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Anarchism in the United States

Time Line

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

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

May 1827
"Time Store" in Cincinnati opened. (Warren, Manifesto, 1841.)

Warren's periodical, The Peaceful Revolutionist, published.

Lysander Spooner begins studying law under John Davis and Charles Allen.

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

Lysander 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 Worchester Republican. As a result, the law is revoked the following year.

Lysander Spooner published "A Deist's Reply to the Alleged Supernatural Evidences of Christianity" and 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.

Lysander 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, was dismissed in 1839.

September 1838
Founding of New England Non-Resistance Society based on renunciation of all forms of coercion. (Perry, 1995)

Adin Ballou published "Standard of Practical Christianity"

Lysander 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.

Adin Ballou and associates purchase land in Milford, Massachusetts that becomes Hopedale. (Perry, 1995)

Hopedale settled. (Perry, 1995)

1843 Adin Ballou begins serving as president of New England Non-Resistance Society (Perry, 1995)

Lysander Spooner publishes "Constitutional Law Relative to Credit, Currency, and Banking."

Lysander 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. 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.

Lysander Spooner publishes the first edition of "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery".

Adin Ballou published "Christian Non-Resistance." Philadelphia: Merrimew and Thompson, Printers.

Lysander Spooner publishes "Poverty, Its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure".

John Humphrey Noyes published The Berean. Putney, VT: Leonard and Company, Printers.

The Oneida Community founded by John Humphrey Noyes on forty acres in Oneida, Madison County, New York.

William Greene publishes Equality. West Brookfield, MA: O. S. Cooke, 1849.

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.

1849, February
John Humphrey Noyes published the pamphlet "Bible Communism".

William Greene publishes Mutual Banking. West Brookfield, MA: O. S. Cooke, 1850.

Lysander Spooner published "Who Caused the Reduction of Postage in 1845?". It has no impact whatsoever and Spooner begins to become discouraged. Spooner also published Defence For Fugitive Slaves

Modern Times founded in New York by Josiah Warren, Stephen Andrews, and William Greene.

Lysander Spooner published "Trial By Jury" outlining the rights of people against the government.

Adin Ballou publishes Practical Christian Socialism, an explanation of the Hopedale community.

Lysander 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.

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

The Hopedale community ends becoming a private company.

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 to promote his idea for a 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.

John Humphrey Noyes publishes History of American Socialisms. New York: Hillary House Publisters, Ltd.

Summer 1872
Benjamin Tucker first meets Ezra Heywood at a meeting of the New England Labor Reform League (NELRL).

December 7, 1873
National Free Love Convention held in Ravenna, Ohio. Ezra and Angela Heywood attend, as well as Benjamin Tucker.

January 13, 1874
Justus Schwab arrested for carrying a red flag and singing the Marseillaise during the Tomkins Square "riot".

John Humphrey Noyes publishes Mutual Criticism. Oneida, New York: Office of the American Socialist.

March 9, 1876
The Circular, published by Oneida, was succeeded by The American Socialist, edited by John Humphery Noyes.

July 19-23 1876
The Workingmen's Party of the United States (WPUS) established. This was primarily a Lassallean and Marxist organization.

November 3, 1877
Ezra Heywood is arrested for mailing his essay on free love, "Cupid's Yokes."

Spooner works with Benjamin Tucker publishing Radical Review, the precursor to Liberty.

January, 1878
Ezra Heywood found guilty of obscenity charges under the Comstock Act and he is sentenced to two years in Dedham Jail and to a fine of $100.

December 16, 1878
President Hayes pardoned Ezra Heywood on obscenity charges under the Comstock Act.

August 28, 1879,
Oneida community ends Complex Marriage but continues common ownership of property, common homes at Oneida and Wallingford, and communal child care.

Johann Most expelled from Germany for "socialist activities" and emmigrates to London where he publishes Freiheit.

October 1880
SLP dissidents form a group of "social revolutionaries" who begin meeting regularly at Justus Schwab's saloon on First Street in New York.

November 15, 1880
Twenty-seven social revolutionaries, on Wilhelm Hasselmann's initiative, found the Sozial-Revolutionäre Klub (Social-Revolutionary Club) in a saloon on Eldridge Street, near Schwab's saloon, in New York. (Goyens, 2007, p. 72.)

November 29, 1880
The steamer Silesia arrives in New York carrying German socialist exiles, including Karl Broda Karl Maaß, Hermann Wabnitz, Wilhelm Ernst Schweppendiek and Carl Wölky, all of whom became active in the anarchist movement. (Goyens, 2007, p. 73.)

Formation of the International Working People's Assocation ("Black International").

January 1, 1881
Oneida Community becomes a joint stock company called Oneida Community, Limited.

November 1881
the Sozial-Revolutionäre Klub (Social-Revolutionary Club) votes to affliate with the International Working People's Association.

Johann Most served 18 months in jail in Britain for an editorial celebrating the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881.

December 18, 1882
Upon release from prison, Johann Most left London aboard the steamer Wisconsin and arrived in New York on December 18 where he was met by a group of Germans wearing red ribbons and carrying a red flag. That evening Most spoke to a crowd of 5,000 at Cooper Union. At the end of December, Most left New York on an extensive lecture tour, ending up in Chicago.

Johann Most gives "Beast of Property" speech

March through June 1883
Johann Most embarks on a second lecture tour, going as far as Omaha, Nebraska.

German anarchists in Brooklyn, New York establish Group Brooklyn, meeting on the second and forth Saturday of the month at Henry Winter Jr.'s Teutonia Hall on the corner of Harrison and Bartlett.

August 1883
German anarchists in Queens, NY form Group Astoria with W. Kubisch as secretary.

October 14-23 1883
Anarchists meet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and produce the Pittsburgh Manifesto. Participants included Johann Most, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Victor Drury, J.J. Reifgraber and Justus Schwab.

In June radical workers in the Chicago Cigar Makers' Union broke with the national organization to create a more "progressive" local. Expelled from the Trades Assembly for this rebellion, the Central Labor Union was formed a few months later along anarcho-syndicalist lines. CLU members included Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, Louis Lingg, Michael Schwab, Oscar Neebe, and Samuel Fielden. By 1866, 22 unions were affliated under the CLU banner, including the seven largest in the city.

German anarchists in Elizabeth City, New Jersey form Group Elizabeth meeting at Mauthe's beerhall at 605 Elizabeth Ave.

January 1886
Wilhelm Hasselmann launches Amerikanische Arbeiter-Zeitung as an alternative to Most's Freiheit.

Beginning in March workers around the country mount a series of strikes, including at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago. By the ed of the year 610,000 workers had been o strike against 11,562 enterprises. (Green, 2006, p.145.)

May 1, 1886
Across the United States 350,000 workers participate in a coordinated general strike in support of the eight-hour day marking the height of the "Great Upheaval". (Green, 2006, p.145.)

May 4, 1886
A bomb explodes at Haymarket Square in Chicago killing one police officer. Six other policemen were killed by friendly fire in the aftermath of the bombing. The number of civilian casualties has never been fully established. The following day the Tribune reported that Carl Kiester, a laborer, had died after being shot near the heart. A few days later, police found "Big Krueger, a militant IWPA member, at Cook County Hospital with a bullet in his brain and no hope for recovery. Dozens of workers were wounded.

November 10-11, 1887
Four of the eight anarchists accused in the Haymarket bombing were hanged on November 11, including Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel. Louis Lingg cheated the hangman the night before his scheduled execution by exploding a blasting cap in his mouth that had been smuggled into his cell by Dyer Lum. Micheal Schwab, and Samuel Fielden were also sentenced to death, but wrote Governor Oglesby, pleading for a sentence commuted to life in prison. Governor Oglesby granted the request on November 10, 1887. The 8th martyr, Oscar Neebe had received a fifteen year sentence. The three surviving martyrs served six years before being pardoned by Governor Altgeld on June 26, 1893.

Lysander Spooner dies of rheumatic fever.

Joseph Labadie forms the Michigan Federation of Labor.

August 1889
German anarchists organize The Westside Group (Gruppe der Westseite) with Charles Ehrhardt's beerhall on 405 West Thirty-fifth Street in New York City as its clubhouse.

German anarchists in New York City found Group Harlem of the International Working People's Association.

German anarchists in Queens, NY establish Group Maspeth.

Emma Goldman's first lecture tour; speaks in Rochester, Buffalo, and Cleveland.

March 1890
In the Bronx, NY German anarchists found Group Morrisania, meeting at August Albinger's saloon-hotel at 3465 Third Avenue.

"Why I Am An Anarchist" by Benjamin R. Tucker, first printed in The Twentieth Century, New York.

July 23, 1892
Alexander Berkman, at the age of 22, attempted to kill kill Henry Clay Frick by shooting him three times and stabbing him with a poisoned blade. Berkman spent 14 years in prison in Pennslyvania, mostly in solitary confinement without visits or any contact with the world outside. Berkman was released in 1906.

Instead of a Book by a Man Too Busy to Write One, by Benjamin Tucker, was published.

June 25, 1893
The Haymarket Martyrs Monument is erected in Waldheim Cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Forest Park.

June 26, 1893
Illinois Governor Altgeld pardons the surviving Haymarket martyrs.

La Questione Social begins publishing in Paterson, NJ. Includes an article by Errico Malatesta. Contributors include Carlo Tresca, Giuseppe Ciancabilla, Aldino Felicani, among others.

October 13, 1897
Emma Goldman spoke with Max Baginski, Moses Harman, and Lucy Parsons at Zepf's Hall in Chicago at a fundraiser for imprisoned Firebrand editors.

November 16, 1897
Emma Goldman speaks at Turner Hall in Detroit and meets Jo Labadie.

Emma Goldman conducted nine-month lecture tour of eleven states, beginning in Barre, Vermont, where she was hosted by Salvatore Pallavencini and met Luigi Galleani.

August 7, 1900
Ricardo Flores Magon, his brother Jesus Flores Magon, and Licenciado Antonio Horcasitas begin publication of "Regeneracion" in Baja, Mexico.

April 14, 1901
Emma Goldman begins a U.S. lecture tour with a free speech battle in Philadelphia despite police efforts to stop the lecture.

September 6, 1901
Leon Czolgosz shoots president McKinley who dies eight days later. Czolgosz claims he is an anarchist, inspired by Emma Goldman.

March 3, 1903
The Immigration Act of 1903 was passed. It "Expanded excludable classes of immigrants to include anarchists" along with other groups.

Magon flees to San Antonio, Texas to avoid government persecution and restarts publication of "Regeneracion" in California.

June 27 through July 8th, 1905
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) established

March, 1906
First issue of Mother Earth published. Mother Earth continued to be published until August 1917, when it was stopped by the Postal Service for being "treasonable".

March 17. 1906
Death of Johann Most.

February 27, 1907
Luigi Galleani (1861-1931) and Emma Goldman (1869-1940) appeared together on the stage of the Opera House in Barre, Vermont. (Ray, 2011)

"Uprising of the Twenty Thousand," a general strike by women garment workers in New York City.

Emma Goldman publishes Anarchism and Other Essays.

Alexander Berkman publishes the Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist.

Voltarine De Cleyre writes "Direct Action".

January 1912
1912 Lawrence Textile Strike.

Galleanists begin a string of bombing attacks in New York City.

Emma Goldman lectures frequently on birth control and is arrested several times; spends fifteen days in jail on one occasion for distributing birth control information.

The 1917 Immigration Act strengthened the power of the 1903 Act and expanded its restrictions on anarchists by applying the broad, interpretative definition that anarchists are persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States.

June 15, 1917
The government arrested Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. Charged with conspiring against the draft, they were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison with the possibility of deportation at the end of their term.

The 1918 Sedition Act targeted not only those who interfered with the draft, but also those individuals who publicly criticized the government, including negative comments about the flag, the military, or the Constitution.

February 6, 1918
Seattle general strike begins in which 32,000 shipyard workers go on strike and workers take control of the city for a week. Consequently, crime drops drastically.

February 22, 1918
The office of the Cronaca Sovversiva is raided.

March 4, 1918
All correspondence to and from Emma Goldman is intercepted and sent to the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice office in Washington, D.C.

March 18, 1918
Ben Reitman begins his six-month prison sentence in Cleveland for his January 1917 conviction for distributing birth control information.

March 21, 1918
Ricardo Flores Magon is sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in Washington state for the publication of an anarchist manifesto addressed to all the world's anarchists.

March 23, 1918
In Chicago, the trial of 101 Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) begins for violation of the Espionage Act.

April 28, 1918
Seattle mayor Hanson receives a bomb in the mail. This was one of 36 bombs that are received across the country.

June 29, 1918
Authorities raid Eleanor Fitzgerald's apartment and take mailing lists and papers from the apartment. Newlander and Bales, who were also Goldman's associates, are arrested immediately following the raid.

August 17, 1918
101 Wobblies put on trial for espionage.

June 2, 1919
A series of bombings against leading politicians began when bombs were detonated within an hour of each other in eight eastern cities, including Washington, D.C. One bomb partially destroyed the home of newly appointed Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer.

September 27, 1919
Emma Goldman was released, only to be re-arrested shortly afterward by the young J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Justice Department's General Intelligence Division. Hoover advanced his career by implementing to the fullest extent possible the government's plan to deport all foreign-born radicals. Writing the briefs and presenting the case against Goldman himself, Hoover persuaded the courts to deny Goldman's citizenship claims and to deport her.

November 7, 1919
The first of the "Palmer Raids" began on the second anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia. Thousands of anarchists and communists were rounded up.

December 21, 1919
Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and over two hundred other foreign-born radicals were herded aboard the Buford and, accompanied by nearly one hundred guards, deported to the Soviet Union.

February 19, 1920
Irish militant anarchist John Creaghe dies in prison.

June 21, 1920
Police shoot 14 wobblies during a labor clash in Butte, Montana.

September 11, 1920
Sacco and Vanzetti are indicted for the Braintree crimes.

December 15, 1936
George Orwell dispatches manuscripts of The Road to Wigan Pier to publishers and leaves for the revolution in Spain.

May 22, 1938
Anarchist editor Warren Van Valkenburgh dies of a heart attack.


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