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 1,097,277 words or 6,749,384 characters.

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (8,224 Words / 49,128 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 the feebleness of childhood, and the imbecility of inexperience. Civil society is great and unlimited in its extent; t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1794 ~ (11,234 Words / 68,439 Characters)
CURSORY STRICTURES ON THE CHARGE DELIVERED BY LORD CHIEF JUSTICE EYRE TO THE GRAND JURY, OCTOBER 2 , 1794. =========================================== 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 Eyre, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. It is one of the first priv... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 ~ (28,761 Words / 169,186 Characters)
DAMON AND DELIA: A TALE. --NEQUE SEMPER ARCUM TENDIT APOLLO. HOR. LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. HOOKHAM, AT HIS CIRCULATING LIBRARY, NEW BOND-STREET, 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. (From : Gutenberg.org.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (8,612 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 WITH THE 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... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- BOOK IV OF THE OPERATION OF OPINION IN SOCIETIES AND INDIVIDUALS CHAPTER I OF RESISTANCE Having now made some progress in the inquiry originally instituted, it may be proper to look back, and consider the point at which we are arrived. We have examined, in the first place, the powers of man as they relate to the subject of which we treat; secondly, we have delineated the principles of society, as founded in justice and general interest, independently of, and antecedent to, every species of political government; and, lastly, have endeavored to ascertain the fundamental conditions which must belong to the most rational system of government. We might now proceed to investigate the different objects of government, and deduce the inferences respecting them which are pointed out to us by the preceding reasonings. But there are various miscellaneous considerations which, tho...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1793 BOOK V OF Legislative and Executive Power CHAPTER V OF COURTS AND MINISTERS Systematical monopoly of confidence. - Charac- ter of ministers and their dependents. - Dupticiy of courts. - Venality and corruption. - Universality of this principle. WE shall be better enabled to judge of the dispositions with which information is communicated, and measures are executed, in monarchical countries, if we reflect upon another of the ill consequences attendant upon this species of government, the existence and corruption of courts. The character of this, as well as of every other human institution, arises out of the circumstances with which it is surrounded. Ministers and favorites are a sort of people who have a state prisoner in their custody, the whole management of whose understanding and actions they can easily engross. This they completely effect with a weak and credulous mas...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1805 FLEETWOOD; or, THE NEW MAN OF FEELING. by WILLIAM GODWIN. CHAPTER IV IN this place I feel inclined to relate one of those stories of ingenious intellectual victory, as they considered them, of dull and unfeeling brutality, as they really were, in which too many of my college contemporaries prided themselves. A young man, during my residence at the university, entered himself of our college, who was judged by the gayer Oxonians singularly weir formed to be the butt of their ridicule. The dress in which he made his appearance among us was ungainly and ludicrous: the flaps of his waistcoat extended to his knees, and those of his coat almost to his heels: his black, coarse, shining hair, parted on the forehead, was every where of equal length, and entirely buried his ears beneath its impervious canopy. He had hitherto been brought up in solitude under the sol...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (15,391 Words / 144,697 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. LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. MURRAY, NO. 32, FLEET-STREET. M DCC LXXXIV. TO THE... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1783 ~ (26,457 Words / 167,178 Characters)
Godwin, William . 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 COUNCI... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 From: William Godwin . Imogen: A Pastoral 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 his...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1784 ~ (13,055 Words / 74,904 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... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1834 ~ (111,519 Words / 675,566 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 Gutenberg, and how to get involved. Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971 These eBooks Were Prepar... (From : Project Gutenberg.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1797 ~ (5,656 Words / 35,582 Characters)
Note: Godwin wrote this piece, according to a note in the manuscript, "while the Enquirer 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 composed. It is curious, and it is important, to trace the progress of mankind from the savage to the civilized state; to observe the points of similitude between the savages of America and the s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1820 Godwin, William. Of Population. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, Paternoster Row, 1820. CHAPTER III. GENERAL VIEWS AS TO THE ALLEGED INCREASE OF MANKIND. To take a just view of any subject, one rule that is extremely worthy of our attention is, that we should get to a proper distance from it. The stranger to whom we would convey an adequate image of the city of London, we immediately lead to the top of St. Paul's Church. And, if I may introduce an allusion to the records of the Christian religion, the devil took our Savior "up into an exceeding high mountain," when he would "shew him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them." Mr. Malthus has taken his stand upon the reports of Dr. Franklin, and Dr. Ezra Styles. He repairs with them to the northern parts of the United States of America, and there he sees, or thinks he sees, "the population doubling itself, for above a century and a hal...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1797 ~ (22,567 Words / 136,119 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 reason for this. Virtue is essential to individual happiness. There is no transport equal to that of the performance of virtue. All other happiness, which is not connec... (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 ~ (20,881 Words / 131,063 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 afforded a topic for the exercise of this malignity has been the Inquiry Concerning Political Justice. This book made its appearance in February 1793; its reception with the public was favo... (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 considerable degree unoccupied in my character of an author, and had de...

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.

April 21, 2019 ; 5:00:15 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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