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A rich, multifaceted history of affirmative action from the Civil Rights Act of 1866 through today’s tumultuous times
From acclaimed legal historian, author of a biography of Louis Brandeis (“Remarkable” —Anthony Lewis, The New York Review of Books, “Definitive”—Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic) and Dissent and the Supreme Court (“Riveting”—Dahlia Lithwick, The New York Times Book Review), a history of affirmative action from its beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to the first use of the term in 1935 with the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) to 1961 and John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925, mandating that federal contractors take “affirmative action” to ensure that there be no discrimination by “race, creed, color, or national origin” down to today’s American society.
Melvin Urofsky explores affirmative action in relation to sex, gender, and education and shows that nearly every public university in the country has at one time or another instituted some form of affirmative action plan--some successful, others not.
Urofsky traces the evolution of affirmative action through labor and the struggle for racial equality, writing of World War I and the exodus that began when some six million African Americans moved northward between 1910 and 1960, one of the greatest internal migrations in the country’s history.
He describes how Harry Truman, after becoming president in 1945, fought for Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practice Act and, surprising everyone, appointed a distinguished panel to serve as the President’s Commission on Civil Rights, as well as appointing the first black judge on a federal appeals court in 1948 and, by executive order later that year, ordering full racial integration in the armed forces.
In this important, ambitious, far-reaching book, Urofsky writes about the affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court: cases that either upheld or struck down particular plans that affected both governmental and private entities. We come to fully understand the societal impact of affirmative action: how and why it has helped, and inflamed, people of all walks of life; how it has evolved; and how, and why, it is still needed.
While Louis D. Brandeis's series of articles on the money trust was running in Harper's Weekly many inquiries came about publication in more accessible permanent form. Even without such urgence through the mail, however, it would have been clear that these articles inevitably constituted a book, since they embodied an analysis and a narrative by that mind which, on the great industrial movements of our era, is the most expert in the United States. The inquiries meant that the attentive public recognized that here was a contribution to history. Here was the clearest and most profound treatment ever published on that part of our business development which, as President Wilson and other wise men have said, has come to constitute the greatest of our problems. The story of our time is the story of industry. No scholar of the future will be able to describe our era with authority unless he comprehends that expansion and concentration which followed the harnessing of steam and electricity, the great uses of the change, and the great excesses. No historian of the future, in my opinion, will find among our contemporary documents so masterful an analysis of why concentration went astray. I am but one among many who look upon jMr. Brandeis as having, in the field of economics, the most inventive and sound mind of our time. While his articles were running in Harper's Weekly I had ample opportunity to know how widespread was the belief among intelligent men that this brilliant diagnosis of our money trust was the most important contribution to current thought in many years.
"Great" is one of the words that I do not use loosely, and I look upon Mr. Brandeis as a great man. In the composition of his intellect, one of the most important elements is his comprehension of figures. As one of the leading financiers of the country said to me, "Mr. Brandeis's greatness as a lawyer is part of his greatness as a mathematician." My views on this subject are sufficiently indicated in the following editorial in Harper's Weekly.
The first full-scale biography in twenty-five years of one of the most important and distinguished justices to sit on the Supreme Court–a book that reveals Louis D. Brandeis the reformer, lawyer, and jurist, and Brandeis the man, in all of his complexity, passion, and wit.
A huge and galvanizing biography, a revelation of one man’s effect on American society and jurisprudence, and the electrifying story of his time.
Vienna journalist Theodore Herzl realized that anti-Semitism, dramatically illustrated by the Dreyfus Affair in 1890s France, would never be stemmed by the attempts of Jews to assimilate. The publication of his Der Judenstaat in 1896 began the political movement for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It caught on in Europe but was moribund in the United States until World War I. Urofsky shows how the Zionist movement was Americanized by Louis D. Brandeis and other reformers. He portrays the disputes between assimilationist and conservative Jews and the difficulties impeding the movement until Arab riots in Palestine, British treachery, and the Nazi horrors of World War II reunited American Jewry. American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust won the Jewish Book Council’s Morris J. Kaplun Award in 1976.
“One of the most important books in the field of American-Jewish history to appear in years. Superbly researched and written, it is a major contribution to the understanding of the paradoxical weaknesses and strengths of American Zionism in our time... This book belongs in any collection of works on American Jewry, world Jewry, American foreign affairs or Israeli-Arab conflict background.” — Choice
“How American Zionism, culturally so different from European Zionism, helped create the movement as a political power is the theme of this absorbing history. It is must reading for anyone who would understand American foreign policy involvements in the Middle East.” — Christian Science Monitor
“[Urofsky’s] study is a first-rate piece of work.” — David Singer, Commentary Magazine
“[Urofsky] has relied on an impressive array of primary source material including archival and manuscript collections, newspapers, magazines, and the reports of Zionist congresses and conventions. They emerge from his pen as a coherent, readable and, oft times, fascinating whole... In a fascinating and readable style he focuses on the most interesting events and personalities... He has succeeded in adroitly molding innumerable facts and details into a cohesive and coherent body of material... a significant addition to the study of American Zionism.” — Deborah E. Lipstadt, Jewish Social Studies
“[A] well-written, penetrating narrative... Much of what he discusses — how Brandeis fused Zionism with Americanism, the fight for communal power between the wealthy stewards of the American Jewish Committee and the recent immigrants, the part played by the Americans in the Balfour Declaration negotiations, the rift between the Weizmann and Brandeis factions — has been told before. But Urofsky’s data, gleaned from numerous manuscript collections, and his skillful collation of far-flung monographic material have put a definitive stamp on a long-needed synthetic history of those events.” — Naomi W. Cohen, The Journal of American History
“Melvin I. Urofsky argues in this, the most complete analysis yet published of American Zionism, that the most sensible perspective for understanding American Zionism is American history.” — Edward S. Shapiro, American Jewish Historical Quarterly
“American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust is a monument to the interplay between the Zionism of America and that of Europe, resulting in the creation of a thoroughly American movement with worldwide influence... Urofsky’s thesis is both convincing and thoroughly supported.” — Peter S. Margolis, H-Judaic
100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea the equal protection of the law at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective stories about the individuals heroes and scoundrels who fought their way to constitutional history.
100 Americans Making Constitutional History helps students understand the human side of the Supreme Court's decisions from the early republic to the present. Each biographical profile, written by a constitutional scholar or legal analyst, includes a discussion about the Court decision and how the specific legal issues evolved into great constitutional questions and drama. It puts a face and history to major cases by reminding the reader that there are people behind them, seeking vindication of their individual liberties and civil rights.
Each profile includes a brief bibliography for further research. Excellent for undergraduate students studying American government, American history, Constitutional Law and journalism.
Sample List of Litigants
- Larry Flynt- Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell (1988)
- Elmer Gertz- Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974)
- Demetrio Rodriguez- Rodriguez v. San Antonio Independent School District (1973)
- Curt Flood- Flood v. Kuhn (1972)
- Estelle Griswold- Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
- Linda Brown- Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
- Gordon Hirabayashi- Hirabayashi v. United states (1943)
- Eugene Debs- Debs v. United states (1919)
- William Marbury- Marbury v. Madison (1803)