Lecture Description

In Henry Ford’s War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech, the dramatic courtroom proceedings against America’s beloved tinkerer and Flivver King, Henry Ford, unfold against the backdrop of America’s “tribal twenties.” Ford’s influence on the nation’s society and culture rivaled his impact on its economy; when he spoke, the country listened. So when he began publishing a newspaper dedicated to the “Neglected Truth” behind the presence of a nefarious “International Jew” at the highest levels of American government, few challenged his veracity or motives. One who did, an obscure lawyer from California, took Ford all the way to trial in Detroit’s federal court–a sublime example of how lawsuits provide a crucible in which, with distractions and half-truths burned away, the historically situated meaning of law, and equality, becomes apparent. In the end, Ford escaped the verdict of law, but his lasting legacy as a purveyor of antisemitic hate speech provides a more realistic frame for understanding his significance.

CATEGORIES

Antisemitism and Religious Persecution Constitutional and Legal

ALL TOPICS & TITLES: Go back to all topics and titles.

Victoria Saker Woeste

VIEW SPEAKER : Victoria Saker Woeste


More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources