Libertarian History/Philosophy

Edward Atkinson, Forgotten Libertarian Hero


At the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog, Matt Zwolinksi discusses a wonderful new podcast from historian Steve Davies devoted to "Forgotten Libertarians of American History." Zwolinksi pays particular attention to Edward Atkinson, a New England textile manufacturer and tireless champion of individualism in the second half of the 19th century:

He was, for starters, the founder of the tremendously important Anti-Imperialist League, an organization founded in 1899 to combat American militarism abroad. The League counted as members such luminaries as Mark Twain and William Graham Sumner….

But Atkinson was far from a single-issue activist. He was, in contrast, a vigorous and fairly consistent supporter of individual liberty across the board, whether it took the form of campaigning for free trade or pushing for the abolition of slavery. On that latter issue, and to give you a sense of the radicalism of which he was capable – Atkinson actually drew on his business experience to finance John Brown's famous raid on Harper's Ferry!

Read all about it here.