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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


[Our] tough experiences have but served to endear our institutions more firmly in our minds." n After three years of service and as many wounds, Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., of the 20th Massachusetts could still describe northern war aims as "the cause of the whole civilized world …. the Christian crusade of the 19th century."
James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  one of history’s most influential U.S. Supreme Court Justices remembered for his pragmatism (1841-1935)
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Oliver Wendell Holmes Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Notes:
Homes argued that common law is developed through pragmatism and life experience rather than merely through logical application of moral precepts.  In "The Common Law," he wrote that a good judge should place "experience" above "logic": "the felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men."

Holmes distrust of precepts and ideals separate from experience arose from the horror of fighting in the Civil War. He transitioned from student life at Harvard to slaughter on the battlefield. He was seriously wounded and at one point wrote his parents that nearly every Regimental officer he knew or cared for was dead or wounded. Of almost 2,000 Union regiments, only four suffered more battle deaths than Holmes’. He had been an active abolitionist (anti-slavery) before the war began and was eager to go to the front, but three years later he worn in mind and body.

As a Supreme Court Justice, Holmes coined the phrase "clear and present danger" as a condition for impeding free speech. He explained that the First Amendment does not protect a right of "falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."

Do not confuse him with his father, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., the famous poet and writer.
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Samples:
  • [Our] tough experiences have but served to endear our institutions more firmly in our minds." n After three years of service and as many wounds, Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., of the 20th Massachusetts could still describe northern war aims as "the cause of the whole civilized world …. the Christian crusade of the 19th century."
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • I remember well the first time I saw Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.
    Helen Keller  --  Story of My Life
  • I’d named my rabbit after Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the famous Supreme Court Justice known as the Great Dissenter.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Change of Heart
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes said that.
    James Patterson  --  Kiss the Girls

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  • [90] And in 1857 Oliver Wendell Holmes reported it in /matter/, /handsome/, /caterpillar/, /apple/ and /satisfaction/.
    Henry L. Mencken  --  The American Language
  • Its environment of sharp thinking and bonhomie—the walnut paneling, the sherry cart once owned by Oliver Wendell Holmes—delighted Venkatesh.
    Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner  --  Freakonomics
  • Among those enraptured with Miss Hale is a future Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., now a twenty-four-year-old Union officer.
    Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard  --  Killing Lincoln
  • ] [Footnote 50: Oliver Wendell Holmes cites this last sentence as the most extreme development of the distinctively Emersonian style.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • "The use of slang," said Oliver Wendell Holmes, "is at once a sign and a cause of mental atrophy."
    Henry L. Mencken  --  The American Language
  • Once it becomes, in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ phrase, "a cheap generic term, a substitute for differentiated [Pg311] specific expressions," it quickly acquires such flatness that the fastidious flee it as a plague.
    Henry L. Mencken  --  The American Language

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  • Oliver Wendell Holmes has described him in this wise: "His personal appearance was that of the typical New Englander of college-bred ancestry.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes in speaking of this says: "Emerson wrote occasionally in verse from his school-days until he had reached the age which used to be known as the grand climacteric, sixty-three….
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • [77] The following passage from Kipling’s American Notes, ch. i, will be recalled: "Oliver Wendell Holmes says that the Yankee schoolmarm, the cider and the salt codfish of the Eastern states are responsible for what he calls a nasal accent.
    Henry L. Mencken  --  The American Language
  • ] [Footnote 447: She was an elemental force, etc. Of this passage Oliver Wendell Holmes said that Emerson "speaks of woman in language that seems to pant for rhythm and rhyme.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • Their most eloquent spokesman was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Twenty years after he had described the Union cause as "the Christian crusade of the 19th century," Holmes declared in a Memorial Day address to other veterans in 1884 that "in our youth our hearts were touched with fire.
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
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Associated words [difficulty]:   Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [8] , John Marshall [7]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   History, Personal Finance, Logic & Reasoning, Law
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