Read more on this subject: American History
Feature Article by Sam Jacobs
Lysander Spooner is an important – and not exactly obscure – figure in the history of the liberty movement. He's an idiosyncratic figure from the 19th century with no small cheerleading section in the 21st century. A bit of a throwback to a very different time, Spooner was a champion of the labor movement and was even a member of the First International at a time when socialists and anarchists coexisted peacefully within that movement.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Spooner is that he ran a private company in direct competition with the United States Post Office. This endeavor predictably failed not because the American Letter Mail Company couldn't compete, but because Spooner was hamstrung by lawfare.
Spooner was born in Athol, MA, in 1808, a descendant of Mayflower pilgrims and the second of nine children. His career as a lawyer set the template for the rest of his life's work:
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