Commentary

Full Bloom

– Algis Valiunas, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2015.
Excerpt: Harry V. Jaffa, writing in the journal Interpretation, and Charles Kesler, in The American Spectator(both pieces are collected in Essays on The Closing of the American Mind, which was edited by Robert L. Stone and published in 1989 by the… More

Harry Jaffa: Citizen Straussian

– Michael Zuckert, Remarks from Claremont Institute APSA panel, September 2015.
Excerpt: My main thesis is that Harry’s career as a thinker, teacher, and political man was an expression of his efforts to hold together these two loves—Strauss and America. As anyone who knows Strauss’s work will concede, this is not in every respect… More

The Jaffa-Berns Feud Revisited

– Steven F. Hayward, Powerline, September 11, 2015. Remarks from Claremont Institute APSA panel, September 2015.
Excerpt: Berns inclined toward a Hobbesian reading of Locke while Jaffa worked out an Aristotelian reading of Locke. Jaffa thought America the best regime, in the classical sense. Though he never declared himself directly on the question as Jaffa did, Berns… More

Natural Right in the American Founding: Harry Jaffa’s Legacy

– Edward J. Erler, paper presented at a Roundtable on the Work and Legacy of Harry V. Jaffa, Claremont Institute, APSA annual meeting, San Francisco, California, September 5, 2015.
Excerpt: Harry Jaffa spent nearly his whole career uncovering and articulating the natural right foundations of the American Founding. Leo Strauss, Jaffa’s teacher, wrote in the context of the “crisis of the West.” Jaffa extended… More

Harry V. Jaffa, 1918-2015

– Bradley C. S. Watson, Modern Age, June 2015.
Excerpt: When Harry V. Jaffa died on January 10 of this year, he left a legacy that the conservative intellectual movement will be sifting for generations. More than anything else, he represented the constitutionalist strain of modern American conservatism.… More

Harry V. Jaffa: An Appreciation by Michael Anton

– Michael Anton, Claremont Review of Books, March 2015.
Excerpt: Jaffa knew everything, or at least everything important. Much of what will be written about him in the coming days will focus on Lincoln, American politics, and modern conservatism, which is absolutely fitting. But his mind was a museum stuffed to… More

Harry V. Jaffa’s Call for Liberation

– Ken Masugi, First Things, March 2, 2015.
Excerpt: Perhaps the most heatedly denounced work of a distinguished scholar is Harry Jaffa’s occasional writing on homosexuality. The passions surrounding the issue distort understanding of these essays, but his purpose in them follows that of the rest of… More

Harry V. Jaffa, 1918-2015

– Michael M. Uhlmann, Edward J. Erler, Thomas G. West, and Larry P. Arnn, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2015.
Excerpt: Harry Victor Jaffa died at the age of 96 on January 10, 2015. The Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy was founded by a few of his students in 1979, and he served on the Institute’s board of directors from its… More

Remembering Harry V. Jaffa

Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2015.
Excerpt: Editor’s note: To honor the Claremont Institute’s Distinguished Fellow Harry V. Jaffa, we published in our Winter 2014/15 issue the eulogies offered at his memorial service by Larry P. Arnn, Edward J. Erler, Michael M. Uhlmann, and Thomas G.… More

Harry Jaffa and the Nobility of the American Founding

– Thomas G. West, The Federalist, February 19, 2015.
Excerpt: Jaffa’s intellectual point of departure was his encounter with Leo Strauss. I believe that in Jaffa’s mind, that was the most important thing that ever happened to him, with the exception of his marriage and family. Strauss taught Jaffa two big… More

Scholars of American Politics

– Harvey Mansfield, The Weekly Standard, February 9, 2015.
Excerpt: Among followers of Strauss, one issue is the importance of politics in the relationship of politics and philosophy. Politics thinks it is the most important human activity because it decides who rules in the world. Every human activity, including… More

How Jaffa’s Critics Remember Him

– H. Lee Cheek, Jr. and Sean Busick, Library of Law & Liberty, January 26, 2015.
Excerpt: American political science has lost a significant contributor with the demise of Harry V. Jaffa (1918-2015).  We mourn the death of Professor Jaffa, and acknowledge that there will be many celebrations of his life and scholarly achievements to… More

Saving President Lincoln

– Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard, January 26, 2015.
Excerpt: Ten years later Jaffa published Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. It was not only his best book (he wrote several very, very good books, on Aquinas and Shakespeare as well as Lincoln), it was… More

Arguing America

– Steve F. Hayward, The Weekly Standard, January 26, 2015.
Excerpt: Nothing could prepare a student for the shock of hearing Harry Jaffa in the classroom for the first time. From virtually his first word, you could tell that this was not going to be political science or political philosophy as usually taught. Above… More

Jaffa as Neo-Puritan

– Peter Lawler, Library of Law & Liberty, January 21, 2015.
Excerpt: To return to Jaffa: Let me begin by admitting that, in the disputes he got into with all of the others, I always had a soft spot for Harry, whether or not he was actually right on this or that theoretical issue. And maybe even when his practical… More

Remembering Harry V. Jaffa

– William B. Allen, Hadley Arkes, Allen C. Guelzo, Lewis E. Lehrman, Bradley C. S. Watson, et al, Claremont Institute, Winter 2015.
Excerpt: Editor’s note: To honor the Claremont Institute’s Distinguished Fellow Harry V. Jaffa, we published in our Winter 2014/15 issue the eulogies offered at his memorial service by Larry P. Arnn, Edward J. Erler, Michael M. Uhlmann, and Thomas G.… More

Remembering Harry Jaffa, A Thinking Man’s Conservative

– David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, January 16, 2015.
Excerpt: With a few words, Harry Jaffa altered the course of American conservatism: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Jaffa, a Claremont professor and thinker, died Jan. 10 at age 96. Jaffa was little known outside of academic circles, but… More

Five Rounds With Harry Jaffa

– Charles Kesler, The Federalist, January 16, 2015.
Excerpt: In his youth in New York City, Harry V. Jaffa was a Golden Gloves boxer. His pugnacious ways didn’t stop there. When he died last Saturday, aged 96, his decades in the intellectual ring with fellow conservatives had reshaped modern American… More

Harry V. Jaffa: An Inconvenient Thinker by Ken Masugi

– Ken Masugi, Library of Law & Liberty, January 15, 2015.
Excerpt: Harry V. Jaffa, who died January 10, at 96, may well be American conservatism’s most consequential thinker, for having attempted to re-found conservatism on the basis of its most philosophic principles and most revered figures. He was also one of… More

Harry V. Jaffa Dies at 96; Shaped Modern American Conservative Movement

– Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2015.
Excerpt: Jaffa, who taught political philosophy at Claremont McKenna College for 25 years, cemented his reputation as an intellectual force with his 1959 book “Crisis of the House Divided,” a seminal interpretation of the Lincoln-Douglas debates… More

Harry V. Jaffa, Conservative Scholar and Goldwater Muse, Dies at 96

– Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, January 12, 2015
Excerpt: A professor and author of political histories, Mr. Jaffa traced the nation’s origins to the philosophies of Aristotle and John Locke and analyzed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the contributions of Washington, Jefferson,… More

Harry Jaffa, R.I.P.

– Richard Brookhiser, National Review Online, January 12, 2015.
Excerpt: Harry’s great and lasting service was to rescue Abraham Lincoln from the whittlers and the minimizers. Early/mid-20th century biographers like Beveridge and Randall added to our detailed knowledge of Lincoln, but in their effort to be scientific… More

In Memoriam: Harry V. Jaffa, 1918-2015

– Claremont McKenna College, January 12, 2015.
Excerpt: Harry V. Jaffa, a preeminent professor of political philosophy whose views contributed to CMC’s early identity as a bastion of conservatism on the West Coast, passed away last week, on January 10 at Pomona Valley Hospital. He was 96. Jaffa was… More

Harry Jaffa, R.I.P.

– Yuval Levin, National Review Online, January 11, 2015.
Excerpt: Jaffa was perhaps best known for his contributions to our understanding of Abraham Lincoln’s political thought. Even amid the staggering profusion of books about Lincoln — surely the most thoroughly examined American political figure… More

Remembering Harry Jaffa

– W. B. Allen, Hillsdale College, 2015.
Excerpt: Remember Harry Jaffa as he remembered himself: Leo Strauss’s best student.  In nothing did Jaffa  so powerfully affect the imaginations of near colleagues as in that claim of precedence.  Perhaps, though, his putative rivals misunderstood the… More

Straussian Civil Wars

– Ken Masugi, Library of Law and Liberty, August 25, 2013.
Excerpt: Jaffa’s achievement was to revolutionize the serious study of American politics and political history and as well to goad American conservatism into an examination of founding principles. Not just as a Barry Goldwater speechwriter (“Extremism in… More

The House of Jaffa by John J. Miller

– John J. Miller, National Review, July 1, 2013.
Excerpt: Jaffa is one of the most famously cantankerous intellectuals in America — and when he takes a special interest in a person, it doesn’t always remain as amiable as it did with Whitis. This is especially true for fellow conservatives. “If you… More

The Goldwater Campaign

– Eric Benson, New York Magazine, October 14, 2012.
Excerpt: You weren’t one of Barry Goldwater’s speechwriters. How did you come to write his most famous speech? For most of the campaign, I was on the payroll for the American Enterprise Institute. And I went to the Republican convention with a group of… More

Jaffa’s New Birth: Harry Jaffa at Ninety

– Michael Zuckert, Review of Politics Vol. 71, No. 02 (Spring 2009), pp 207-223.
Excerpt: With the publication of Harry Jaffa’s New Birth of Freedom, it is possible to see the overall trajectory of his thinking and to come to some assessment of it. New Birth redeems a forty-year-old promise for a sequel to Crisis of the House… More

Harry Jaffa: Aristotelianizing America

– In Catherine and Michael Zuckert, The Truth About Leo Strauss (The University of Chicago Press, 2006)
Selection from “The Emergence of the Straussian Study of America,” Chapter Six in The Truth About Leo Strauss (The University of Chicago Press, 2006).

Harry V. Jaffa

– Edward J. Erler, in Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey O. Nelson, eds., American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2006).
Excerpt: Harry V. Jaffa was a student of the political philosopher Leo Strauss. The principal theme of Strauss’ work was “the crisis of the West,” a crisis precipitated by modernity’s rejection of natural right. Jaffa extended Strauss’ analysis to… More

The Philosopher and the City: Harry Jaffa and the Straussians

– Scot J. Zentner, Interpretation, Summer 2003.
Excerpt: Jaffa is identifiably conservative, perhaps more so than most Straussians (he drafted Barry Goldwater’s infamous “Extremism in the defense of liberty …” speech). However, he is notorious for his criticisms of conservative figures such as… More

Jaffa versus Mansfield by Thomas G. West

– Thomas G. West, Perspectives on Political Science 31:4 (Fall 2002).
Excerpt: Harry Jaffa and Harvey Mansfield are two of the ablest among those whose study of America has been shaped and helped by what they learned from Strauss. Both men are patriots. Both admire the Founders and the Constitution. Yet their views on the… More

Jaffa’s Lincolnian Defense of the Founding

– Thomas G. West, Interpretation, Spring 2001.
Excerpt: In A New Birth of Freedom, Harry Jaffa presents a powerful defense of the political theory of the American founding. He does it in grand style. Formally, his topic is Lincoln and the Civil War. In fact, the book ranges widely among philosophers,… More

Philosophy, History, and Jaffa’s Universe

– Edward J. Erler, Interpretation, Spring 2001.
Excerpt: I believe that Harry V. Jaffa’s A New Birth of Freedom is the book (or nearly the book) that Leo Strauss would have written had his principal concern been the crisis of America rather than the crisis of the West. It is Jaffa’s… More

A New Birth of Freedom

– Charles R. Kesler, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2000.
Excerpt: More than 40 years ago, Harry V. Jaffa published Crisis of the House Divided, his now-classic interpretation of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. In the preface to that book, Jaffa promised a sequel. Now he’s fulfilled that promise with a new… More

Crisis of the House Divided

– Michael M. Uhlmann, First Things, March 2000.
Excerpt: Harry V. Jaffa has few peers as a student of the American Founding and none as the expositor of the Declaration of Independence and the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln. He first established these credentials forty“one years ago with the… More

The Virtue of Practical Wisdom

– Justice Clarence Thomas, Claremont Institute, February 9, 1999.
Excerpt: We gather here tonight in memory of a great man, a great president whose noble words and selfless deeds enabled this great nation to fulfill its promises of equality and liberty for all—to itself, to all mankind and to the Creator. To borrow a… More

Professor Jaffa and That Old-Time Religion

– George Anastapalo, in Original Intent & the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994).
Excerpt: Mr. Jaffa, even when he is mistaken in the theoretician’s (to be distinguished from the ideologue’s) emphasis that he evidently cannot help but place upon practical arguments, continues to challenge his readers.  A critical difference… More

Professor Harry V. Jaffa Divides the House: A Respectful Protest and a Defense Brief

– Robert L. Stone, Seattle University Law Review 10:3 (1987). Reprinted in Original Intent & the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994).
Abstract: This Article replies to Professor’ Jaffa’s article, “What Were the ‘Original Intentions’ of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?,” and book, The Crisis of the House Divided. The Article argues that Professor Jaffa’s… More

Judicial Conscience and Natural Rights: A Reply to Professor Jaffa

– Bruce Ledewitz, Seattle University Law Review 10:3 (1987). Reprinted in Original Intent & the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994).
Abstract: This Article replies to Professor Harry V. Jaffa’s article “What Were the ‘Original Intentions’ of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?” The Article focuses on the gap the author argues Professor Jaffa left between the… More

Seven Questions for Professor Jaffa

– George Anastaplo, Seattle University Law Review 10:3 (1987). Reprinted in Original Intent & the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994).
Abstract: This Article poses questions inspired by the four essays collected in Professor Harry V. Jaffa’s article “What Were the ‘Original Intentions’ of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?” The Article offers, in addition to… More

The Platonism of Leo Strauss: A Reply to Harry Jaffa

– Thomas L. Pangle, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 1985.
Excerpt: The editor has invited me to respond to Harry Jaffa’s attack in his “Legacy of Leo Strauss” (Claremont Review of Books,vol. III, no. 3, Fall 1984). I do so after considerable hesitation. My initial instinct was to follow the advice… More

Harry V. Jaffa and American History by Herman Belz

– Herman Belz, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 1984.
Excerpt: One of the most important contributions to American history and political science in the past generation is the work of a political philosopher who, in a significant sense, is an “outsider” to both fields. In Crisis of the House Divided:… More

Fellows’ Choice

– Hadley Arkes, The Wilson Quarterly 1:3 (Spring 1977), pp. 127-128.
Review of Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

The Heresy of Equality: Bradford Replies to Jaffa

– M. E. Bradford, Modern Age (Winter 1976).
Excerpt: This essay is a direct response to Harry Jaffa’s “Equality as a Conservative Principle,” Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, VI11 (June, 1975), pp. 471-505, which is itself a critique of The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition by… More

Strange Bedfellows

– George Kateb, Commentary, August 1965.
Excerpt: Eyebrows were raised last summer when the New York Times reported that Harry Jaffa was writing campaign speeches for Barry Gold-water. How could it be that this student of Professor Leo Strauss, this ardent author of a brilliant book on the slavery… More

A Restatement

– Allan Bloom, The American Political Science Review Vol. 54, No. 2 (June 1960).

Political Philosophy and Poetry

– Allan Bloom, The American Political Science Review Vol. 54, No. 2 (June 1960).
Excerpt: Sigurd Burckhardt has rendered a service in providing the occasion for a thematic presentation of the principles underlying the interpretations of Shakespearean drama by Jaffa and me, to which he has taken such exception. The issue does not primarily… More

Lincoln and Douglas

– Allen Nevins, New Leader 43:20 (May 1960).
Review of Crisis of the House Divided.

English Bards and APSR Reviewers

– Sigurd Burckhardt, The American Political Science Review Vol. 54, No. 1 (March 1960).
Excerpt: Recently the Review has extended its hospitality to studies which are not, technically, within the discipline it serves. A new school of Shakespeare criticism may be in the making; and since everyone deplores departmentalization, one should like to… More

Source of American Caesarism: Review of Harry V. Jaffa

– Willmoore Kendall, National Review, November 7, 1959.
Excerpt: The idea of natural right is not so easily reducible to the equality clause, and there are better ways of demonstrating the possibility of self-government than imposing one’s views concerning natural right upon others. In this light it would… More