Liberty (1881–1908)

Liberty OldPeriodical.jpg
Liberty (October 3, 1885)
Type Political philosophy
Format Biweekly newspaper
Editor Benjamin Tucker
Founded 1881
Political alignment Anarchism
Language English
Ceased publication 1908
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts

Liberty was a nineteenth-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 Benjamin 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 Proudhon saying that liberty is "Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order."


Benjamin Tucker was an individualist anarchist and made it clear that the purpose of the journal was to further his point of view, saying in the first issue that 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. He says of Proudhon: "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).

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