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Stephen Pearl Andrews

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Stephen Pearl Andrews
Born(1812-04-22)April 22, 1812
DiedMay 21, 1886(1886-05-21) (aged 74)
Occupation(s)Activist, journalist, philosopher, writer
Known forAmerican individualist anarchist and outspoken abolitionist

Stephen Pearl Andrews (1812–1886) was an American libertarian socialist, individualist anarchist, linguist, political philosopher, and outspoken abolitionist.

Early life and work[edit]

Andrews was born in Templeton, Massachusetts on March 22, 1812, the youngest of eight children of the Reverend Elisha Andrews and his wife Ann Lathrop.[1] He grew up thirty-five miles northeast in Hinsdale, New Hampshire.[1] Andrews went to Louisiana at age 19 and studied and practiced law there. Appalled by slavery, he became an abolitionist. He was the first counsel of Mrs. Myra Clark Gaines in her celebrated suits. Having moved to Texas in 1839, Andrews and his family were almost killed because of his abolitionist lectures and had to flee in 1843. Andrews travelled to England, where he was unsuccessful at raising funds for the abolitionist movement back in the United States.

While in England, Andrews became interested in Isaac Pitman's new shorthand writing system and upon his return to the United States he taught and wrote about the shorthand writing system and devised a popular system of phonographic reporting. To further this, he published a series of instruction books and edited two journals, The Anglo-Saxon and The Propagandist. Andrews devised a "scientific" language he called Alwato in which he was wont to converse and correspond with pupils. At the time of his death, Andrews was compiling a dictionary of Alwato which was published posthumously. A remarkable linguist, he also became interested in phonetics and the study of foreign languages, eventually teaching himself "no fewer than 32" languages.[1]

By the end of the 1840s, he began to focus his energies on utopian communities. Fellow individualist anarchist Josiah Warren was responsible for Andrew's conversion to radical individualism and in 1851 they established Modern Times in Brentwood, New York. He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1846.[2] In 1857, Andrews established the Unitary Homes on East 14 St. and Stuyvesant St. in New York City.[3] By the 1860s, he was propounding an ideal society called pantarchy which is a society with a voluntary government strongly connected with a New Catholic Church[4] and from this he moved on to a philosophy he called universology which stressed the unity of all knowledge and activities. He was also among the first Americans to discover Karl Marx and the first to publish his Communist Manifesto in the United States.[1]

Andrews was one of the first to use the word scientology. The word is defined as a neologism in his 1871 book The Primary Synopsis of Universology and Alwato: The New Scientific Universal Language.[5] In the 1870s, Andrews promoted Joseph Rodes Buchanan's psychometry besides his own universology predicting that a priori derived knowledge would supersede empirical science as exact science.[6][7] Andrews was also considered a leader in the religious movement of spiritualism.[8] Anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker called Andrews a significant exponent of libertarian socialism in the United States.[9]

The sovereignty of the individual[edit]

Andrews talks in his writings about the sovereignty of the individual and how it relates to his political views. In The Science of Society, he says:[10]

Socialism proclaims that the Individual has an inalienable right to that social position which his powers and natural organization qualify him, and which his tastes incline him to fill, and, consequently, to that constitution or arrangement of the property relations, and other relations of society, whatsoever that may be, which 'will enable him to enjoy and exercise that right,—the adaptation of social conditions to the wants of each Individual, with all his peculiarities and fluctuations of taste, instead of the moulding of the Individual into conformity with the rigid requirements of a preconcerted social organization. If this be a correct statement of the essential nature of Protestantism, Democracy, and Socialism, then Protestantism, Democracy, and Socialism are not actuated by three distinct principles at all. They are simply three partial announcements of one generic principle, which lies beneath all these movements, and of which they are the legitimate outgrowths or developments, modified only by the fact of a different application of the same principle. This great generic principle, which underlies every manifestation of that universal unrest and revolution which is known technically in this age as "Progress" is nothing more nor less than "The sovereignty of the individual." It is that which is the central idea and vital principle of Protestantism; it is that which is the central idea and vital principle of Democracy; and it is that which is the central idea and vital principle of Socialism.

Andrews considered the sovereignty of the individual to be "the basis of harmonious intercourse amongst equals, precisely as the equal Sovereignty of States is the basis of harmonious intercourse between nations mutually recognizing their independence of each other."[11]

Wage theory[edit]

Andrews supported a socialistic system of employment and wages based on labor notes. Andrews believed that in the capitalist system within which he was living individuals were not receiving a wage commensurate with the amount of labor they exerted, saying:

(...) the 'Wages System' is essentially proper and right. It is a right to that one man employ another, it is right that he pay him wages, and it is right that he direct him absolutely, arbitrarily, if you will, in the performance of his labor, while, on the other hand, it is the business of him who is employed implicitly to obey, that is, to surrender any will of his own in relation to a design not his own, and to conceive and execute the will of the other. [...] It is right that the great manufacturer should plan, and either alone, or through the aid of assistants under his direction, organize his mammoth establishment. It is right that he should employ and direct his hundreds, or his five hundred men. [...] It is not in any, nor in all of these features combined, that the wrong of our present system is to be sought and found. It is in the simply failure to do Equity. It is not that men are employed and paid, but that they are not paid justly.[12]

For Andrews, to be paid "justly" was to be paid according to the "Cost Principle" which held that individuals should be paid according to the amount of labor they exert rather than according to the benefit that another receives from that labor (the latter being called the "Value Principle"). To help make this simple, like Josiah Warren, he advocated an economy that uses labor notes. Labor notes are a form of currency marked in labor hours (adjusted for different types of labor based on their difficulty or repugnance). In this way, it is not how much the employer values the employee's labor that determines the employee's pay, but simply how much the employee has labored. For similar reasons, Andrews did not believe people should be paid interest for loaning capital. In other words, he did not see the loaning of capital as requiring any labor or deprivation on the part of the loaner. He insisted that the benefit received from goods or labor is not a just measure of price, writing:[13]

Every variety of interpretation has been put upon my opinions, usually the least favorable which the imagination of the writer could devise, with a view, apparently, of cultivating still further the natural prejudice existing in the public mind against any one bold enough to agitate the delicate and difficult question of the true relations of the sexes, and the legitimate role which the Passions were intended to play in the economy of the Universe.

In the absence of any readiness on the part of the public to know the truth on the subject, false, extravagant and ridiculous notions have flooded the country in its stead.

I reject and repudiate the interference of the State, precisely as I do the interference of the Church.

A grand social revolution will occur. Tyranny of all kinds will disappear, freedom of all kinds will be revered, and none will be ashamed to confess that they believe in the Freedom of Love.

Andrews was following Warren's labor theory of value[14] and hence Andrews' individualist anarchism is considered a form of economic mutualism.[15]



  1. ^ a b c d Riggenbach, Jeff (April 1, 2011). "Stephen Pearl Andrews's Fleeting Contribution to Anarchist Thought". Mises Daily. Mises Institute.
  2. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  3. ^ https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1859/07/07/issue.html
  4. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl (1860). Constitution or Organic Basis of the Pantarchy. New York: Baker & Godwin.
  5. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl (1871). The Primary Synopsis of Universology and Alwato: The New Scientific Universal Language. New York: Dion Thomas. OCLC 3591669. The Primary Synopsis of Universology and Alwato. At p. xiii (Internet Archive link), he writes: "Scientology" is defined as "the Science of the Scientismus, or of that Secondary Department of Being, or Stage of Evolution, in which Scientism, the Spirit or Principle of Science (or of that which is analogous with Science) preponderates".
  6. ^ "A discourse on Seven Sciences.; Cerebral Physiology, Cerebral Psychology, Sarcognomy, Psychometry, Pneumatology, Pathology, and Cerebral Pathology". The New York Times. March 17, 1878. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  7. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl (1872). The Basic Outline of Universology. New York: Dion Thomas. pp. 561.
  8. ^ "Stephen Pearl Andrews.; Death of the Well Known Abolitionist, Philosopher, and Linguist". The New York Times. May 23, 1886. Retrieved Marchg 31, 2019.
  9. ^ Rocker, Rudolf (1949). Pioneers of American Freedom. New York: J. J. Little and Ives Co. pp. 85.
  10. ^ Stephen Pearl Andrews (1888). The Science of Society. Sarah E. Holmes. p. 12.
  11. ^ Stephen Pearl Andrews (1938). The Sovereignty Of The Individual. Freeman Press. p. 18.
  12. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl. The Science of Society. Nichols, 1854. p. 210–211.
  13. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl. The Science of Society. Nichols, 1854. pp. 186–214.
  14. ^ Andrews, Stephen Pearl (2016). The Science of Society. Middletown, Delaware: Leopold Classic Library. p. 6.
  15. ^ Martin, James J. (1970). Men Against the State. Colorado Springs: Ralph Myles Publisher. p. 44.
  16. ^ "The science of society". 1888.

Further reading[edit]

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