Happy Birthday Lysander Spooner!

On her blog With Irresistable Clearness (a Spooner phrase), political science professor (and Spooner scholar) Helen Knowles remembers Lysander Spooner’s birthday today by reproducing a harsh letter he write to Senator William Seward three days after his birthday.

Three days after his birthday in 1860, Spooner wrote to William H. Seward, the latest letter in his correspondence with the Senator. As this country reaches the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, readers might find the following extract of Spooner’s letter to be interesting reading. It reflects the way in which by 1860 Spooner’s faith in the ability of the federal government sincerely to tackle the problem of slavery had all but vanished:

Read Spooner’s letter here. I might add that my extended study of abolitionist constitutionalists like Salmon Chase, who Spooner condemned in his letter, and others engaged in forming the Liberty party, Free Soil party, Free Democrat party, and eventually the Republican party have made me far more sympathetic with their project which, in the end, did accomplish the abolition of slavery. Moreover, Spooner’s writings had a great deal of influence on their efforts.

So Happy Birthday Lysander! A true hero of liberty, and of mine.

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