What We Are Reading Today: Jefferson’s Legal Commonplace Book by Thomas Jefferson

Updated 24 April 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Jefferson’s Legal Commonplace Book by Thomas Jefferson

  • This authoritative volume is the first to contain the complete text of Jefferson’s notebook

As a law student and young lawyer in the 1760s, Thomas Jefferson began writing abstracts of English common law reports. Even after abandoning his law practice, he continued to rely on his legal commonplace book to document the legal, historical, and philosophical reading that helped shape his new role as a statesman. Indeed, he made entries in the notebook in preparation for his mission to France, as president of the US, and near the end of his life. 

This authoritative volume is the first to contain the complete text of Jefferson’s notebook, says a review on the Princeton University Press review. With more than 900 entries on such thinkers as Beccaria, Montesquieu, and Lord Kames, Jefferson’s Legal Commonplace Book is a fascinating chronicle of the evolution of Jefferson’s searching mind.

Unlike the only previous edition of Jefferson’s notebook, published in 1926, this edition features a verified text of Jefferson’s entries and full annotation, including essential information on the authors and books he documents. 

In addition, the volume includes a substantial introduction that places Jefferson’s text in a legal, historical and biographical context.


American singer/song writer John Legend speaks out against Palestinian suffering

John Legend has spoken out against the occupation of Palestine during a podcast. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2020

American singer/song writer John Legend speaks out against Palestinian suffering

  • Legend spoke on Palestinian rights during a podcast with the online news platform The Intercept earlier this week

DUBAI: The American singer-song writer, John Legend, has spoken out against the occupation of Palestine during a podcast.

“That’s a baseline for human position,” Legend said on Palestinian rights during a podcast with the online news platform The Intercept earlier this week. 

The 41-year-old artist, according to the host Mehdi Hasan, is one of the few celebrities who has linked the fight for human rights, civil liberties, the fight against detention and mass incarceration in the US and in “the occupied Palestinian territories.” “How did you come to that position?” the host asked. 

“There should not be a whole group of people in a county, just because of their nationality or religion, being held in open-air prisons, denied freedom of movement and having their land annexed by settlers. That’s just a human position,” the “All of Me” singer replied. 

“I think, as someone who is observing what’s going on, and saying ‘This is right,’ or ‘This is wrong,’ clearly it’s wrong what is happening to the Palestinians, it’s so obvious,” he added. “Anybody who doesn’t believe that’s the case is being willfully blind, I believe.”

It is not the first time the award-winning star has spoken out in favor of Palestinian rights. 

Last year, Legend appeared on the political panel show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” in which he said: “As progressives, we should also speak up for human rights for Palestinians, and for too long, I think, it has been out of bounds for progressives to speak up for the rights of Palestinians.”