Holmes was a leading figure in Boston intellectual and literary circles, Mrs. Holmes was connected to the leading families; Henry James Sr.
Holmes was a leading figure in Boston intellectual and literary circles, Mrs. Holmes was connected to the leading families; Henry James Sr. Holmes accordingly grew up in an atmosphere of intellectual achievement, and early formed the ambition to be a man of letters like Emerson.
While still in Harvard College he wrote essays on philosophic themes, and asked Emerson to read his attack on Plato's idealist philosophy. Emerson famously replied, "If you strike at a king, you must kill him. At Harvard, he was a member of the Hasty Pudding and the Porcellian Club ; his father had also been a member of both clubs.
In the Pudding, he served as Secretary and Poet, as his father did. Daguerreotype showing Holmes in his uniform, Civil War[ edit ] During his senior year of college, at the outset of the American Civil WarHolmes enlisted in the fourth battalion, Massachusetts militia, then received a commission as first lieutenant in the Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
He saw much action, taking part in the Peninsula Campaignthe Battle of Fredricksburg and the Wildernesssuffering wounds at the Battle of Ball's BluffAntietamand Chancellorsvilleand suffered from a near-fatal case of dysentery.
He particularly admired and was close to Henry Livermore Abbotta fellow officer in the 20th Massachusetts. Abbott took command of the regiment in his place, and was later killed.
Holmes is said to have shouted to Abraham Lincoln to take cover during the Battle of Fort Stevensalthough this is commonly regarded as apocryphal. But for a certainty, the 6 foot 4 inch Lincoln, in frock coat and top hat, stood peering through field glasses from behind a parapet at the onrushing rebels He retired to his home in Boston after his three-year enlistment ended inweary and ill, his regiment disbanded.
Lawyer and state judge[ edit ] Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
But by the fall, when it became clear that the war would soon end, Holmes enrolled in Harvard Law School"kicked into the law" by his father, as he later recalled. He was admitted to the bar inand after a long visit to London, to complete his education, went into law practice in Boston.
He joined a small firm, and in married a childhood friend, Fanny Bowditch Dixwell, buying a farm in Mattapoisett, Massachusettsthe following year.
They never had children together.
They did adopt and raise an orphaned cousin, Dorothy Upham. Fanny disliked Beacon Hill society, and devoted herself to embroidery. She was described as devoted, witty, wise, tactful, and perceptive. Whenever he could, Holmes visited London during the social season of spring and summer, and during the years of his work as a lawyer and judge in Boston, he formed romantic friendships with English women of the nobility, with whom he corresponded while at home in the United States.
The most important of these was his friendship with the Anglo-Irish Clare Castletown, the Lady Castletown, whose family estate in Ireland, Doneraile Courthe visited several times, and with whom he may have had a brief affair.
Holmes practiced admiralty law and commercial law in Boston for fifteen years. It was during this time that he did his principal scholarly work, serving as an editor of the new American Law Review, reporting decisions of state supreme courts, and preparing a new edition of Kent's Commentaries, which served practitioners as a compendium of case law, at a time when official reports were scarce and difficult to obtain.
He summarized his hard-won understanding in a series of lectures, collected and published as The Common Law in The Common Law[ edit ] The Common Law has been continuously in print sinceand remains an important contribution to jurisprudence.
The book also remains controversial, for Holmes begins by rejecting various kinds of formalism in law. In his earlier writings he had expressly denied the utilitarian view that law was a set of commands of the sovereign, rules of conduct that became legal duties.
He rejected as well the views of the German idealist philosophers, whose views were then widely held, and the philosophy taught at Harvard, that the opinions of judges could be harmonized in a purely logical system.
In the opening paragraphs of the book, he famously summarized his own view of the history of the common law: The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, and even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed.HA Zh finished reading - Jun 23, AM.
Book review: The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes: His Speeches, Essays, Letters, and Judicial Opinions. By Max Lerner ; Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes. By Sheldon M. Novick. Nagel, Robert F. (University of Minnesota Law School, ) View/ Download file.
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Boston: Little, Brown and Company, Lewis, Anthony, Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment (Basic ideas.
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