Self-Ownership: A Biography of Lysander Spooner

By Jim Powell

Lysander Spooner was an American legal theorist, abolitionist, and anarchist.

The greatest natural rights thinker of the 19th century was the American lawyer and maverick individualist Lysander Spooner.

He responded to the tumultuous events of his era, including the Panic of 1837 and the Civil War, with pamphlets about natural rights, slavery, money, trial by jury and other timely subjects. “Lysander Spooner deserves a place of honor,” declared Boston University law professor Randy E. Barnett, “both for the principles for which he stood against the crowd and for the brilliance with which he defended those principles.”  Intellectual historian George H. Smith called Spooner “one of the greatest libertarian theorists.”

Spooner spoke with bold clarity: “The enactment and enforcement of unjust laws are the greatest crimes that are committed by man against man. The crimes of single individuals invade the rights of single individuals. Unjust laws invade the rights of large bodies of men, often of a majority of the whole community; and generally of that portion of community who, from ignorance and poverty, are least able to bear the wrong.”

Read more at the source.

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