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

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(1756 - 1836)

Description

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

Quotes

"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

Biography


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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

Works

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 -- Inquiry Concerning Political Justice by William Godwin 1793 ENQUIRY CONCERNING POLITICAL JUSTICE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON MODERN MORALS AND HAPPINESS BOOK I: OF THE POWERS OF MAN CONSIDERED IN HIS SOCIAL CAPACITY CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The object proposed in the following work is an investigation concerning that form of public or political society, that system of intercourse and reciprocal action, extending beyond the bounds of a single family, which shall be found most to conduce to the general benefit. How may the peculiar and independent operation of each individual in the social state most effectually be preserved? How may the security each man ought to possess, as to his life, and the employment of his faculties according to the dictates of his own understanding, be most certainly defended from invasion? How may ...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1793 BOOK IIIPrinciples of GovernmentCHAPTER V OF LEGISLATION Society can declare and interpret, but cannot enact. - Its authority only executive. HAVING thus far investigated the nature of political functions, it seems necessary that some explanation should be given upon the subject of legislation. "Who is it that has authority to make laws? What are the characteristics of that man or body of men in whom the tremendous faculty is vested of prescribing to the rest of the community what they are to perform, and what to avoid?" The answer to these questions is exceedingly simple: Legislation, as it has been usually understood, is not an affair of human competence. Immutable reason is the true legislator, and her decrees it behooves us to investigate. The functions of society extend, not to the making, but the interpreting of law; it cannot decree, it can only declare that which the nature of things has...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1805 FLEETWOOD; or, THE NEW MAN OF FEELING. ____ by WILLIAM GODWIN. CHAPTER V      IT is not my purpose to convert these honest pages into a record of dissipations; far less, of the rude and unseemly dissipations of an overgrown boy. There are few ebaracters more repulsive than that in which we find conjoined the fresh and ingenuous lineaments of a young man, in whom the down has scarcely yet shaded his prosperous cheek, with the impudence of a practiced libertine. I look back upon it with horror. Youth, if once it has broken through the restraints of decorum, is the minister of cruelty. Even in me, whose disposition was naturally kind and humane, there was too much of this. It is suffering only that can inspire us with true sympathy, that can render us alive to those trifles which constitute so large a portion of earthly misery or happiness, that can give us a feeling of th...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (15,390 Words / 145,092 Characters)
THE HERALD OF LITERATURE. [PRICE TWO SHILLINGS.] THE HERALD OF LITERATURE; OR, A REVIEW OF THE MOST CONSIDERABLE PUBLICATIONS THAT WILL BE MADE IN THE COURSE OF THE ENSUING WINTER: WITH EXTRACTS.        *       *       *       *       * ... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

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. ENQUIRY CONCERNING POPULATION BOOK I. OF THE POPULATION OF EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, AND SOUTH AMERICA, IN ANCIENT AND MODERN TIMES. CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. Mr. Malthus has published what he calls an Essay on the Principle of Population, by which he undertakes to annul every thing that had previously been received, respecting the views that it is incumbent upon those who preside over political society to cherish, and the measures that may conduce to the happiness of mankind. His theory is evidently founded upon nothing. He says, that "population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty-five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio.a" If we ask why we are to believe this, he answers that, "in the northern states of...

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 From: Thoughts on Man, His Nature, Productions and Discoveries Interspersed with some Particulares Respecting the Author by William Godwin ESSAY I OF BODY AND MIND THE PROLOGUE There is no subject that more frequently occupies the attention of the contemplative than man: yet there are many circumstances concerning him that we shall hardly admit to have been sufficiently considered. Familiarity breeds contempt. That which we see every day and every hour, it is difficult for us to regard with admiration. To almost every one of our stronger emotions novelty is a necessary ingredient. The simple appetites of our nature may perhaps form an exception. The appetite for food is perpetually renewed in a healthy subject with scarcely any diminution and love, even the most refined, being combined with one of our original impulses, will sometimes for that reason withstand a thousand trials, and perpetuate itself for...

Chronology

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) :
Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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