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Oliver Wendell Holmes: Destroyer of American Law

Tom Bowden

Presented at: IRM 1998

Date: Jun 28, 1998

"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man," wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1916, articulating the theme of a judicial career that would eventually span 49 years. Although generally considered the most illustrious figure in the history of American law and ranked as one of the greatest Supreme Court Justices, Holmes was in fact a destroyer whose eloquent judicial opinions and essays infused a deadly dose of false philosophical ideas, especially pragmatism, into American legal philosophy. This course examines Holmes' life and historical context, his philosophy, and his influential writings on such diverse topics as freedom of speech and due process of law. 

(No legal training or reading of cases is required.)



Handout: none


  • CD, 2007 (En) - 292 mins - 5 CD set with Q&A