The Rights Revolution

The Rights Revolution : Rights and Community in Modern America

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The most dramatic change in American society in the last forty years has been the explosive growth of personal rights. This "Rights Revolution" is currently under attack by both mainstream conservatives and intellectual liberals as undermining traditional values of community. In replying to the critics, Samuel Walker details the history of the rise of rights in American society, from the birth of the civil rights movement to today, and provides a spirited defense of its success in actually enlarging and enriching our sense of community in the more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 148.1 x 218.4 x 23.1mm | 398.12g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 019509025X
  • 9780195090253

Review quote

"With strong and vivid prose, Walker mounts an historically and socially grounded defense of America's new 'rights culture' while respectfully addressing opposing conceptions of the good society. He shows why he has become our laureate of civil liberties."--Norman Dorsen, New York University School of Law"Walker offers a sophisticated, intellectually rigorous, passionate, and ultimately controversial assessment of the idea that human freedom depends on personal rather than communitarian approaches to liberty. Walker reminds us that the argument about the impact of the rights revolution is really not about individual rights versus community needs, but instead about what kind of community we want in the first place. Walker frames the issue of liberty in the old fashioned way: it honors individual will tempered by tolerance and guided by an historical understanding that discrimination is a constant threat to freedom. The Rights Revolution, therefore, is must reading for citizens, scholars, and pundits."--Kermit L. Hall, dean and Professor of History and Law, The Ohio State University"In this wise and insightful book, clearly and elegantly written, Walker puts the so-called 'rights revolution' in historical context. His discussion of the critics of this revolution is at once lucid and incisive. I know of no better discussion of the pros and cons of the huge changes in law and society over the last 40 years. Walker has made a huge contribution to our understanding of these times we live in. This is a book that should be read by as wide an audience as possible."--Lawrence Friedman, Stanford University"A powerful reminder of the contributions civil liberties have made to a stronger and more inclusive sense of community in America. The critics are wrong. Far from undermining community, the fight for free speech and other rights builds a healthier society."--Nadine Strossen"Walker...convincingly shows how current offensives from both the left and the right distort American history by imagining a time when we all lived peacefully, without constant invocations of personal rights....Walker offers a succinct but substantial overview of communitarian thinkers, from Newt Gingrich to Mary Ann Glendon, all the while demonstrating the short comings of their ideas."--Publishers Weeklyshow more

About Samuel Walker

Samuel Walker is the Kiewit Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska. He is the author of several books, among them In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (Oxford, 1990).show more