Liberty (1881–1908)

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Liberty. Not the daughter but the mother of order..jpg
First issue of Liberty (August 6, 1881)
TypePolitical philosophy
FormatBiweekly newspaper
EditorBenjamin Tucker
Political alignmentAnarchism
Ceased publication1908
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts

Liberty was a 19th-century anarchist periodical published in the United States by Benjamin Tucker from August 1881 to April 1908.

The periodical was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a format for debate.

Contributors included Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie and Henry Appleton. Included in its masthead is a quote from Pierre-Joseph Proudhon saying that liberty is "Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order".


Benjamin Tucker was an American individualist anarchist and made it clear that the purpose of the journal was to further his point of view, saying in the first issue:

The journal will be edited to suit its editor, not its readers. He hopes that what suits him will suit them; but, if not, it will make no difference. No subscriber, or body of subscribers, will be allowed to govern his course, dictate his policy, or prescribe his methods. Liberty is published for the very definite purpose of spreading certain ideas, and no claim will be admitted, on any pretext of freedom of speech, to waste its limited space in hindering the attainment of that object. We are not afraid of discussion, and shall do what we can to make room for short, serious, and well-considered objection to our views.

However, the journal did become a forum for argumentation about diverse views and Tucker credited both Josiah Warren and the social anarchist Proudhon as influences for Liberty. For instance, says of Proudhon the following: "Liberty is a journal brought into existence almost as a direct consequences of the teachings of Proudhon" (Liberty I). He later said that Liberty was "the foremost organ of Josiah Warren's doctrines" (Liberty IX).


In 1974, an attempt to revive Tucker's Liberty was undertaken by some of Laurance Labadie's associates. Edited by Earl Foley and Walter Carroll, it billed itself as "The Revival of Liberty". The first issue contained articles by Labadie, Lynne Farrow and Earl Foley. Its editorial says: "We align ourselves with the Individualist Anarchist tradition of Josiah Warren and Benjamin Tucker". However, the revival did not survive past the first issue.[1]

In 2007, mutualist archivist Shawn P. Wilbur used microfiche obtained from Libertarian Microfiche Publishing to release the first full-text digital archive of Liberty.[2]

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