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)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!