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Local Book Notes: Free Speech, Winning Elections & Memory

"Most Americans today view freedom of speech as a bedrock of all other liberties, a defining feature of American citizenship," SIU Press says.

"During the 19th century, the popular concept of American freedom of speech was still being formed. In An Indispensable Liberty: The Fight for Free Speech in Nineteenth-Century America, contributors examine attempts to restrict freedom of speech and the press during and after the Civil War.

"The 11 essays that make up this collection show how, despite judicial, political and public proclamations of support for freedom of expression, factors like tradition, gender stereotypes, religion and fear of social unrest often led to narrow judicial and political protection for freedom of expression by people whose views upset the status quo.

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"These views, expressed by abolitionists, suffragists and labor leaders, challenged rigid cultural mores of the day, and many political and cultural leaders feared that extending freedom of expression to agitators would undermine society.

"The Civil War intensified questions about the duties and privileges of citizenship. After the war, key conflicts over freedom of expression were triggered by Reconstruction, suffrage, the Comstock Act, and questions about libel.

"The volume's contributors blend social, cultural, and intellectual history to untangle the complicated strands of nineteenth-century legal thought. By chronicling the development of modern-day notions of free speech, this timely collection offers both a valuable exploration of the First Amendment in 19th-century America and a useful perspective on the challenges we face today."

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The book is edited by media historian and former reporter Mary Cronin.

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Winning Elections
"The University Press of Kansas (has) announced the publication of Winning Elections in the 21st Century by political science professors Dick Simpson and Betty O'Shaughnessy," Simpson colleague Thomas J. Gradel says in a press release.

"Their book enables readers to get under the hood of modern political campaigns and to learn how candidates and campaign teams use cell phones, computers, data analytics and social media to target, contact, and then persuade a winning number of individuals to join their campaigns, contribute needed funds, and then vote on election day.

"We looked at methods as old as those used in Cicero's Roman campaigns two millennia ago and in Abraham Lincoln's contests in the1860s, and we studied the newest tricks of the trade in 2016," said Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. "We found that the basic approach of identifying persuadable voters, talking to them about their concerns and then getting them to vote, has remained constant, but the technology and the strategic utilization of data has changed dramatically."

"Simpson served two terms (from 1971-79) as an alderman in Chicago's City Council and he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1992 and 1994.

"We also found that techniques such as micro-targeting and on-line fundraising, and the effective use of the Internet and social media, which were first implemented at high cost during presidential campaigns, are now available and affordable for state and local elections," O'Shaughnessy said.

"O'Shaughnessy is a visiting lecturer at UIC and a social studies teacher at Loyola Academy in Wilmette."

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This looks like the most interesting chapter:

"A highlight of the book is an entire chapter case study of 'The Winning Campaign to Elect Will Guzzardi.' In 2014, Guzzardi, a 26-year-old online journalist, defeated incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios with a volunteer heavy, grassroots campaign that stunned the political pundits.

"Toni Berrios had been elected in 2004 to serve a mixed white and Hispanic district on Chicago's Northwest Side. She was easily re-elected four times with help from her father, Joseph Berrios, the powerful Cook County Assessor, who was also Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

"The chapter was written by campaign volunteer Elise Doody-Jones and was edited by the Guzzardi campaign manager, Erica Sagrans."

Oh. Suddenly less interesting.

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Here are the authors discussing how campaigns are run with veteran political consultant Don Rose:

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Memory
Avant-garde poet, writer and visual artist Bernadette Mayer discusses her work and recollection of 'Memory,' a poetic audio-visual installation currently on view in the Poetry Foundation gallery, with poets Jennifer Karmin and Stephanie Anderson on Thursday at noon. A brief slide show and audio presentation precedes the afternoon's conversation.

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Installing "Memory."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 20, 2016


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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