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Confessions of a Free Speech LawyerCharlottesville and the Politics of Hate$
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Rodney A. Smolla

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749650

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749650.001.0001

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Mr. Jefferson’s University

Mr. Jefferson’s University

(p.39) 7 Mr. Jefferson’s University
Confessions of a Free Speech Lawyer

Rodney A. Smolla

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the University of Virginia (UVA), which was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It points out how UVA is a study in contrast and contradiction in the 21st century. Thomas Jefferson loved UVA so much that he insisted it to be inscribed on his gravestone as one of his life's accomplishments. Yet there was also a darker side to Jefferson's legacy. Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” yet he owned slaves and even took one as his mistress. This chapter also provides a background on UVA's contemporary culture-war campus politics, where issues of race and sex and power and privilege all mingle in confounding and confusing confluence and conflict. It mentions Richard Spencer, the mastermind behind Charlottesville's 2017 summer of violence, and Stephen Miller, who became one of President Donald Trump's most influential advisers.

Keywords:   University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, contemporary culture-war, campus politics, Stephen Miller

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