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Distant Heritage: The Growth of Free Speech in Early America

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"The book constitutes a good contribution to our professional knowledge, and it is a must reading"

—Law and Politics Book Review

"Anyone who has not read A Distant Heritage cannot know the history of freedom of speech. This splendid book, based on excellent research, fills a void on the subject of seditious utterance and is a valuable corrective, as well as a substantial addition to, all previous works touching that subject."

—Leonard W. Levy

"A remarkably clear, concise history . . . Eldridge has provided impressive documentation of an often misunderstood, and vitally important, aspect of American History."

William and Mary Quarterly

"Larry Eldrige's superb scholarship greatly expands our knowledge of how free speech took root in the American colonies. This exceptional book offers both engaging reading and new insights into the development of a fundamental right. "

—Jeffery A. Smith, University of Iowa, author of Printers and Press Freedom

"Larry Eldridge has crafted a major reinterpretation of the expansion of political speech in the American colonies. What is especially impressive is Eldridge's ability to find support for his thesis in both the growing stability of colonial society and the powerful upheavals that convulsed it. This is an original, provocative, and penetrating contribution to the literature on freedom of speech, in the colonial or any other era."

—Kermit L. Hall

Dean, Henry Kendall College of ArtsandSciences and Professor of History and Law,

The University of Tulsa

"With A Distant Heritage, Larry Eldridge joins a handful of scholars probing a most important aspect of our free speech heritage. . . Eldridge provides vital pieces to the puzzle of how American earned the right to speak their minds. With meticulous attention to detail, Eldridge traces the seventeenth century development of free speech in colonial America, a process that opened the way for citizens to criticize their government and that established the foundation for both revolution and growth in freedom of speech for generations to come."

—Margaret A. Blanchard

Author of Revolutionary Sparks: Freedom of Expression in Modern America

Historians often rely on a handful of unusual cases to illustrate the absence of free speech in the colonies--such as that of Richard Barnes, who had his arms broken and a hole bored through his tongue for seditious words against the governor of Virginia. In this definitive and accessible work, Larry Eldridge convincingly debunks this view by revealing surprising evidence of free speech in early America.

Using the court records of every American colony that existed before 1700 and an analysis of over 1,200 seditious speech cases sifted from those records, A Distant Heritage shows how colonists experienced a dramatic expansion during the seventeenth century of their freedom to criticize government and its officials. Exploring important changes in the roles of juries and appeals, the nature of prosecution and punishment, and the pattern of growing leniency, Eldridge also shows us why this expansion occurred when it did. He concludes that the ironic combination of tumult and destabilization on the one hand, and steady growth and development on the other, made colonists more willing to criticize authority openly and officials less able to prevent it. That, in turn, established a foundation for the more celebrated flowering of colonial dissent against English authority in the eighteenth century.

Steeped in primary sources and richly narrated, this is an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in legal history, colonial America, or the birth of free speech in the United States.

Synopsis:

Sororities are often thought of as exclusive clubs for socially inclined college students, but Bound by a Mighty Vow, a history of the women's Greek system, demonstrates that these organizations have always served more serious purposes. Diana Turk explores the founding and development of the earliest sororities (then called women's fraternities) and explains how these groups served as support networks to help the first female collegians succeed in the hostile world of nineteenth century higher education.

Turk goes on to look at how and in what ways sororities changed over time. While the first generation focused primarily on schoolwork, later Greek sisters used their fraternity connections to ensure social status, gain access to jobs and job training, and secure financial and emotional support as they negotiated life in turn-of-the-century America. The costs they paid were conformity to certain tightly prescribed beliefs of how "ideal" fraternity women should act and what "ideal" fraternity women should do.

Drawing on primary source documents written and preserved by the fraternity women themselves, as well as on oral history interviews conducted with fraternity officers and alumnae members, Bound by a Mighty Vow uncovers the intricate history of these early women's networks and makes a bold statement about the ties that have bound millions of American women to one another in the name of sisterhood.

Synopsis:

Historians often rely on a handful of unusual cases to illustrate the absence of free speech in the colonies—such as that of Richard Barnes, who had his arms broken and a hole bored through his tongue for seditious words against the governor of Virginia. In this definitive and accessible work, Larry Eldridge convincingly debunks this view by revealing surprising evidence of free speech in early America.

Using the court records of every American colony that existed before 1700 and an analysis of over 1,200 seditious speech cases sifted from those records, A Distant Heritage shows how colonists experienced a dramatic expansion during the seventeenth century of their freedom to criticize government and its officials. Exploring important changes in the roles of juries and appeals, the nature of prosecution and punishment, and the pattern of growing leniency, Eldridge also shows us why this expansion occurred when it did. He concludes that the ironic combination of tumult and destabilization on the one hand, and steady growth and development on the other, made colonists more willing to criticize authority openly and officials less able to prevent it. That, in turn, established a foundation for the more celebrated flowering of colonial dissent against English authority in the eighteenth century.

Steeped in primary sources and richly narrated, this is an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in legal history, colonial America, or the birth of free speech in the United States.

About the Author

Diana B. Turk is an assistant professor at the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780814721957
Author:
Eldridge, Larry D.
Publisher:
New York University Press
Author:
Eldridge, Larry
Author:
Turk, Diana B.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Civil Rights
Subject:
Constitutional
Subject:
United States - Colonial Period
Subject:
Freedom of speech
Subject:
World history
Subject:
AMERICAN HISTORY_USA
Subject:
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH_USA
Subject:
General History
Subject:
United States / Colonial Period(1600-1775)
Subject:
US History-Colonial America
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
19950731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
216
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America

Distant Heritage: The Growth of Free Speech in Early America New Trade Paper
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$30.75 Backorder
Product details 216 pages New York University Press - English 9780814721957 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Sororities are often thought of as exclusive clubs for socially inclined college students, but Bound by a Mighty Vow, a history of the women's Greek system, demonstrates that these organizations have always served more serious purposes. Diana Turk explores the founding and development of the earliest sororities (then called women's fraternities) and explains how these groups served as support networks to help the first female collegians succeed in the hostile world of nineteenth century higher education.

Turk goes on to look at how and in what ways sororities changed over time. While the first generation focused primarily on schoolwork, later Greek sisters used their fraternity connections to ensure social status, gain access to jobs and job training, and secure financial and emotional support as they negotiated life in turn-of-the-century America. The costs they paid were conformity to certain tightly prescribed beliefs of how "ideal" fraternity women should act and what "ideal" fraternity women should do.

Drawing on primary source documents written and preserved by the fraternity women themselves, as well as on oral history interviews conducted with fraternity officers and alumnae members, Bound by a Mighty Vow uncovers the intricate history of these early women's networks and makes a bold statement about the ties that have bound millions of American women to one another in the name of sisterhood.

"Synopsis" by , Historians often rely on a handful of unusual cases to illustrate the absence of free speech in the colonies—such as that of Richard Barnes, who had his arms broken and a hole bored through his tongue for seditious words against the governor of Virginia. In this definitive and accessible work, Larry Eldridge convincingly debunks this view by revealing surprising evidence of free speech in early America.

Using the court records of every American colony that existed before 1700 and an analysis of over 1,200 seditious speech cases sifted from those records, A Distant Heritage shows how colonists experienced a dramatic expansion during the seventeenth century of their freedom to criticize government and its officials. Exploring important changes in the roles of juries and appeals, the nature of prosecution and punishment, and the pattern of growing leniency, Eldridge also shows us why this expansion occurred when it did. He concludes that the ironic combination of tumult and destabilization on the one hand, and steady growth and development on the other, made colonists more willing to criticize authority openly and officials less able to prevent it. That, in turn, established a foundation for the more celebrated flowering of colonial dissent against English authority in the eighteenth century.

Steeped in primary sources and richly narrated, this is an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in legal history, colonial America, or the birth of free speech in the United States.

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