Theodore Schroeder

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Theodore Schroeder (1864–February 10, 1953) was an author who wrote on issues pertaining to freedom of expression.[1] Schroeder challenged the state of freedom of speech in the United States, claiming that the US government may be a tyranny and that the way Americans view their liberties makes Americans hypocrites.[2]

Schroeder was a freelance psychoanalyst who studied the sexual basis of all religious experience. His interest in free speech, as well as his psychosexual theories, led him to study the controversial life of 19th-century free speech and women's rights advocate Ida C. Craddock.

Schroeder entered the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1882 to study engineering, then earned a law degree in 1889.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Schroeder practiced law for ten years in Salt Lake City, Utah, working for statehood for Utah.[3]

In 1900, Schroeder moved to New York. In 1902, he formed the Free Speech League (a precursor to the American Civil Liberties Union) with Lincoln Steffens and others.[3]

Schroeder helped defend his anarchist friend Emma Goldman at her Denver trial.[3]

In 1904 Schroeder retired from practicing law and began writing.[4]

At the time of Schroeder's death, a friend Kuhn was preparing for publication another book consisting of reprints of articles written by Schroeder, mainly anti-Mormon in nature. The headings of the articles were "Incest in Mormonism," "Polygamy in Congress," "Polygamy and the Constitution," "Polygamy and Inspired Lies," "The Sex-Determinant in Mormon Theology," "Mormonism and Prostitution," "Proxies in Mormon Polygamy," "Was Joseph Smith, 'The Prophet,' an Abortionist?" "Sadism in Mormonism," and "Sanctified Lust."[4]


His writings became the subject of a lawsuit following his death. In his will, Schroeder left his estate to two friends, with the instruction that the money from the estate be used to gather his voluminous writings and publish them. Two of Schroeder's cousins contested the will and successfully voided it.[1]

When upholding a lower court's decision, Judge O'Sullivan of the Connecticut Supreme Court stated in a unanimous three-judge opinion,

"The law will not declare a trust valid when the object of the trust, as the finding discloses, is to distribute articles which reek of the sewer. The very enumeration of some of the titles which Schroeder selected for his writings brands them indelibly, and a reading of the article which he called "Prenatal Psychisms and Mystical Pantheism" is a truly nauseating experience in the field of pornography. The trust is invalid as being contrary to public policy."[4]


  • Obscene Literature and Constitutional Law, 1911.
  • Erotogenesis of Religion
  • Divinity in Semen
  • Why Priests Don't Marry
  • Shaker Celibacy and Salacity
  • Phallic Worship to Secularized Sex
  • Al. Smith, The Pope and The Presidency, 1928
  • What About You? 1951 (Was a compilation which consisted, in part, of articles criticizing religious beliefs and questioning the existence of God. The titles of certain of its chapters were "The Love-Hate Complex," "Three Attitudes toward Sex," "Why Is Obscenity?" "Where Is Obscenity?" "'Obscenity' and Mental Health," "My Bigotry," and "My Envy.")[4]


  1. ^ a b "University of Michigan". Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ "University of Arkansas". Retrieved March 7, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Freethought of the Day". Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Fidelity Title & Trust Co. v. Clyde". 143 Conn. 247. March 13, 1956. 

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