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

Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, January 12, 2015


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, Madison, and other founders. He was a Lincoln scholar, and his book on the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates is regarded as a classic.

A disciple of the political philosopher Leo Strauss, Mr. Jaffa devoted much of his academic career to interpretations of equality, liberty, ethics, morality, and patriotism, and he clashed with fellow conservatives over their meaning and the framers’ intentions. He took conservative rivals to task for ignoring “natural law,” which he called a concept of justice common to all mankind and a key to America’s foundation.

New York Times