John Fabian Witt
John Fabian Witt is Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is the author of a number of books, including American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19 (Yale University Press, 2020) and Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (Free Press, 2012), which was awarded the Bancroft Prize and the ABA’s Silver Gavel Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book for the year 2012. Other writings include To Save the Country: A Lost Manuscript of the Civil War Constitution (Yale University Press, 2019) (with Will Smiley), Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2007), and The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2004), as well as articles on legal history and tort law. He has been a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Witt is currently writing the story of the people behind the Garland Fund, the 1920s foundation that quietly financed the litigation campaign leading to Brown v. Board of Education.
Essays and Scholarship
Weaponized from the Beginning
A century-old specter of propaganda and lies distorting the public sphere is raised as intermediary institutions that manage unregulated speech are underminedBy John Fabian Witt