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Life Cycles of American Legal History Through Bob Dylan's Eyes
Fordham Urban Law Journal (2012)
  • Laurie B Serafino, Pepperdine University

This article discusses how America's passage through cycles of change that correlate to patterns of discrimination and revolution, as illustrated in the lyrics of Bob Dylan, is represented in American law. It examines, from a legal perspective, Bob Dylan's ideas on social policy and change, and identifies periods in American history during which the nation was "put on the cross, died, and was resurrected."

This examination emphasizes certain key players in U.S. history, who were admired by Dylan for being honorable and fair, standing up for the underdog, and fighting hard against their enemies. These key players include Thaddeus Stevens, and abolitionist and human rights activist, and Joe Hill, an immigrant leader of the labor movement, whose story illustrates the trampling of the traditional worker and the rise of labor unions in America. The stories of these key players are woven into a narrative about the legal and societal treatment of African Americans throughout the history of the United States, from the emancipation of the slaves and the civil war, through the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The article concludes by examining how corporations exert significant domination over the political process. It illustrates how, like earlier "death" periods in American history, this one is perpetuated by corporate self-interest.

Publication Date
Spring 2012
Citation Information
Laurie B Serafino. "Life Cycles of American Legal History Through Bob Dylan's Eyes" Fordham Urban Law Journal Vol. 38 (2012)
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