Free Political Institutions

By Lysander Spooner (1912)

Entry 1587

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(1808 - 1887)

Individualist Anarchist and Unitarian Christian Abolitionist

: The greatest natural rights thinker of the 19th century was the American lawyer and maverick individualist Lysander Spooner. He responded to the tumultuous events of his era, including the Panic of 1837 and the Civil War, with pamphlets about natural rights, slavery, money, trial by jury and other timely subjects. (From: Jim Powell Bio.)
• "The doctrine that the majority have a right to rule proceeds upon the principle that minorities have no right in the government; for certainly the minority cannot be said to have any rights in a government so long as the majority alone determine what their rights shall be." (From: "Free Political Institutions," by Lysander Spooner.)
• "Again, the doctrine that the minority ought to submit to the will of the majority proceeds, not upon the principle that government is formed by voluntary association and for an agreed purpose on the part of all who contribute to its support, but upon the presumption that all government must be practically a state of war and plunder between opposing parties..." (From: "Free Political Institutions," by Lysander Spooner.)
• "There is no particle of truth in the notion that the majority have a right to rule, or exercise arbitrary power over, the minority simply because the former are more numerous than the latter. Two men have no more natural right to rule one than one has to rule two." (From: "Free Political Institutions," by Lysander Spooner.)

Chapters

9 Chapters | 23,173 Words | 139,453 Characters

PREFACE Perhaps the argument most frequently used by conservative believers in the convenient doctrine of leaving things as they are against those engaged in reformatory efforts of a more or less radical nature is that the "spirit and genius of American institutions" do not admit of the assimilation or acceptance of the proposed innovations. Were one to trust them, the "American institutions" are something so clearly defined, finished, and powerful as to absolutely render it impossible for any inconsistent and discordant element to maintain a vigorous existence within the charmed circle which affords chances of life only to what necessarily and logically flows as a consequence from the fundamental principles supporting the peculiar civil... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 1: LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT AND MAJORITY RULE The theory of free government is that it is formed by the voluntary contract of the people individually with each other. This is the theory (although it is not, as it ought to be, the fact) in all the governments in the United States, as also in the government of England. The theory assumes that each man who is a party to the government, and contributes to its support, has individually and freely consented to it. Otherwise the government woul... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 2: TRIAL BY JURY AS A PALLADIUM OF LIBERTY Such being the principles on which the government is formed, the question arises, how shall this government, when formed, be kept within the limits of the contract by which it was established? How shall this government, instituted by the whole people, agreed to by the whole people, supported by the contributions of the whole people, be confined to the accomplishment of those purposes alone which the whole people desire? How shall it be preser... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 3: TRIAL BY JURY AS DEFINED BY MAGNA CHARTA.-AUTHORITY OF MAGNA CHARTA For more than six hundred years-that is, since Magna Charta in 1215- there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law than that in criminal cases it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused, but that it is also their right and their primary and paramount duty to judge of the justice of the law, an... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 4: OBJECTIONS ANSWERED The following objections will be made to the doctrines and the evidence presented in the preceding chapters. 1. That it is a maxim of the law that the judges respond to the question of law and juries only to the question of fact. The answer to this objection is that since Magna Charta judges have had more than six centuries in which to invent and promulgate pretended maxims to suit themselves, and this is one of them. Instead of expressing the law, it expr... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL INTENT It is a maxim of the common law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent. And it is a perfectly clear principle, although one which judges have in a great measure overthrown in practice, that jurors are to judge of the moral intent of the accused person and hold him guiltless, whatever his act, unless they find him to have acted with a criminal intent; that is, with a design to do what he knew to be criminal. This principle is clear, because the que... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 6: MORAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR JURORS The trial by jury must, if possible, be construed to be such that a man can rightfully sit in a jury and unite with his fellows in giving judgment. But no man can rightfully do this, unless he hold in his own hand alone a veto upon any judgment or sentence whatever to be rendered by the jury against a defendant, which veto he must be permitted to use according to his own discretion and conscience, and not bound to use according to the dictation of ei... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 7: FREE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE The free administration of justice was a principle of the common law; and it must necessarily be a part of every system of government which is not designed to be an engine in the hands of the rich for the oppression of the poor. In saying that the free administration of justice was a principle of the common law, I mean only that parties were subjected to no costs for jurors, witnesses, writs, or other necessaries for the trial, preliminary to the tri... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Free Political Institutions Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance An Abridgment and Rearrangement of Lysander Spooner's "Trial by jury" EDITED BY VICTOR YARROS LONDON C. W. DANIEL, LTD. 3, Amen Corner, E.C. 1912 CHAPTER 8: JURIES OF THE PRESENT DAY ILLEGAL It may probably be safely asserted that there are at this day no legal juries, either in England or America. And if there are no legal juries, there is of course no legal trial or "judgment" by jury. In saying that there are probably no legal juries, I mean that there are probably no juries appointed in conformity with the principles of the common law. The term jury is a technical one, derived from the common law, and when the American constituti... (From: Anarchy Archives.)

Chronology

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1912
Free Political Institutions — Publication.

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February 10, 2017; 5:10:55 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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February 13, 2022; 6:33:43 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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