Tag Archives: Civil rights

Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

An outspoken participant in the civil rights movement, Roger Wilkins served as Assistant Attorney General during the Johnson administration. In 1972 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize along with Bernstein and Herblock for his coverage of Watergate. Yet this black man, who has served the United States so well, feels at times an unwelcome guest here.

In Jefferson's Pillow, Wilkins returns to America's beginnings and the founding fathers who preached and fought for freedom, even though they owned other human beings and legally denied them their humanity. He asserts that the mythic accounts of the American Revolution have ignored slavery and oversimplified history until the heroes, be they the founders or the slaves in their service, are denied any human complexity.
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The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, a protection of the ownership of firearms, has become the source of heated controversy in recent years. Learn about the Founders' views on this important freedom and their solutions for averting the plague of violence that has disrupted communications.

Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side

In the most controversial analysis ever written of the apostle of American liberty, the distinguished constitutional historian Leonard W. Levy examines Jefferson’s record on civil liberties and finds it strikingly wanting. Clearing away the saintliness that surrounds the hero, Mr. Levy tries to understand why the “unfamiliar” Jefferson supported loyalty oaths; countenanced internment camps for political suspects; drafted a bill of attainder; urged prosecutions for seditious libel; condoned military despotism; used the Army to enforce laws in time of peace; censored reading; chose professors for their political opinions; and endorsed the doctrine that means, however odious, are justified by ends. "Implicitly," Mr. Levy writes, "this book is a study of libertarian leadership in time of power and time of danger…Jefferson should be seen [by his biographers] as a whole man in the perspective of his times, but my task is to determine the validity of his historical reputation as the apostle of liberty." "Blunt words and blunt facts…an indispensable book."—Commentary.