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Levy, Leonard Williams


LEVY, LEONARD WILLIAMS (1923–2006), U.S. historian. Born in Toronto, Canada, Levy taught at Brandeis University, serving as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1958–63) and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (1963–66). From 1958 he held the chair in American constitutional history. Levy contributed to the history of American constitutional law and to the early history of American law, with emphasis on the background of the Bill of Rights. His main works are The Law of the Commonwealth and Chief Justice Shaw (1957), Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History (1960), and Jefferson and Civil Liberties (1963). His Origins of the Fifth Amendment… (1968) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Levy was also editor of several historical series. He was a member of both the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress, serving on the latter's Commission on Law and Social Action. After he retired from teaching, Levy became professor emeritus at Clare mont McKenna College in Claremont, California.

He also wrote Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution (1988), Blasphemy: Verbal Offense against the Sacred, from Moses to Salman Rushdie (1993), The Establishment Clause (1994), License to Steal (1995), The Palladium of Justice (1999), Ranters Run Amok (2000), and Origins of the Bill of Rights (2001). He also edited (with K. Karst) the six-volume Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (20002).

[Richard B. Morris /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

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