Zechariah Chafee

Zechariah Chafee

Infobox Scientist
box_width = 250px
name = Zechariah Chafee

image_size = 150px
caption = Zechariah Chafee, 1907 (Brown Archives)
birth_date = birth date|1885|12|7
birth_place = Providence, Rhode Island
death_date = death date and age|1957|2|8|1885|12|7
death_place = Boston, Massachusetts
residence =
citizenship =
nationality = flag|United States
ethnicity =
fields = Constitutional law
workplaces = Harvard Law School
alma_mater = Brown University
Harvard Law School
doctoral_advisor =
academic_advisors =
doctoral_students =
notable_students =
known_for =
author_abbrev_bot =
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influences = Roscoe Pound
Harold J. Laski
influenced = Oliver Wendell Holmes
Louis Brandeis
awards =
religion =

footnotes =

Zechariah Chafee, Jr. (December 7, 1885 – February 8, 1957) was an American lawyer, academic and civil libertarian. An advocate for free speech, he was described by Senator Joseph McCarthy as "dangerous" to the United States. [1952 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.]


Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he graduated from Brown University, where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi, in 1907. Later, he received a law degree from Harvard University, completing his LL.B. in 1913. He practiced at the law firm of Tillinghast & Collins from 1913-1916. He became a professor at Harvard in 1916, where he remained until 1956.

Chafee wrote several works about civil liberties, including:
*"Freedom of Speech", 1920
*"Free speech in the United States", 1941 (expanded edition of "Freedom of Speech")
* "Government and Mass Communications", 1947
*"The Blessings of Liberty", 1956

Chafee's first significant work ("Freedom of Speech") established modern First Amendment theory. Inspired by the United States' suppression of radical speech and ideas during the First World War, Chafee edited and updated a collection of several of his law review articles. In these individual articles-cum-chapters, he assessed significant WWI cases, including those of Emma Goldman.

He revised and reissued this work in 1941 as "Free Speech in the United States", which became a leading treatise on First Amendment law. His scholarship on civil liberties was a major influence on Oliver Wendell Holmes' and Louis Brandeis' post-WWI jurisprudence, which first established the First Amendment as a significant source of civil liberties. Chafee met with Justice Holmes after the "Schenck" case (1919), which upheld a conviction of an activist who encouraged draft resistance, and convinced him that free speech needed greater consideration. Shortly thereafter, Holmes joined Brandeis in a dissent in another WWI dissent case; ["Abrams v. United States", ussc|250|616|1919.] this dissent is recognized as the foundation of modern First Amendment jurisprudence.

Chafee died in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1957. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Zechariah Chafee Jr., 71, Dead; Lawyer, Civil Liberties Champion; Member of Harvard Faculty 40 Years Defended Rights of Individuals and Press Thunderer on the Left Drafted Claims Law. |url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30A16FE3854177B93CBA91789D85F438585F9 |quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=February 9, 1957 |accessdate=2008-03-21 ]


Chafee was the scion of a notable Rhode Island family that traced its Rhode Island lineage back to Roger Williams. His father, Zechariah Chafee (Sr.), was long affiliated with Brown University. Chafee's nephew was Senator John Chafee and his grand-nephew is former Senator Lincoln Chafee.


Further reading

*cite book |title=Free Speech in the United States |author=——— |coauthors= |year=1964 |publisher=Harvard University Press |location=Cambridge, Mass. |edition=6th print |isbn= |pages=
* Zechariah Chafee, Jr., and Erika S. Chadbourn. "The Zecharia Chafee, Jr. Papers" (Jan. 1987) (American Legal Manuscripts from the Harvard Law School Library; microform)
*cite journal |last=Griswold |first=Erwin N. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1957 |month= |title=Zechariah Chafee, Jr. |journal=Harvard Law Review |volume=70 |issue=8 |pages=1337–1340 |doi=10.2307/1337592 |url= |accessdate= |quote=
*cite journal |last=Hindman |first=Elizabeth Blanks |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1992 |month= |title=First Amendment Theories and Press Responsibility: The Work of Zechariah Chafee, Thomas Emerson, Vincent Blasi and Edwin Baker |journal=Journalism Quarterly |volume=69 |issue=1 |pages=48–64 |issn=01963031 |url= |accessdate= |quote=
*cite book |title=Free Speech in Its Forgotten Years, 1870-1920 |last=Rabban |first=David M. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1999 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=New York |isbn=0521655374 |pages=
*cite journal |last=Ragan |first=Fred D. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1971 |month= |title=Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Zechariah Chafee, Jr., and the Clear and Present Danger Test for Free Speech: The First Year, 1919 |journal=Journal of American History |volume=58 |issue=1 |pages=24–45 |doi=10.2307/1890079 |url= |accessdate= |quote=
*cite book |title=Zechariah Chafee, Jr.: Defender of Liberty and Law |last=Smith |first=Donald L. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1986 |publisher=Harvard University Press |location=Cambridge, Mass. |isbn=0674966856 |pages=
*cite journal |last=Wertheimer |first=John |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1994 |month= |title="Freedom of Speech": Zechariah Chafee and Free-Speech History |journal=Reviews in American History |volume=22 |issue=2 |pages=367–377 |doi=10.2307/2702912 |url= |accessdate= |quote=

External links

*University of Arkansas's [http://www.uark.edu/depts/comminfo/freespeech/chafee.html Free Speech Philosophers — Zechariah Chafee]

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