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A distinguished constitutinal historian examines Jefferson's record on civil liberties and finds it strikingly wanting.
Posted June 28, 2000
This book, which first appeared in 1963, is essential reading for anyone who is interested in civil liberties, Thomas Jefferson, or the early American republic. To be sure, Jefferson, long acclaimed as the preeminent American philosopher of liberty, is the most eloquent defender of liberty in American literature ... but his record as a civil libertarian leaves a lot to be desired. Leonard W. Levy, one of the deans of American constitutional history, assessed Jefferson's actual record on such things as freedom of speech and press, due process, rights of the accused, intellectual freedom, and so forth -- always checking Jefferson's thoughts and deeds against standards of civil liberty that were available, even prevalent, in his own time. His book is a formidably researched and eloquent analysis of the many inconsistencies and hypocrisies in Jefferson's record.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.