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Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech$
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Victoria Saker Woeste

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804772341

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804772341.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech
Stanford University Press

In the 1920s, Aaron Sapiro, a Jewish lawyer from California, filed a libel case against Henry Ford and his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Sapiro's lawsuit stemmed from a series of articles published by the newspaper which accused him of spearheading a Jewish conspiracy to subvert American agriculture. The case, Sapiro v. Ford, was declared a mistrial after the legal process was derailed by a series of bizarre events. To avoid a new trial, Ford issued an apology to the Jews in July 1927. The apology was penned by another Jewish lawyer, the renowned civil rights leader Louis Marshall. This book examines the complex triangulated relationships linking Ford and the two Jewish lawyers and explores how Sapiro and Marshall, who were supposed to be allies in the fight against anti-Semitism because both of them were Jews, almost failed to stop Ford in his war on their fellow Jews. This book also reflects on the historical development of the First Amendment by revealing divisions in the civil liberties community over how to respond to hate speech.

Keywords:   Aaron Sapiro, Jews, Henry Ford, Dearborn Independent, Sapiro v. Ford, apology, Louis Marshall, hate speech, anti-Semitism, First Amendment

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