The Emancipation Proclamation

– In Robert A. Godwin, ed., 100 Years of Emancipation (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963). Reprinted in Equality and Liberty: Theory and Practice in American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965).
Excerpt: Both in the pre-inaugural period, and in the opening stages of the conflict, the danger of disunion, now the paramount danger, did not come from the forces of slavery alone. It came as well from the abolitionists. Now the name… More

Joseph Cropsey, Rest in Peace

– The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015.
Excerpt: Our lives were twined and intertwined in many ways. Joe entered the doctoral program in economics at Columbia soon after receiving his undergraduate degree in the spring of 1939. If anyone had told him then that his career would be in political… More

The End of History Means the End of Freedom

– The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015.
Excerpt: Mr. Fukuyama is a disciple of the late Alexander Kojeve, who re-interpreted Hegel’s version of the “end of history” to justify his support of the regime of Josef Stalin. Now Mr. Fukuyama re-interprets Kojeve’s reinterpretation… More

Can There Be Another Winston Churchill?

– The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015.
Excerpt: On the night of the tenth of May, 1940, on the eve of the ill-fated Battle of France, Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain. As he went to bed, he tells us, at about 3 a.m., he was “conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I… More

The Party of Lincoln vs. The Party of Bureaucrats

– The Claremont Institute, June 9, 2014.
Excerpt: In the fall of 1964, I was on the speech-writing staff of the Goldwater campaign. In September and October I went on a number of forays to college campuses, where I debated spokesmen for our opponents. My argument always started from here: In 1964… More

Aristotle and the Higher Good

New York Times, July 1, 2011.
Excerpt: Some time in the 1920s, the Conservative statesman F. E. Smith — Lord Birkenhead — gave a copy of the “Nicomachean Ethics” to his close friend Winston Churchill. He did so saying there were those who thought this was the greatest book of all… More

Thoreau and Lincoln

– From A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau, ed. Jack Turner (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2010). Reprinted in The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).

Lincoln in Peoria

Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2009.
Excerpt: A friendly critic has recently characterized my life’s work as dedicated to the moral vision of Athens, Jerusalem, and Peoria. Of course, as a faithful student of Leo Strauss, I recognized and welcomed the association with Athens and Jerusalem,… More

The American Founding as the Best Regime

– The Claremont Institute, July 4, 2007.
Excerpt: The Preamble of the Constitution crowns its enumeration of the ends of the Constitution by declaring its purpose to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” No words of the Constitution reveal the intention of the… More

Macbeth and the Moral Universe

– Adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College in 1974. Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2007/08.
Excerpt: Macbeth is a moral play par excellence. In this, it stands in stark contrast to two more recent well-known tales of murder, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Camus’s The Stranger. In Macbeth Shakespeare presented the moral… More

Who Owns the Copyright to the Universe?

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2006.
Excerpt: In a Wall Street Journal essay, James Q. Wilson praised a Pennsylvania federal judge’s decision to strike down efforts of a local school board to have “intelligent design” taught, alongside evolution, as part of a science… More

The Disputed Question: Judicial Activism, Left and Right

Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2006/07.
Excerpt: Professor Michael Uhlmann has given us a devastating indictment of mainstream Supreme Court jurisprudence over the last century, with particular reference to the last half century. He brings under fire the claim of the Court (and its partisans) to… More

Original Intent and the American Soul

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2005/06.
Excerpt: While quibbling over Harriet Miers’s ill-fated nomination to the Supreme Court, conservatives overlooked the more serious flaw in President Bush’s claim that he would appoint justices to the Court in the mold of Antonin Scalia and… More

Wages of Sin

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2004.
Excerpt: Among the young scholars in the 1950s who challenged the prevailing historical canon on slavery, no less than Fogel, was one he never mentions. Before the publication of Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the… More

American Conservatism and the Present Crisis

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2003.
Excerpt: Roger Scruton, writing in the Wall Street Journal last December, declared that “September 11 was a wake up call through which liberals have managed to go on dreaming. American conservatives ought to seize the opportunity to utter those… More

L’Envoi to Woody Hayes

– The Claremont Institute, January 3, 2003.
Excerpt: History will record that Woody Hayes (who died March 12, 1987) and I began our careers at Ohio State the same year, 1951. No one in the press has taken note of this fact, and history is always slow about such things, so I will climb down from my… More

The False Prophets of American Conservatism

– Reprinted by The Claremont Institute, June 11, 2014. In Kenneth L. Grasso and Robert P. Hunt, eds.,  A Moral Enterprise: Politics, Reason, and the Human Good (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2002.)
Excerpt: While the crisis of today does not have the immediacy of the crisis over slavery, its underlying character is the same. It is commonplace today to compare the issue of abortion to that of slavery, and especially to compare Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott.… More

The Peace Process Is Dead. Let’s Bury It.

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2001.
Excerpt: The Oslo “Peace Process” is dead. It is time for a public burial, before the corpse infects the landscape even more than it has already. As the fighting between Israelis and Palestine Liberation Organization-led Palestinians escalates,… More

Defenders of the Constitution: Calhoun Versus Madison, a Bicentennial Cerebration

– Symposium, "James Madison: Philosopher and Practitioner of Liberal Democracy," Library of Congress, March 16, 2001.
Excerpt: In 1987, the Center for Judicial Studies, a Conservative think tank in the precincts of the nation’s capital–a think tank, sometimes referred to as by appointment to the Justice Department of Attorney General Edwin Meese III–offered… More

Aristotle and Locke in the American Founding

Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2001.
Excerpt: In his review of A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War, in the inaugural issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Charles Kesler writes, “Jaffa doesn’t draw attention to his revised view of Lincoln or of… More

Chastity as a Political Principle: An Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

– In John Alvis and Thomas G. West, eds., Shakespeare as Political Thinker, 2nd Edition (Wilmington, DE: ISI, 2000).
Excerpt: The city of Vienna is in bad shape. It has been misruled, or allowed to go without being ruled, for no less than fourteen years. The nominal ruler is a philosopher. However good philosophic rule may be in theory, in practice it seems to be nearly the… More

Strauss at 100

– Reprinted by The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015. In Kenneth L. Deutsch and John A. Murley, Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the American Regime (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).
Excerpt: It is almost routine in the scholarship of greatness, whether philosophic or political, to discover fathomless complexity in its subjects. Certainly this has been true about Lincoln. Yet in the case of Lincoln, as in that of many others, the… More

The Speech That Changed the World

Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy Vol. 24 Issue 3 (Spring 1997).
Excerpt: Of all Lincoln’s speeches, whether greater or lesser, the only one that can be said truly to have changed the course of history, was delivered to the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858. The utterances that have… More

God and Man in Court: Graglia’s Quarrel with God

National Review, August 14, 1995, pp. 30-32.
Abstract: The article presents the author’s response to the comments of law professor Lino A. Graglia on his critique of U.S. Judge Robert Bork and Chief Justice William Rehnquist regarding judicial activism. The author argues that legal positivism,… More

Defending the Cause of Human Freedom

– The Claremont Institute, April 15, 1994.
Excerpt: The Spring 1994 Intercollegiate Review featured a section entitled “Not In Memoriam, But in Affirmation: M. E. Bradford.” I welcome this, or any tribute, to my departed friend. As many readers of Intercollegiate Review know, my eulogy of… More

Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy

– Reprinted by The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015. In Kenneth L. Deutsch and Walter Nicgorski, eds. Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994).
Excerpt: From this perspective, the intention of the American Founding, with its separation of church and state, its guarantee of the free exercise of religion, and of freedom of speech and of the press, could be seen, not as a lowering of the goals of… More

Inventing the Gettysburg Address

Intercollegiate Review 28:1 (Fall 1992). Reprinted in American Conservatism and the American Founding (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1984).
Excerpt: Thirty years ago, Garry Wills was a rising star of the Right, a celebrity in the constel­lation of William F. Buckley, Jr. and Na­tional Review. His essay on “The Conve­nient State,” originally published in 1964 in What Is Conservatism?, a… More

The Anti-Anti-Smoking Brigade

National Review, November 5, 1990, p. 85.
Description: Discusses perceptions on how to solve the problem of tobacco smoking addiction. Discussion of the impact of smoking on the health of Americans; Suggestion that moral influence be used as a mitigating factor to initiate self-change.

“Who Killed Cock Robin?” A Retrospective on the Bork Nomination and a Reply to “Jaffa Divides the House”

Seattle University Law Review 13:3 (1990). Reprinted in Original Intent & the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1994).
Abstract: In an utterance that may have changed the history of the United States, and of the world, Lincoln argued that the grounds upon which one opposed the extension of slavery into the territories was inseparable from opposition to slavery itself.… More

Old Thinking For New Suckers

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 1988.
Excerpt: This offering by the General Secre­tary of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon of some years back. Company big shots are sitting around the confer­ence table, in the middle of which is a large box. On the box is… More

What Were the “Original Intentions” of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?

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 explains how the doctrine of original intent might be defended as the basis for interpreting the Constitution. The deepest political differences in American history have always been differences concerning the meaning of the… More

The Studies of Leo Strauss: An Exchange

– Letters, New York Review of Books, October 10, 1985.
Excerpt: Before I met Strauss this is what I had been taught, and had never been given any reason to question. I had spent five years at Yale in the 1930s, as undergraduate and graduate student, where no one, so far as I knew, had ever doubted this orthodoxy.… More

The Legacy of Leo Strauss Defended

Claremont Review of Books, Spring 1985.
Excerpt: Thomas Pangle declares that, in “The Legacy of Leo Strauss” (Claremont Review of Books, Fall 1984), I am “guilty of gross misinterpretation” of his “interpretation of Strauss and of the political philosophizing Strauss… More

The Legacy of Leo Strauss

Claremont Review of Books, Fall 1984.
Excerpt: In 1974, the year following Leo Strauss’s death, the American Political Science Association estab­lished an annual award, in his honor, for the best dissertation in the field of political philosophy. The petition in favor of such an award was… More

Leo Strauss, 1952, ’53

Modern Age, Summer 1982, pp. 266-269. Reprinted in American Conservatism and the American Founding (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1984).

The (Okay) Imperial Presidency

National Review, February 4, 1977.
The article reviews the book Roosevelt and Churchill, 1939-1941: The Partnership That Saved the West by Joseph P. Lash.

Equality as a Conservative Principle

Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 8:471 (1975). Reprinted in How to Think About the American Revolution: A Bicentennial Cerebration (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1978).
Excerpt: That Conservatism should search for its meaning implies of course that Conservatism does not have the meaning for which it is searching. This might appear paradoxical, since a Conservative is supposed to have something definite to conserve.… More

Debate: “Time on the Cross”

National Review, March 28, 1975.
Review of Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery by Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman.

The Truth about War

National Review, August 3, 1973.
Review of Young Winston’s Wars: The Original Despatches of Winston S. Churchill, War Correspondent 1897-1900.

Portrait of a Patriot

National Review, May 25, 1973. Reprinted in The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
Review of Stephen A. Douglas by Robert W. Johannsen.

Contra Herndon

National Review, March 30, 1973, p. 376.
Review of Abraham Lincoln: Theologian of American Anguish by David Elton Trueblood.

Tom Sawyer: Hero of Middle America

Interpretation, Spring 1972. Reprinted in The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
Excerpt: Tom Sawyer, master of the noble lie, is the master figure of American literature, the character in whom, more than in any other, Americans fancy themselves to be reflected and idealized. Not Captain Ahab, pursuing the great white whale, or Walter… More

The Limits of Dissent

National Review, September 10, 1968, p. 911.
Review of Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience, by Abe Fortas.

Reconstruction, Old and New

National Review, April 20, 1965.
Review of The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 by Kenneth M. Stampp

A Celebration of Tradition

National Review, October 22, 1963, pp. 360-361.
Review of Rationalism in Politics, and Other Essays by Michael J. Oakeshott.


– In Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, eds. History of Political Philosophy, 2nd edition (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963). Reprinted in The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).

Review: Patriotism and Morality

Chicago Review, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Summer/Autumn, 1962), pp. 136-142. Reprinted in Equality and Liberty: Theory and Practice in American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965).
Review of Congressman Abraham Lincoln by Donald W. Riddle.

The Case Against Political Theory

The Journal of Politics, Vol. 22, No. 2 (May 1960), pp. 259-275. Reprinted in Equality and Liberty: Theory and Practice in American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965).

Slavery — A Battle Revisited

New Leader 41:30 (August 18-25, 1958). Reprinted in The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
Review of Created Equal: The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 by Paul Angle.

Review: Marsilius of Padua, The Defender of Peace

Social Research, Vol. 19, No. 1 (March 1952), pp. 117-121.
Review of Marsilius of Padua, The Defender of Peace. Vol. I: Marsilius of Padua and Medieval Political Philosophy by Alan Gewirth.