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A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard

Lysander Spooner

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .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 honest man.

This proposition implies that you hold it to be at least possible that some four hundred men should, by some process or other, become invested with the right to make laws of their own—that is, laws wholly of their own device, and therefore necessarily distinct from the law of nature, or the principles of natural justice; and that these laws of their own making shall be really and truly obligatory upon the people of the United States; and that, therefore, the people may rightfully be compelled to obey them.

All this implies that you are of the opinion that the Congress of the United States, of which you are a member, has, by some process or other, become possessed of some right of arbitrary dominion over the people of the United States; which right of arbitrary dominion is not given by, and is, therefore, nec. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Refutes the common fallacy of accepting constitutional government, which has no basis in any sound legal tradition.

I once saw Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason” described as the most subversive thing ever written in the United States. Whoever thought this obviously missed the point that Spooner was trying to make when he wrote “No Treason”. The word subversive means that one is advocating the overthrow of a legally

With the possible exception of the works of Murray Rothbard, this is arguably the most rhetorically brilliant attack against the state. Spooner's fundamental claim is a rather simple one: The federal government of the United States of America is illegitimate because the constitution on which it is b

Holy hell. Spooner was a beast.
Shortly after the American Civil War concluded Spooner penned this scathing repudiation of the social contract and the contractarian view of the state in general. He didn’t hold back in the slightest. He referred to the amorphous federal government as “robbers and murd

As much as I'd love this to be a sound critique of the state, I cannot overlook the weaknesses of this lengthy self-absorbed rant.

First of all, much if not most of Spooner's argument rests on the belief that every contract needs to be physically signed in full form by publicly disclosed parties in o

Not an interesting or compelling argument even if I agree with the result

Spooner is a libertarian anarchist, but unfortunately he makes a really dull argument throughout this book, essentially that the constitution is invalid unless 100% of people physically sign their names to it in every generati

A short thought provoking work which will definitely get your brain thinking.

Even though this was written during the civil war era, Spooner lays out a clear argument in this work of literature that will definitely have you questioning authority. It's very entertaining and easy to read; and it will c

Spooner, writing in 1867, heavily criticizes the constitution. While we would hope today that our government would try to live within the restrictions of the constitution, the government of his day had used that document as a justification for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people.

It is espec

Spooner cuts through the religion of constitution-worship like no other. He holds no punches, even to the point where he openly advocates defensive violence against agents of the State.

He is perhaps the first Libertarian to use the "against me" argument. (What do you advocate being done to me if I d

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