The Freeman

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This article is about the magazine. For other uses, see Freeman. For the videogame character "the one free man", see Gordon Freeman.
The Freeman
Editor Max Borders
Categories Classical liberalism
Publisher Foundation for Economic Education
First issue 1946
Country USA
Language English
ISSN 1559-1638

The Freeman is an American libertarian journal published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).[1] It started as a digest sized monthly study journal; it currently appears 10 times per year and is a larger-sized magazine. FEE was founded in 1946 by Leonard E. Read, who served as its president until his death in 1983. The Foundation was established to present the principles of free markets, limited government, private property, the rule of law, and libertarian philosophy and to oppose government programs introduced during the 1930s under President Roosevelt's New Deal.[citation needed]


During FEE's early years, it published essays, pamphlets and booklets dealing with various aspects of libertarian philosophy. The authors included both classical liberals of the past, such as Frédéric Bastiat and Andrew Dickson White, and such contemporary authors as Milton Friedman, George Stigler and Ayn Rand.[2] In 1955, FEE introduced a quarterly, Ideas on Liberty, which in January 1956 was merged with The Freeman, a bi-weekly free-market oriented news magazine which had been published in New York City since 1950. Due to low sales in the 1950s, the publication encountered financial problems and was taken over by FEE, an educational, tax-exempt Foundation in 1956. At the time of its take-over, it changed from a bi-weekly to a monthly publication initially called The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty.[citation needed]

The editors of The Freeman have included Henry Hazlitt, John Chamberlain, Suzanne La Follette, Paul L. Poirot, Brian Summers, Charles Hamilton, and John Robbins. Henry Hazlitt, an economist and journalist, had been one of FEE's founders and his articles continued to appear regularly in The Freeman after its take-over by FEE. John Chamberlain became FEE's regular book reviewer and his reviews appeared in The Freeman until his death in 1995. Leonard Read, FEE's President, was also a regular contributor, as was FEE's economic adviser, Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises. Other contributors in the 1950s included: Barbara Branden, James Burnham, Frank Chodorov, John Dos Passos, Max Eastman, John T. Flynn, F. A. Hayek, Frank Meyer, Raymond Moley, Roscoe Pound, Wilhelm Röpke, Murray Rothbard, Morrie Ryskind and George Sokolsky.[3]

The Freeman is widely considered to be an important forerunner to the conservative publication National Review magazine, which was founded in 1955, and which from its inception included many of the same contributing editors.[4]

During its more than half century of publication, The Freeman has featured articles by economists, businessmen, professors, teachers, statesmen (domestic and foreign), students, housewives, free-lance writers, and budding libertarians. Many of its authors have gone on to become noted authors, teachers, and founders of libertarian organizations. It continues to discuss current economic and governmental issues from the same libertarian viewpoint which sparked the founding of FEE.[citation needed]

On October 15, 2012, it was announced that Sheldon Richman, who had been editor since 1997, was to be replaced by Max Borders. The move was seen as controversial and angered many readers due to pro-war views expressed by Borders.[5] The writers whose work has appeared in The Freeman in recent decades include such libertarians as Charles W. Baird, Donald J. Boudreaux, Clarence Carson,[6] Stephen Davies, Richard Epstein, Burton Folsom, Jr., David R. Henderson, Robert Higgs, David Kelley, Tibor Machan, Wendy McElroy, Lawrence W. Reed, George Reisman, Hans Sennholz, Bernard Siegan, John Stossel, George Leef, Thomas Szasz and Walter E. Williams.

Earlier publications called The Freeman[edit]

The Freeman has been a popular magazine name and FEE's Freeman had predecessors. There was a Freeman magazine published in the U.S. shortly after the Civil War. From 1920 to 1924, Albert Jay Nock, a noted literary figure and author, edited a magazine called The Freeman, and its contributors included Conrad Aiken, Charles A. Beard, William Henry Chamberlin, John Dos Passos, Thomas Mann, Lewis Mumford, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sandburg, Lincoln Steffans, Louis Untermeyer and Thorstein Veblen.[7] Nock's former assistant Suzanne La Follette revived the periodical as The New Freeman in the 1930s, and, later, LaFollette was one of founding editors of the 1950s Freeman. In addition, the Henry George School published a Freeman magazine during World War II. The immediate predecessor of FEE's The Freeman, however, was the bi-weekly New York City-published news magazine mentioned above.


  1. ^ About, The Freeman.
  2. ^ Burns, Jennifer, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, 2010, Oxford Univ. Press, pp.102-103, 116-118.
  3. ^ Branden, Barbara, "The Moral Antagonism Of Capitalism and Socialism," The Freeman, Nov., 1959, vol. 9, iss. 11; Kelly, Daniel, James Burnham and the Struggle for the World: a Life, ISI Books, 2002, and Independent Institute, review; Chamberlain, John, A Life With the Printed Word, Regnery, 1982, p.138; Rothbard, Murray, "Why the Business Cycle Happens," The Freeman, Dec., 1959, pp.52-54; Agnew, Jean-Christophe, and Rosenzweig, Roy, A Companion to Post-1945 America, Blackwell, 2002, p.309; Hamilton, Charles H., "The Freeman: the Early Years," The Freeman, Dec., 1984, vol.34, iss. 12; and, Liggio, Leonard P., "The Freeman: An Eyewitness View: How Today's Freeman Came To Be," Jan./Feb. 2006, vol. 56, iss. 1.
  4. ^ Chamberlain, John, A Life with the Printed Word, 1982, Regnery, pp.141, 145-146.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Cleveland, Paul A. (July 2003), "Clarence B. Carson, R.I.P.: Carson Lived a Life Full of Significance", The Freeman 53 (7) 
  7. ^ Doherty, Brian, Radicals for Capitalism: a Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, Public Affairs, 2007, p.54; Will Lissner remembers Nock

External links[edit]