The Great Dissent

Aired: February 22, 2015


No right seems more fundamental to American 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. In this episode Seton Hall law professor Thomas Healy discuss his book The Great Dissent, winner of the 2014 New Jersey Council for the Humanities Book of the Year Award, which reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes’s journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero.

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