Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner
(1801-1887)

Lysander Spooner was a Massachusetts lawyer noted for his vigorous and brilliant opposition to the encroachment of the State upon the liberty of the individual. In these three articles, you will find concepts and arguments that will challenge your thinking and what you have been taught about the law and the Constitution. It is easy to dismiss what appears to be subversive but we challenge you to consider where and from whom government gets it authority to be in control as it is today. Then ask yourself - Is this freedom or slavery? If Lysander Spooner cannot inspire a reexamination of everything you learned in high school, then nobody can.

No Treason #1 (1867)

Introductory

The question of treason is distinct from that of slavery; and is the same that it would have been, if free States, instead of slave States, had seceded.

On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate the slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could be thereby induced to stay in the Union.

The principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this: that men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want; and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals.

No principle, that is possible to be named, can be more self-evidently false than this; or more self-evidently fatal to all political freedom. Yet it triumphed in the field, and is now assumed to be established. If it be really established, the number of slaves, instead of having been diminished by the war, has been greatly increased; for a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave. And there is no difference, in principle---but only in degree---between political and chattel slavery. The former, no less than the latter, denies a man's ownership of himself and the products of his labor; and asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure.

Previous to the war, there were some grounds for saying that---in theory, at least, if not in practice---our government was a free one; that it rested upon consent. But nothing of that kind can be said now, if the principle on which the war was carried on by the North, is irrevocably established.

If that principle be not the principle of the Constitution, the fact should be known. If it be the principle of the Constitution, the Constitution itself should be at once overthrown.




No Treason #1, Chapter I
No Treason #2 (1867)
No Treason #6 (1870)

The most powerful article is "No Treason No. 6" but take the time to read them all.

NOTICE: Lysander Spooner is not affiliated with Freedom School.
NOTICE: If anything in this presentation is found to be in error a good faith effort will be made to correct it in timely fashion upon notification.
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