Preview
Preview

Essay about Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis

No Works Cited
Length: 1703 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

For more than a dozen years, Clarence Earl Gideon lay buried in a nondescript, unmarked grave in Hannibal, Missouri. Most Americans outside of the legal community (and many within it) would neither recognize Gideon's name, nor understand the seismic impact he had on our legal system. Fortunately, Anthony Lewis, the renowned journalist now retired from The New York Times, chronicled Gideon's saga from the filing of his hand-written petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court to the momentous decision of March 18, 1963. Lewis brings to life the story of the man behind the case, the legal machinations of the court appointed lawyer (and others working with him) toiling on Gideon's behalf and the inner-workings of the Supreme Court. By telling the story, Lewis has preserved an important piece of legal and social history and we are all the richer for his doing so.

First published in 1964, Gideon's Trumpet is a timeless treatment of one man's passionate quest to right a perceived wrong and his unfailing belief that when the Constitution's Sixth Amendment declared he had a right to counsel, the Constitution meant what it said. What he sought, really, was justice. Of course, Gideon's quest was not his alone after the petition was granted, and it did not take place in a vacuum, but without his belief that the right to counsel had meaning for even the destitute, change would likely have taken significantly longer.

Clarence Gideon had spent a considerable portion of his adult life in and out of prisons. While he could not fairly be characterized as a professional criminal, or violent person, he never really adjusted to mainstream life. As Lewis puts it, "[T]hose who had known him, even the men who had arrested him and those...


... middle of paper ...


...arl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell . . . to write a letter to the Supreme Court . . . the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the Court did look into his case . . . and the whole course of American legal history has been changed."

In 1984, nearly thirteen years after he was laid to rest in the unmarked grave in Hannibal, Missouri, the Eastern Missouri chapter of the ACLU placed a marker on Clarence Gideon's grave. The marker reads, "Each era finds an improvement in law for the benefit of mankind." Those eternal words are a fitting tribute to an ordinary American who believed in justice and pursued it with a passion. Gideon's Trumpet is an interesting and well written recognition of that man and reminds us that there are those rare times when one person can be a catalyst for change.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Gideon's Trumpet Essay - Gideon's Trumpet In Gideon's Trumpet Anthony Lewis documents Clarence Earl Gideon's struggle for a lawyer, during an era where it was not necessary in the due process to appoint an attorney to those convicted. Anthony Lewis was born in New York City on March 27th, 1927. As a prominent liberal, Lewis is responsible for several legal works such as, Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment, The Supreme Court and How It Works: The Story of the Gideon Case, and Portrait of a Decade: The Second American Revolution....   [tags: Literature Gideon's Trumpet] 1105 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gideon's Trumpet Essay - Gideon’s Trumpet      Gideon’s Trumpet is the true story of a man named Clarence Earl Gideon, a semiliterate drifter who is arrested for burglary and petty theft. The book takes it’s readers back through one man’s moving account that became a constitutional landmark. Gideon’s Trumpet was written to recall the history behind the Gideon v. Wainwright court case and how it made such an enormous impact on United States law.      On the night of June 3, 1961, Clearance Gideon broke into a pool room and smashed a cigarette machine and a juke box, taking some money from both and cigarettes....   [tags: Clarence Earl Gideon Gideon v. Wainwright] 661 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Gideon's Trumpet Essay - Gideon’s Trumpet On the morning of January 8th 1962, the Supreme Court received mail from prisoner 003826 of Florida State Prison, also known as Clarence Earl Gideon. In the envelope contained a hand written letter with questionable grammar from Gideon claiming that he was denied a fair trial due to the absence of a lawyer. Gideon’s writ of certiorari was an in forma pauperis petition or pauper’s petition. Due to the fact that most paupers’ petitions are from inmates who do not have the legal means to properly file a certiorari, the Court had special methods of handling cases such as Gideon’s....   [tags: Clarence Earl Gideon, supreme court]
:: 6 Works Cited
1561 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Anthony Trollope's: An Eye for an Eye Essay - Anthony Trollope's: An Eye for an Eye Anthony Trollope's intense commitment to drawing for his readers a picture of the world as it actually is, to creating a fictional reality in which they "might recognise human beings like to themselves" (Autobiography 145), can obscure the depth and sincerity of his concern with the moral dilemmas confronting the characters he has so painstakingly rendered lifelike. But as the startlingly candid passage quoted above from the Autobiography reveals, Trollope's purposes in his fiction are not merely descriptive, but normative as well; he sets out both to show us "the way we live now" and to direct our attention to questions that are in the broadest sense...   [tags: Ethics Morals Anthony Trollope]
:: 4 Works Cited
4611 words
(13.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay - Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Choice and free will are necessary to maintain humanity, both individually and communally; without them, man is no longer human but a “clockwork orange”, a mechanical toy, as demonstrated in Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange”. The choice between good and evil is a decision every man must make throughout his life in order to guide his actions and control his future. Forcing someone to be good is not as important as the act of someone choosing to be good....   [tags: Anthony Burgess Clockwork Orange Essays] 1483 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis Essays - The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis         The Abolition of Man is perhaps the best defense of natural law to be       published in the twentieth century. The book is outstanding not because       its ideas are original, but because it presents so clearly the common       sense of the subject, brilliantly encapsulating the Western natural law       tradition in all its Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian glory. Interestingly,       Lewis' defense of objective morality here resonates not only with ideas       from the giants of Western thought (including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine,       and Aquinas), but also draws on the wisdom of the East, including Confucius...   [tags: Lewis Abolition of Man Essays] 1199 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis - Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis In the novel Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis touches upon various issues that characterize American society. Marriage was one of these various issues that Lewis focused on. In the story, George Babbitt was married and his best friend, Paul Riesling, was married. They both seemed uneasy about their marriages and were not pleased with their situations. George always seemed to care less for Myra, "she was as sexless as an anemic nun... no one, save [except] Tinka, was all interested in her or entirely aware that she was alive" (Lewis 7)....   [tags: Lewis Babbitt Essays] 1724 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis Essay - "Arrowsmith", by Sinclair Lewis In the novel "Arrowsmith", by Sinclair Lewis, written in 1925, one can read of our world's lack of idealism in science, most often found in the medical profession (Encarta, 1). This book portrays the times in terms of scientific advancement not being idealistic, mostly in the medical field. Our scientists could not come up with their own ideas and our progress was going nowhere, fast. Although, today we are advancing so rapidly that we have no choice but to move and experiment, there is no time to slow down and copy old works....   [tags: Sinclair Lewis Arrowsmith ] 1817 words
(5.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Lewis Carroll Essay - Lewis Carroll Lewis Carroll is a well known and talked about author, whose writings have stirred up much controversy. His work has inspired ballot, puppet shows, and even music videos. (Vink). Lewis Carroll is an outstanding English writer because of his background, his position in English literature, and his many works, such as his novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” “‘Lewis Carroll,’ as he was to become known, was born on January 27, 1832 (Leach 1). He was raised on a parsonage that was located in the middle of a cornfield....   [tags: Lewis Carroll Biography Biographies Essays] 1784 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
gideon Essay - gideon Gideon v. Wainwright What most people don't know is that in the past those arrested for a crime did not really have "the right to an attorney" unless they had money. This became a right because Clarence Gideon, a prison inmate who did not have the money for a lawyer, took a pencil in his hand and wrote his own petition to the United States Supreme Court. Clarence Gideon, without a lawyer, took his case to the highest court in the country and won important rights for all of us. In 1961, Clarence Gideon was arrested in Florida on a charge of breaking and entering into a pool hall....   [tags: essays papers] 784 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]