout denial of civil liberties during the Red scare afterWorld War Iin comparable depth and as subtly. Polenberg discusses the district and Supreme Court ... Read full review

Contents

A FAREWELL DINNER
1
The Immigrant Experience The World of Work Anarchism
36
THE ARRESTS
43
August 23 1918 Two Leaflets The Bomb Squad
75
THE TRIAL
82
War Fever John Reed and the Death of Jacob Schwartz
107
THE CONVICTION
118
THE SUPREME COURT
197
PRISON
285
the Work
300
Kate Richards OHare and Prison Reform
311
EXILE
323
Wilson the Political Prisoners and Amnesty Harding
352
A REUNION IN MEXICO CITY
360
MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS LOCATIONS
371
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
411

THE RESPONSE
243
Thinking Through the Subject The Trial of Zechariah
272

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About the author (1999)

Richard Polenberg is Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History Emeritus at Cornell University. He is the author of Hear My Sad Story: The True Tales That Inspired "Stagolee," "John Henry," and Other Traditional American Folk Songs and Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, The Supreme Court, and Free Speech, and is the editor of In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Security Clearance Hearing , all from Cornell.

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