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Summary of the Spooner Project

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

Coming soon!: A Liberty Matters online discussion of the works of Lysander Spooner (in January 2016).

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) was a legal theorist, abolitionist, and radical individualist who started his own mail company in order to challenge the monopoly held by the US government. He wrote on the constitutionality of slavery, natural law, trial by jury, how binding was the authority of the US Constitution over individuals, intellectual property, paper currency, and banking.

We began putting Spooner’s works online book by book and pamphlet by pamphlet over a period of several years beginning in 2010 - the “first edition” as it were. They can all be found here from which the entire collection can also be searched. However, we believe that a chronological ordering of his works has considerable advantages for scholars and readers, so we plan to reorganise the collection along these lines - the “second edition”. The planned volumes are the following:

The Collected Works of Lysander Spooner (1834-1886), in 5 volumes (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010-15). Set.

The first link will take you to a temporary HTML version of the second edition, and the second link will take you a page with links to other formats such as facsimile PDF, epub, and Kindle.

The following tables of contents of the Collected Works provide a chronological list in order of date of publication (useful for seeing how his interests and ideas changed over time) and a thematic list by topic. The numbers refer to the work’s place in the chronological order:

More information about Spooner and his work:

  • Spooner’s main bio page: /people/4664.
  • School of Thought: Abolition of Slavery /groups/33.
  • School of Thought: 19th Century Natural Rights Theorists /groups/38.

Last modified November 11, 2015