Confronting Injustice: Moral History and Political Theory

ISBN : 9780199662555

David Lyons
256 Pages
147 x 223 mm
Pub date
Jun 2013
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The essays presented in this volume challenge both theorists and citizens to confront grave injustices committed in the United States. David Lyons encourages us to take a fresh look at the beginnings of America, including the colonists' early adoption of race-based slavery even though it was unlawful and why those who rebelled against English oppression were responsible for greater injustices against their Native American neighbors. Confronting injustice requires us to consider how delegates to the 1787 constitutional convention readily embraced increased protections for chattel slavery, why the federal government later abandoned Reconstruction, and why the nation allowed former slave owners to establish a new system of racial oppression called Jim Crow. It requires us to ask why America's official rejection of white supremacy is combined with an unwillingness to address continuing racial stratification. Confronting injustice calls upon political theorists to test their views in the crucible of social history. It challenges those who debate abstractly the idea of an obligation to obey the law to consider the implications of grievous injustices. It calls upon those who assume that their society is now 'reasonably just' to ask when that transformation occurred, despite the fact that children who are black or poor are denied equal opportunity.


1. The Balance of Injustice and the War for Independence
2. Slavery and the Rule of Law in Early Virginia
3. The Legal Entrenchment of Illegality
4. Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy
5. Corrective Justice, Equal Opportunity, and the Legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow
6. Normal Law, Nearly Just Societies, and Other Myths of Legal Theory
7. Moral Judgment, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience
8. Political Responsibility and Resistance to Civil Government
9. Courage and Political Resistance
10. Epilog: From Politics to Philosophy

About the author: 

David Lyons is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at Boston University. He has been awarded numerous fellowships and awards over his career, and is a member of the American Philosophical Association; the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (and past Vice-President thereof); the American Political Science Association; the American Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy; and the Association of American law Schools. He serves on several journal editorial boards.

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