Harry V. Jaffa

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Harry V. Jaffa (born October 7, 1918) is Professor Emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University and a distinguished fellow of the Claremont Institute. He has written on Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Leo Strauss, American constitutionalism and natural law. He has been published in the Claremont Review of Books, the Review of Politics, the National Review, and the New York Times. His most famous work, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, written in 1959, has been described as "the greatest Lincoln book ever."

Jaffa is a formative influence on the American conservative movement, challenging notable conservative thinkers including Russell Kirk, Richard M. Weaver, and Willmoore Kendall on Abraham Lincoln and the American Founding. He has debated Robert Bork on American constitutionalism, and, in 2002, he and libertarian Thomas DiLorenzo debated the merits of Abraham Lincoln's statesmanship during the Civil War.


Jaffa earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from The New School. As a Ph.D. student, he became interested in Abraham Lincoln after discovering a copy of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates in a used bookshop.

Jaffa was one of Leo Strauss' first Ph.D. students. His dissertation on...
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