Books: Better Pen Than Practice

JEFFERSON & CIVIL LIBERTIES by Leonard W. Levy. 225 pages. Belknap. $4.50.

If there is any truth held to be self-evident, it is that Thomas Jefferson was the father of American liberties. Anyone doubting the dogma, like Henry Adams or Albert Beveridge, has been dismissed as a crotchety old conservative. Now a Brandeis University historian has compared Jefferson's actions with his glowing words, and found the two a chasm apart "Jefferson's pen," writes Leonard Levy, "was mightier than his practice."

Jefferson's principles as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence were exemplary but he had trouble applying them to specific situations. He was not...

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