anarchy archives


About Us

Contact Us

Other Links

Critics Corner


The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Elisée Reclus
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Poetry and Anarchy

Spooner Biographical Information

Born: January 19, 1808
Died: May 17, 1887


Lysander Spooner Page
(contains links to each chapter of Charles Shively's biography,
The Collected Works of Lysander Spooner

Obituary from the Boston Daily Globe

Chronology of Spooner's Life

Lysander Spooner: January 19, 1808-May 17, 1887


    Lysander Spooner born as the second of nine children near Athol, Massachusetts


    Spooner is apprenticed to his father and therefore must work on the family farm.


    Spooner begins studying law under John Davis and Charles Allen.


    The Deist's Immortality and An Essay on Man's Accountability for his Belief are published.


    Spooner tests the law requiring law students to study for 3-5 years under an established lawyer by priting up business cards, as well as sending a petition asking for this law to be revoked to the WorchesterRepublican. As a result, the law is revoked the following year.


    A Deist's Reply to the Alleged Supernatural Evidences of Christianity is published

    Spooner's law practice declines as a result of his radical treatises about religion. Spooner works as a bank clerk for a few months in order to make enough money to go to the American West.


    Spooner buys 80 acres on the Maumee Rapids, comprising the city of Gilead (Grand Rapids).

    The government makes plans to build a dam on the Maumee, which would exclude Spooner's land from a canal being built. Spooner sues, claiming it is unconstitutional for the government to build a dam.He receives an injunction against the building of the dam while the court considers the case


    The injunction, as well as Spooner's case, is dismissed altogether.


    Spooner returns to his father's farm in Massachusetts. He begins analyzing the Panic of 1837, and delivers his discoveries to the Palladium of Worchester


    Spooner publishes Constitutional Law Relative to Credit, Currency, and Banking


    Spooner writes a letter to the Postmaster General, informing him that he intends to start his own mail company and use it to distribute his own literature (this was illegal). He includes a pamphlet entitled The Unconstitutionality of the Laws in Congress Prohibiting Private Mails. He advertises in all major newspapers and prints his own stamps for the purpose of distributing his pamphlet. The government responds by arresting those who carry the letters and threatening transportation companies with the loss of government contracts if they carried Spooner's mail.

    Spooner writes to Gerrit Smith to get support for a work he is writing about the unconstitutionality of slavery. Smith gives him financial support, as well as encouraging Spooner's efforts.


    Spooner publishes the first edition of The Unconstitutionality of Slavery


    Spooner publishes Poverty, Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure


    Spooner writes Who Caused the Reduction of Postage in 1845? and distributes it to the five largest merchants in Boston, who ignore him. He therefore has to raise money on his own to publish the pamphlet.


Spooner meets, courts and becomes engaged to a schoolteacher named Mary Booth. In 1855, she breaks off the engagement. Spooner later learned, through a mutal acquaintance, that Booth was interested in him only because she needed a place to live; when she found other means of securing a home, she lost interest. As a result, Spooner becamse seriously depressed and did not finish writing The Law of Intellectual Property


    Spooner is able to publish Who Caused the Reduction of Postage in 1845?It has no impact whatsoever and Spooner begins to become discouraged.

    Spooner publishes Defence For Fugitive Slaves


    Spooner publishes Trial By Jury outlining the rights of people against the government.


    Spooner attempts to protect the rights of those using their own minds to make a living with The Law of Intellectual Property, an attack on the current copyright laws. This work is never finished due to financial problems.


    Spooner receives a patent from the government for his Improvement In Elastic Bottomed Chairs


    Spooner outlines a plan for abolishing slavery which involves both the North and the South setting up guerilla forces that would attack and rob slaveowners. It is not published because John Brown was afraid it would give away his plan to attack the South.


    Spooner publishes New System of Paper Currency, suggesting a new method of banking that does not involve the government


    Spooner organizes the Spooner Copyright Company for the purpose of seeling other his idea for a new type of government-free bank. He finds no customers.


    Spooner publishes an analysis of the Civil War, A Letter to Charles Sumner claiming that if the United States had truly been a free country, the war would have been avoided altogether--he does not believe that the issue was the union, but mrerely that of slavery.


    Spooner begins working on his No Treason pamphlets, the first of which is published this year. The second one will be published in 1870.


     Spooner works with Benjamin Tucker on putting out a magazine called Radical Review, which is the precursor to Liberty


    Spooner dies of rheumatic fever.


[Home]               [About Us]               [Contact Us]               [Other Links]               [Critics Corner]