Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner

(1808 - 1887)
BIO

Lysander Spooner (1808–1887) is the American individualist anarchist and legal theorist known mainly for setting up a commercial post office in competition with the government — who of course shut him down. But he was also the author of some of the most radical political and economic writings of the 19th century, and continues to have a huge influence on libertarian thinkers today. He was a dedicated opponent of slavery in all its forms — even advocating guerrilla war in slavery states to abolish the practice. But he was also a dedicated opponent of the federal invasion of the South and of its postwar reconstruction.

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FEATURED WORK
The Unconstitutionality of Slavery

The Unconstitutionality of Slavery

By Lysander Spooner

A pamphlet by American abolitionist Lysander Spooner advocating that the U.S. Constitution prohibited slavery.

A Defence for Fugitive Slaves

A Defence for Fugitive Slaves

By Lysander Spooner

In Spooner’s view, men and women held in slavery had the right to flee, and others had the right to help runaways escape.

Vices are Not Crimes

Vices are Not Crimes

By Lysander Spooner

Spooner's distinction between “vice” and “crime” is crucial and still has considerable relevance today.

No Treason

No Treason

By Lysander Spooner

The US Constitution is not a social contract. It cannot bind the current generation.

Trial by Jury

Trial by Jury

By Lysander Spooner

Jury nullification defended.

ALL PUBLICATIONS
  • The Unconstitutionality of Slavery
    Published in 2015
    The Unconstitutionality of Slavery was a pamphlet by American abolitionist Lysander Spooner advocating the view that the U.S. Constitution prohibited slavery. This view was advocated…
  • A Defence for Fugitive Slaves
    Published in 2015
    Since, in Spooner’s view, slavery was both unjust and unconstitutional, men and women held in slavery had the right to flee, and other people had…
  • Vices are Not Crimes
    Published in
    Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) was a legal theorist, abolitionist, and radical individualist who started his own mail company in order to challenge the monopoly held by…
  • No Treason
    Published in 2014
    Are you legally bound by the Constitution? Lysander Spooner sees no reason why you should be. In No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, Spooner…