Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History

In search of Spooner’s lost papers

| January 19, 2014

When Lysander Spooner died in 1887 he left behind a body of books, pamphlets, essays, and newspaper columns covering almost half a century. But he also left something more, at least according to reports at the time. One such example comes from the author of his primary eulogy and, in many ways, intellectual heir Benjamin […]

An abolitionist’s take on the NSA email surveillance program

| August 8, 2013

In light of the recent revelations about the NSA’s massive email spying programs, I’m reminded of this passage from my favorite abolitionist Lysander Spooner in his own response to the postal monopoly of his day. Keep in mind that at the time he wrote this, the privacy of the mails was a contentious political issue. […]