Lysander Spooner's discontentment with the Constitution of the United States led him to publish No Treason, which revises significant parts of that document to reduce the power of the state versus individuals.
The author was an anti-authoritarian philosopher and legal theorist who had spent his earlier life vigorously campaigning against slavery. Following the American Civil War however, he became horrified at the brutality and carnage that had been unleashed. Redoubling his criticisms, Spooner asserts his dismay that the U.S. government was rendered inert by its Constitution - slavery was only abolished after a long and bloody war, whereas had it been forbade at the outset, no such conflict would have arisen.
A strong proponent of natural law - the concept that all humans had rights endowed at the point of their birth - Spooner had a sense of revulsion at how American politics had ensued in the early-to-mid 19th century. It was thus that No Treason was written in the hope of moderating the Constitution to ensure that slavery and bloody recriminations for secession would never again occur.
In life, many of Spooner's actions versus authority were successful; his abolitionism consisted of circulating pamphlets including those suggesting guerrilla warfare by slaves, and prefaced the Civil War. Later in life his challenge to the postal monopolies successfully resulted in such monopolies being regulated to the point where mailing became much cheaper for all. Furthermore he advanced a cogent theory of self-employment, believing it a way to laborers avoiding or reducing their exploitation by employers.
|Publisher:||Free Patriot Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.19(d)|
About the Author
Before opening the American Mail Company, he sent a personal letter informing the Postmaster General (January 11, 1844), that he proposed "soon to establish a letter mail [company] from Boston to Baltimore. I shall myself remain in this city, where I shall be ready at any time to answer to any suit..." Accompanying the letter was a copy of Spooner's pamphlet, The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails. When his company began business on January 23, Spooner openly advertised in all the major newspapers, soliciting business. The American Letter Mail Company printed its own stamps, hired agents, and was soon conducting a busy trade.
Hoping to drive Spooner out of business without raising any constitutional questions, the Postmaster General resorted to some extra-legal measures. Under a barrage of harassing legal actions, the company could not survive; for all practical purposes it had ceased to exist by July 1844.
After his post office venture failed, Lysander Spooner returned to the family farm in Athol.
Spooner had a clear notion of "the principles of natural equity." Although lacking formal ties before 1870 with other American anarchists, Spooner knew many of them well. The key question for an anarchist is how to combine complete individual freedom with some form of effective social co-operation.
Spooner answered that community service and other social action could be realized voluntarily. He argued that "under the principle of individual consent, the little government that mankind need, is not only practicable, but natural and easy..."
Spooner died "at one o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, 1887... surrounded by trunks and chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he had gathered in his active pamphleteer's warfare over half a century long.