Benjamin R. Tucker : American Father of Individualist Anarchism

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(1854 - 1939)


An individualist Anarchist, Tucker (1854Ð1939) was a person of intellect rather than of action, focusing on the development of his ideas and on the publication of books and journals, especially the journal Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order...

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From : Anarchy Archives


"It has ever been the tendency of power to add to itself, to enlarge its sphere, to encroach beyond the limits set for it..."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888

"...Anarchism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by individuals or voluntary associations, and that the State should be abolished."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888

"The evil to which this [tariff] monopoly gives rise might more properly be called misusury than usury, because it compels labor to pay, not exactly for the use of capital, but rather for the misuse of capital."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888

"If the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny. Hence the necessity of abolishing the State."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888

"But although, viewing the divine hierarchy as a contradiction of Anarchy, they do not believe in it, the Anarchists none the less firmly believe in the liberty to believe in it. Any denial of religious freedom they squarely oppose."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888

"Even in so delicate a matter as that of the relations of the sexes the Anarchists do not shrink from the application of their principle. They acknowledge and defend the right of any man and woman, or any men and women, to love each other for as long or as short a time as they can, will, or may. To them legal marriage and legal divorce are equal absurdities."

From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1888


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About Benjamin R. Tucker

 Benjamin R. Tucker 1

Benjamin R. Tucker 1

Introduced to Anarchism, labor reform, and free love by Ezra Heywood in Massachusetts, Tucker was also particularly influenced by Josiah Warren.  An individualist Anarchist, Tucker (1854-1939) was a person of intellect rather than of action, focusing on the development of his ideas and on the publication of books and journals, especially the journal Liberty:  Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order (1881-1908).  Tucker summarized his philosophy by stating, "The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that 'the best government is that which governs least,' and that which governs least is no government at all. Besides publishing the writings of the leading individualist anarchists and many other radicals, Liberty was probably the earliest American magazine to publish Nietzsche and George Bernard Shaw.  Besides Liberty, Tucker operated an ambitious book publishing program.  He translated into English and published a long list of radical works, including What is Property?, of Pierre Joseph Proudhon.  He also translated and published Bakunin's God and the State, Chernyshevsky's What Is To Be Done? and Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata.  He published Max Stirner's The Ego and His Own, as well as works by Oscar Wilde, Herbert Spencer, Emile Zola, John Henry Mackay, and many others.  After a disastrous fire in New York City in 1908 destroyed his warehouse and Unique Book Shop, Tucker left the United States for France, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

From : Anarchy Archives


This person has authored 230 documents, with 345,190 words or 2,225,534 characters.

Feb 19, 1907 Dear Mr. [George] Schumm: As to the sentence about the rich and the poor giving up themselves, I was to blame for the false rendering. But now that I know from you the meaning, I know also that both you and Byington conspicuously fail to express that meaning. I do not understand, however, why Stirner should say such a thing. I thought the whole purpose of the book was to show that it is not beneficially to anybody to give up themselves. I now render it as follows (and, if wrong, should be corrected at once ): “Why should the rich let go their fleeces and give up themselves , though a similar course could be followed advantageously by the poor?” When I see you (next Saturday evening_ why I... (From :
Source: Benjamin R.Tucker Papers, New York Public Library;Transcribed: by Mitchell Abidor. Villa “a Lujerneta" Pont Ste Devote Principality of Monaco April 11,1936 To the Editor of the American Journal of Sociology: The University of Chicago Chicago, Ill. Sir: In view of the tissue of falsehoods (I purposely refrain from saying “lies” by the advice of a beloved friend and the cautious Webster) that you have printed about me in your issue of January 1936, there is little wonder that you do not wish to be addressed individually. But, whoever you may be, I shall not allow you to escape responsibility, since I know that the writer knows, and therefore writes with malice prepense. If his air of cold impartiality has de... (From :
c/o Carlone. 8, ave de Verdun Nice (A-M) France Feb 25, 1927 Mr. Samuel Roth, Two Worlds Publishing: Sir: A friend of mine in America has sent me a copy of the “Two Worlds Monthly” containing the first installment of my translation of “A Chambermaid’s Diary.” It is perfectly proper to publish my translation, but it is decidedly improper to do so without accompanying it with my name as translator. In fact, such conduct is an indecency beneath contempt. The example has been set by the house of Mali and Liverwrong, which has recently split up. Perhaps you are yourself the offshoot. The fact of multiplication by mere splitting up is characteristic of the order of protozoa, ...
Dec 23, 1914 Dear Labadie; Bool says that you wish to know my reasons for favoring the Allies. I favor the Allies because I pity the Belgian people, because I admire the British influences that make or liberty, because I feel some (tho I regret to say a decreasing) concern for the future of the American people, because I have considerable sympathy or the people of Russia, and because I hate and fear the German people as a nation of domineering brutes bent on turning the whole world into a police-ridden paradise of the Prussian pattern. I have numerous other reasons for favoring the allies, but the above is the main reason and a sufficient one. You see, I don’t love everybody as you and Bool do. My love is limited ... (From :
October 2, 1914 London Dear Mr Schumm: I have heard from the Hetzels (as indeed you have written me yourself) that you think me mistaken regarding Nietzsche’s responsibility for the war. I enclose a letter from wm. Archer to Gerhardt Hauptmann, showing that not only archer, but Hauptmann himself, takes my view. How do you account for the writings of Treitschke, Bernhardi, H. S. Chamberlain, and others? Are not these evidently an outgrowth of the reading of Nietzsche? And have these not dictated the military policy of Germany? It is no answer to argue that Nietzsche meant this, or that, or the other. The apologists for E.G. use the same argument when confronted with the acts of her disciples. In both cases t... (From :
January 3, 1935 To my dear friends Rose Freeman Ishill and Joseph Ishill: Great and glorious was my surprise at receiving yesterday the three beautiful booklets, for which you have my heartfelt thanks. Cunninghame Graham has long been an object of my especial admiration, though I have not the honor of his acquaintance. But a notable occasion marks my memory of [William] Morris. In his home at Hammersmith, in 1889, I sat one Sunday evening at a midnight supper. Morris himself was alone, at the head of the table. At his right sat Belfort Bax, whom thirty-five years later I knew intimately at Nice. I sat at Bax’s right, and at my right sat May Morris. Opposite her sat her lover, Sparling, and at his right, opposite B... (From :
November 25, 1927 Dear Mr. Schumm: I wrote you of the proposition of the National Institute for the Blind regarding ‘The Ego and His Own.’ It turns out to be a bit less encouraging than the first letters to Fifield indicated. Not bad, though, after all. What it amounts to is this; a copy is to be cut in raised type, by hand, by a volunteer, for Helen Keller, and a duplicate is to be put in the general library of raised type for the blind. I suppose, then, that Helen Keller is interested, or, if not, that some enthusiastic person hopes to interest her. One sees now in Russia the perfect realization of “peace at any price,’ a land that knows not hate, the flowering of the gospel of universal love, ... (From :
May 2, 1907 Dear Mr. Schumm: I am expecting you as usual next Saturday evening. I have just read with interest your well-written letter in tonight’s “Post,” but I don’t agree with it. It seems to me idealistic, based on illusion. A proposal that the United States, for instance, should straightaway abolish its army and navy must be made either by one who does, or by one who does not, value the national existence as such. Your comparison with Roosevelt, since it implies a comparison of different means with a view to one and the same end, indicates that in the “Post” you are arguing from the position of one who does not value the national existence, for that of course is the end t... (From :
Van Buren Denslow, discussing in the Truth Seeker the comparative rewards of labor and capital, points out that the present wage system divides profits about evenly between the two, instancing the railways of Illinois, which pay annually in salaries and wages $81,936,170, and to capital, which Mr. Denslow defines as the "labor previously done in constructing and equipping the roads," $81,720,265. Then he remarks: "No system of intentional profit-sharing is more equal than this, provided we assent to the principle that a day’s work already done and embodied in the form of capital is as well entitled to compensation for its use as a day’s work not yet done, which we call labor." Exactly. But the principle referred to is the very t... (From :


April 17, 1854 :
Birth Day.

June 22, 1939 :
Death Day.

November 16, 2016 ; 4:52:47 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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April 21, 2019 ; 5:06:11 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on


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