1957 February 8

Free Speech Scholar Zechariah Chafee, Jr., Dies

 

Zechariah Chafee was a Harvard Law School professor who made several important contributions to civil liberties. He wrote the first important book on freedom of speech in America (see Freedom of Speech, below). The book was published first in 1920 and then in a greatly expanded version with a different title, Free Speech in the United States in 1941. Both editions were extremely influential among legal scholars in shaping the debate over the meaning of the First Amendment.

Chafee was also one of the 12 prominent lawyers who issued a scathing report on the abuses perpetrated by the U.S. government during the 1919–1920 Red Scare, Illegal Practices of the United States Department of Justice, on May 28, 1920.

During the Cold War, Senator Joseph McCarthy once characterized Chafee as “dangerous” to the United States. Chafee was also one of three co-authors of the first national report on police brutality, the Wickersham Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement, released on August 10, 1931.

Read Chafee’s Classic Works: Freedom of Speech (1920); Free Speech in the United States (1941)

Learn more about Chafee: http://uscivilliberties.org/biography/3317-zechariah-chafee-jr-18851957.html

Read: Donald L. Smith, Zechariah Chafee, Defender of Law and Liberty (1984)

Read More: Edward D. Re, Freedom’s Prophet: Selected Writings of Zechariah Chafee, Jr., (1981)

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