William Godwin : Respected Anarchist Philosopher and Sociologist of the Enlightenment Era

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(1756 - 1836)


His most famous work, An Inquiry concerning Political Justice, appeared in 1793, inspired to some extent by the political turbulence and fundamental restructuring of governmental institutions underway in France. Godwin's belief is that governments are fundamentally inimical to the integrity of the human beings living under their strictures...

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From : University of Pennsylvania Bio


"Anarchy and darkness will be the original appearance. But light shall spring out of the noon of night; harmony and order shall succeed the chaos."

From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin

"Courts are so encumbered and hedged in with ceremony, that the members of them are always prone to imagine that the form is more essential and indispensable, than the substance."

From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin

"Fickleness and instability, your lordship will please to observe, are of the very essence of a real statesman."

From : "Instructions to a Statesman," by William Godwin


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About William Godwin

William Godwin (3 March 1756 -- 7 April 1836) was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism. Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacks aristocratic privilege, but also is the first mystery novel. Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s. In the ensuing conservative reaction to British radicalism, Godwin was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death from childbirth. His daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Godwin wrote prolifically in the genres of novels, history and demography throughout his lifetime. With his second wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, he wrote children's primers on Biblical and classical history, which he published along with such works as Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare. Using the pseudonym Edward Baldwin, he wrote a variety of books for children, including a version of Jack and the Beanstalk. He also has had considerable influence on British literature and literary culture.

From : Wikipedia


This person has authored 228 documents, with 1,097,694 words or 6,773,690 characters.

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (8,223 Words / 49,133 Characters)
AN ACCOUNT OF THE SEMINARY That will be opened On Monday the Fourth Day of AUGUST, At EPSOM in SURREY, For the INSTRUCTION of TWELVE PUPILS IN The GREEK, LATIN, FRENCH, and ENGLISH Languages. LONDON: Printed for T.CADELL, in the Strand. M.DCC.LXXXIII. Of whom information respecting other particulars may be received. AN ACCOUNT OF THE SEMINARY, &c. THE two principal objects of human power are government and education. They have accordingly engrossed a very large share in the disquisitions of the speculative in all ages. The subject of the former indeed is man, already endowed with his greatest force of body, and arrived at the exercise of his intellectual powers: the subject of the latter is man, as yet shut up in ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1794 ~ (11,236 Words / 68,821 Characters)
CURSORY STRICTURES ON THE CHARGE DELIVERED BY LORD CHIEF JUSTICE EYRE TO THE GRAND JURY, OCTOBER 2 , I794. =========================================== FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE MORNING CHRONICLE OCTOBER 21 =========================================== LONDON: PRINTED FOR C. AND G. KEARSLWY, N0. 46, FLEET STREET. ______ 1794. ______ CURSORY STRICTURES, &c. A Special Commission was opened on the second day of October, for the trial of certain persons apprehended upon suspicion of High Treason, the greater part of whom were taken into custody in the month of May 1794. Upon this occasion a charge was delivered to the Grand Jury, by Sir James Eyr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 ~ (28,760 Words / 169,275 Characters)
DAMON AND DELIA: A TALE. --NEQUE SEMPER ARCUM TENDIT APOLLO. HOR. LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. HOOKHAM, AT HIS CIRCULATING LIBRARY, NEW BOND-STEET, CORNER OF BRUTON-STREET. M,DCC,LXXXIV. CONTENTS PART the FIRST. CHAPTER I. Containing introductory Matter. CHAPTER II. A Ball CHAPTER III. A Ghost. CHAPTER IV. A love Scene. CHAPTER V. A Man of Humour. CHAPTER VI. Containing some Specimens of Heroism. CHAPTER VII. Containing that with which the Reader will be acquainted when he has read it. CHAPTER VIII. Two Persons of Fashion. CHAPTER IX. A tragical Resolution. CONTENTS. PART (From : Gutenberg.org.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (8,611 Words / 51,582 Characters)
A D E F E N C E OF THE ROCKINGHAM PARTY, IN THEIR LATE C O A L I T I O N WITHTHE RIGHT HONOURABLE FREDERIC LORD NORTH. ------------------------------------ LONDON: Printed for J. STOCKDALE, opposite Burlington House, Piccadilly. 1783. [Price One Shilling and Sixpence.] Entered at Stationers Hall. A D E F E N C E OF THE ROCKINGHAM PARTY, &c. &c. &c. ---------------- THE present reign will certainly appear to our posterity full of the noblest materials for history. Many circumstances seem to have pointed it out as a very critical period. The general diffusion of science has, in some degree, enlightened the minds of all men, (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- BOOK II PRINCIPALS OF SOCIETY CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION In the preceding book we have cleared the foundations for the remaining branches of inquiry, and shown what are the prospects it is reasonable to entertain as to future political improvement. The effects which are produced by positive institutions have there been delineated, as well as the extent of the powers of man, considered in his social capacity. It is time that we proceed to those disquisitions which are more immediately the object of the present work. Political inquiry may be distributed under two heads: first, what are the regulations which will conduce to the well being of man in society; and, secondly, what is the authority which is competent to prescribe regulations. The regulations to which the conduct of men living in society ought to be conf...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1793 BOOK IIIPrinciples of GovernmentCHAPTER III OF PROMISES Promises not the foundation of morality - are absolutely considered, an evil - are of unfrequent necessity. - Imperfect promises unavoidable. - Perfect promises in some cases necessary.-Obligation of promises - of the same nature as the obligation not to invade. another man's property - admits of gradations. - Recapitulation. - Application. THE whole principle of an original contract rests upon the obligation under which we are conceived to be placed to observe our promises. The reasoning upon which it is founded is "that we have promised obedience to government, and therefore are bound to obey." The doctrine of a social contract would never have been thought worth the formality of an argument had it not been presumed to be one of our first and paramount obligations to perform our engagements. It may be proper therefore to inquire into the...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1805 FLEETWOOD; or, THE NEW MAN OF FEELING. ____ by WILLIAM GODWIN. CHAPTER III      AT the usual age I entered myself of the university of Oxford. I felt no strong propensity to this change; but I submitted to it, as to a thing in the regular order of proceeding, and to which it would be useless to object. I was so much accustomed to self-conversation as to have little inclination to mix in the world; and was to such a degree satisfied with my abilities, and progress, and capacity of directing my own studies and conduct, as not to look with any eager craving for the advice and assistance of professors and doctors.      In setting out for the university, I was to part with my father and my preceptor. The first of these was a bitter pang to me: I had scarcely, from the earliest of my remembrance, ever been a week ...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (15,390 Words / 145,092 Characters)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (26,459 Words / 167,423 Characters)
Godwin, William (1783). The History of the Life of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. London: Printed for the author, and sold by G. Kearsley. Dublin: Potts, Wilson, Walker and Byrne. pp. i - xvii. THE H I S T O R Y OF THE L I F E OF W I L L I A M  P I T T, EARL OF CHATHAM ---------------------------------------------- QUANTO MAGIS ADMIRAREMINI, SI AUDISSETIS IPSUM! Cicero ---------------------------------------------- D U B L I N: PRINTED FOR MESSRS. POTTS, WILSON, WALKER, AND BYRNE. --------------------- M,DCC,LXXXIII, TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, Lord CAMDEN, LORD PRESIDENT OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL: (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 From: William Godwin (1784). Imogen: A Pastorial Romance From the Ancient British. PREFACE If we could allow ourselves in that license of conjecture, which is become almost inseparable from the character of an editor, we should say: That Milton having written it upon the borders of Wales, might have had easy recourse to the manuscript whose contents are now first given to the public: And that the singularity of preserving the name of the place where it was first performed in the title of his poem, was intended for an ingenuous and well-bred acknowledgement of the source from whence he drew his choicest materials.  But notwithstanding the plausibility of these conjectures, we are now inclined to give up our original opinion, and to ascribe the performance to a gentleman of Wales, who lived so late as the reign of king William the third. The name of this amiable person was Rice ap Thomas. The romance was certainly at one time in hi...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 ~ (13,054 Words / 74,925 Characters)
I N S T R U C T I O N S TO   A S T A T E S M A N. HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO T H E   R I G H T   H O N O U R A B L E GEORGE EARL TEMPLE. ---------------- LO N D O N: Printed for J. MURRAY, Fleet-Street; J. DEBRETT, Piccadilly; and J. SEWELL, Cornhill. M.DCC.LXXXIV. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE GEORGE EARL TEMPLE. MY LORD, THE following papers fell into my hands by one of those unaccountable accidents, so frequent in human life, but which in the relation appear almost incredible. I will not however trouble your lordship with the story. If they be worthy of the press, it is of no great consequence to the public how they found their wa (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1834 ~ (111,519 Words / 675,903 Characters)
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lives of the Necromancers, by William Godwin Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook. This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the header without written permission. Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenb... (From : Project Gutenberg.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1797 ~ (5,655 Words / 35,922 Characters)
Note: Godwin wrote this piece, according to a note in the manuscript, "while the Enquirer [1797] was in the press, under the impression that the favor of the public might have demanded another volume." The study of history may well be ranked among those pursuits which are most worthy to be chosen by a rational being. The study of history divides itself into two principal branches; the study of mankind in a mass, of the progress the fluctuations, the interests and the vises of society; and the study of the individual. The history of a nation might be written in the first of these senses, entirely in terms of abstraction, and without descending so much as to name one of those individuals to which the nation is c... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1820 Godwin, William. Of Population. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, Paternoster Row, 1820. CHAPTER XI. General View of the Arguments against the Increase of Mankind Mr. Malthus's theory is certainly of a peculiar structure, and it is somewhat difficult to account for the success it has met with. The subject is population. It has been agreed among the best philosophers in Europe, especially from the time of Lord Bacon to the present day, that the proper basis of all our knowledge respecting man and nature, respecting what has been in times that are past, and what may be expected in time to come, is experiment. This standard is peculiarly applicable to the subject of population. Mr. Malthus seems in one respect fully to concur in this way of viewing the subject. There are two methods of approaching the question, the first, by deriving our ideas respecting it from the volumes of sacred writ, a...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1797 ~ (22,566 Words / 136,338 Characters)
William Godwin, The Enquirer. Reflections On Education, Manners, And Literature. In A Series Of Essays. London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1797. The Enquirer. Part I. Essay I. Of Awakening the Mind The true object of education, like that of every other moral process, is the generation of happiness. Happiness to the individual in the first place. If individuals were universally happy, the species would be happy. Man is a social being. In society the interests of individuals are interwisted with each other, and cannot be separated. Men should be taught to assist each other. The first object should be to train a man to be happy; the second to train him to be useful, that is, to be virtuous. There is a further rea... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1793 PREFACE     The following narrative is intended to answer a purpose, more general and important than immediately appears upon the face of it. The question now afloat in the world respecting THINGS AS THEY ARE, is the most interesting that can be presented to the human mind. While one party pleads for reformation and change, the other extols, m the warmest terms, the existing constitution of society. It seemed as if something would be gained for the decision of this question, if that constitution were faithfully developed in its practical effects. What is now presented to the public, is no refined and abstract speculation; it is a study and delineation of things passing in the moral world. It is but of late that the inestimable importance of political principles has been adequately apprehended. It is now known to philosophers, that the spirit and character of the government intrudes itself into every rank of society. But this is a truth...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1800 ~ (20,879 Words / 131,261 Characters)
This work is part of the International Institute for Social History collection and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. Thoughts Occasioned By The Perusal Of Dr. Parr's Spital Sermon, Preached At Christ Church, April 15, 1800: Being A Reply to the Attacks of Dr. Parr, Mr. Mackintosh, the Author of an Essay On Population, and Others. by William Godwin LONDON: Printed by Taylor and Wilks, Chancery-Lane; and sold by G.G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row. 1801.        I HAVE now continued for some years a silent, not an inattentive, spectator of the flood of ribaldry, invective and intolerance which has been poured out against me and my writings. The work which has principally aff... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1831 THOUGHTS ON MAN, HIS NATURE, PRODUCTIONS AND DISCOVERIES INTERSPERSED WITH SOME PARTICULARS RESPECTING THE AUTHOR by WILLIAM GODWIN Oh, the blood more stirs To rouse a lion, than to start a hare! - SHAKESPEARE LONDON: EFFINGHAM WILSON, ROYAL EXCHANGE. 1831. PREFACE In the ensuing volume I have attempted to give a defined and permanent form to a variety of thoughts, which have occurred to my mind in the course of thirty-four years, it being so long since I published a volume, entitled, the Enquirer,--thoughts, which, if they have presented themselves to other men, have, at least so far as I am aware, never been given to the public through the medium of the press. During a part of this period I had remained to a considera...


March 03, 1756 :
Birth Day.

April 07, 1836 :
Death Day.

November 15, 2016 ; 4:36:00 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 13, 2018 ; 4:34:57 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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