Lysander Spooner: Individualist Anarchist and Unitarian Christian Abolitionist

January 19, 1808 — May 14, 1887

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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.

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From : Jim Powell Bio

"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


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About Lysander Spooner

 Lysander Spooner 1

Lysander Spooner 1

Lysander Spooner (January 19, 1808 – May 14, 1887) was an American individualist anarchist, political philosopher, essayist, pamphlet writer, Unitarian Christian abolitionist, supporter of the labor movement, legal theorist, and entrepreneur of the nineteenth century. He is also known for competing with the U.S. Post Office with his American Letter Mail Company, which closed after legal problems with the federal government.

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This person has authored 71 documents, with 3,669,044 words or 22,143,185 characters.

1860
Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States Lysander Spooner (Boston: Thayer & Eldridge, 1860). Table of Contents Note to Second Edition. Address. I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. XXIII. XXIV. A Few friends of freedom, who believe the Constitution of the United States to be a sufficient warrant for giving liberty to (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1843
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1843, by LYSANDER SPOONER, In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. CHAP. 1. The Unconstitutionality of all State Laws Re. straining Private Banking and the Bates of Interest. CHAP. 2. What Bank Charters are Unconstitutional. CRAP. 3. What Bank Charters are Constitutional. CHAP. 4. The Power of Congress over the Currency. CHAP. 5. The Remedy for the Laws that restrain Private Banking and the Rates of Interest. CHAP. I. - THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF ALL STATE LAWS RESTRAINING - PRIVATE BANKING AND THE RATES OF INTEREST. The Constitution of the United States, (Art. 1, Sec. 10,) declares that &l... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
1850
A Defense for Fugitive Slaves, against the Acts of Congress of February 12, 1793, and September 18, 1850 (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1850). Lysander Spooner Table of Contents Poverty, Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure.—part I. By Lysander Spooner. Recommendations. Act of Congress of 1793.: An Act Respecting Fugitives From Justice, and Persons Escaping From the Service of Their Masters. Act of Congress of 1850.: An Act to Amend, and Supplementary to the Act, Entitled "an Act Respecting Fugitives From Justice, and Persons Escaping From the Service of Their Masters," Approved February 12, 1793. A Defense For Fugitive Slaves. Chapter I.: Unconstitutionality of the Acts of Congress of 1793 and 1850. Chap... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
The Deist’s Immortality. Deists are led to believe in a future existence, by the consideration, that, without it, our present one would seem to be without aim, end or purpose. As a work of Deity it would appear contemptible. Whereas, by supposing a future life, we can imagine, in our creation, a design worthy of Deity, viz.. to make us finally elevated intellectual and moral beings. They are led to this belief by the further facts, that our natures appear to have been specially fitted for an eternal intellectual and moral advancement; that we are here surrounded by means promotive of that end; and that the principal tendency of the education and impressions, which our minds here receive from the observation and e... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
1852
CHAPTER 1. TRIAL BY JURY. SECTION 1 THE RIGHT OF JURIES TO JUDGE THE JUSTICE OF THE LAWS. SECTION II. CHAPTER II. THE TRIAL BY JURY, AS DEFINED BY MAGNA CARTA. SECTION I. THE HISTORY OF THE MAGNA CARTA SECTION II. THE LANGUAGE OF THE MAGNA CARTA CHAPTER III. ADDITIONAL PROOFS OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF JURORS. SECTION 1. Weakness of the Regal Authority. SECTION II. The Ancient Common Law Juries mere Court of Conscience SECTION III. The Oaths of Jurors SECTION IV. The Right of Juries to fix Sentence. SECTION V. The Oaths of Judges SECTION VI. The Coronation Oath. CHAPTER IV. THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF JURIES IN CIVIL SUITS. CHAPTER V. OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. CHAPTER VI. JURIES OF THE PRESENT DAY ILLEGAL. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1912
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 ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1864
Boston,Oct. 12, 1864.Hon. Charles Sumner,Sir: Some four or five weeks ago, as I was in conversation with Dr. S. G. Howe and James M. Stone, they both mentioned that, on their first reading my argument on "the Unconstitutionality of Slavery," they had been convinced of its truth; and Dr. Howe added, "Sumner always said it was true, but somehow or other he could not think it was practical." A few days afterwards I saw Dr. Howe, and repeated to him what I had understood him to say of you, as above, and asked him whether I had understood him correctly. He said that I had; "that is, he had understood you to say, in effect, that you did not see how my argument could be met." I gave him some of my reasons for wishing his explicit testimony on ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1886
A Letter to Grover Cleveland, on his false Inaugural Address, the Usurpations and Crimes of Lawmakers and Judges, and the consequent Poverty, Ignorance, and Servitude of the People [1886] A LETTER TO GROVER CLEVELAND. Section I. To Grover Cleveland: Sir, Your inaugural address is probably as honest, sensible, and consistent a one as that of any president within the last fifty years, or, perhaps, as any since the foundation of the government. If, therefore, it is false, absurd, self-contradictory, and ridiculous, it is not (as I think) because you are personally less honest, sensible, or consistent than your predecessors, but because the government itself—according to your own description of it, and according to the ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1882
This letter was first appeared in Benjamin Tucker's journal Liberty in 1882. Bayard was a Democratic Senator from the state of Delaware who believed that enlightened people like himself were the fittest to govern in the US. Spooner rejected this idea. A Letter to Thomas Bayard: Challenging his right - and that of all the other so-called Senators and Representatives in Congress - to exercise any Legislative Power whatever over the People of the United States [1882] By Lysander Spooner To Thomas F. Bayard, of Delaware: Sir,— I have read your letter to Rev. Lyman Abbott, in which you express the opinion that it is at least possible for a man to be a legislator, (under the Constitution of the United States), and yet be an h... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
Natural Law. Lysander Spooner Part First. Chapter 1. The Science of Justice. Section I. The science of mine and thine — the science of justice — is the science of all human rights; of all a man's rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person. It is the science of peace; and the only science of peace; since it is the science which alone can tell us on what conditions mankind can live in peace, or ought to live in peace, with each other. These conditions are simply th... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1873
A NEW BANKING SYSTEM THE NEEDFUL CAPITAL FOR REBUILDING THE BURNT DISTRICT By LYSADNER SPOONER. BOSTON: SOLD BY A. WILLIAMS & CO. 135 WASHINGTON SREET 1873 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, By LYSANDER SPOONER, In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. Printed by WARREN RICHARDSON, 112 Washington St. C O N T E N T S. CHAPTER I. A New Banking System CHAPTER II. Specie Payments CHAPTER III. No Inflation Prices CHAPTER IV. Security of the System CHAPTER V. The System as a Credit System CHAPTER VI. Amount of Currency Needed CHAPTER VII. Importance of the System to Massachusetts, CHAPTER VIII. The True Character of the "Nationa... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1867
No Treason I (1867) Lysander Spooner Table of Contents Introductory. No Treason. No. 1. I. II. III. IV. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, By LYSANDER SPOONER, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of Massachusetts. INTRODUCTORY. The question of treason is distinct from that of slavery; and is the same that it would have been, if free States, instead of slave States, had seceded. On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate the slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could be thereby induced to stay i... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1867
No Treason II Lysander Spooner (1867) Table of Contents No Treason. No. II. I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, By LYSANDER SPOONER, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of Massachusetts. NO TREASON. NO. II. I. The Constitution says:"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our post (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1870
No Treason VI Lysander Spooner (1870) Table of Contents No Treason. No. VI.: The Constitution of No Authority. I. II. III. Iv V VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. Appendix. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, By LYSANDER SPOONER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of Massachusetts. The first and second numbers of this series were published in 1867. For reasons not necessary to be explaine (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1846
Lysander Spooner, Poverty: Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cures. Boston: Bela Marsh, No. 25 Cornhill. 1846. CHAPTER 3: ECONOMICAL RESULTS FROM THE PRECEDING PROPOSITIONS The last four of the preceding propositions assert the following principles, to wit: 1. The right of the parties to contracts to make their own bargains in regard to the rate of interest. 2. The right of free competition in the business of banking. 3. That the legal obligation of a debt, with specific exceptions, is extinguished by the debtor's making payment to the extent of his means, when the debt becomes due. 4. That the several creditors of the same debtor hold successive liens upon his property, for the full amount ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
THOMAS DREW vs. JOHN M. CLARK. ARGUMENT FOR PETITIONER. Lysander Spooner The alleged contempt for which the petitioner was condemned consisted in his refusal to be sworn before a committee of the legislature; not in his refusal to answer questions after he had been sworn, but in his refusal to be sworn. His objection to being sworn did not arise from any conscientious scruples as to taking an oath; nor from any fear of criminating himself; nor from any objection whatever to testifying before a committee of the legislature; nor from any objection to testifying in regard to any subject-matter whatever which the legislature has authority to investigate by compulsory testimony. He concedes fully that, if anybody could be compelled t... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1860
THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF SLAVERY BY LYSANDER SPOONER. BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY BELA MARSH, NO. 14 BROMFIELD ST. 1860. UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF SLAVERY. CHAPTER I. WHAT IS LAW? Before examining the language of the Constitution, in regard to Slavery, let us obtain a view of the principles, by virtue of which law arises out of those constitutions and compacts, by which people agree to establish government. To do this it is necessary to define the term law. Popular opinions are very loose and indefinite, (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1844
This work is part of the International Institute for Social History's collection and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. TO THE PUBLIC. THE AMERICAN LETTER MAIL COMPANY present the following exposition of the grounds on which they assert their right to establish mails and postoffices, in competition with those of Congress. If the public are satisfied of the correctness of the principle, the Company ask their patronage to enable them to sustain it. CONTENTS. 1. Argument. 2. Review of the Postmaster General's Argument. UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE LAWS OF CONGRESS, PROHIBITING PRIVATE MAILS. ARGUMENT. Of the following propositions, almost any one of them is sufficient, I apprehend, to prove ... (From: Anarchy Archives.)
1875
I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Quotes by Lysander Spooner

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"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

"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

"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

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An icon of a baby.
January 19, 1808
Birth Day.

An icon of a gravestone.
May 14, 1887
Death Day.

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November 16, 2016; 4:51:13 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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April 21, 2019; 5:05:43 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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