Ludwig von Mises Institute

No Treason

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No Treason is a three-part essay by Lysander Spooner, published in pamphlet format in 1867 and 1870. In it, Spooner argues that the United States Constitution, as a legal contract, is invalid because individuals did not consent to it. In the context of the American Civil War, Spooner therefore supports the secession of the South, even though he was fiercely anti-slavery. Similarly, he argues that the secessionists did not commit treason, since they never signed the Constitution and therefore are not bound to it.

Spooner issued three pamphlets carrying the title of No Treason, numbered 1, II, (both published in 1867) and VI (published in 1870). Spooner, on publishing No. VI, wrote, "For reasons not necessary to be explained, the sixth is now published in advance of the third, fourth and fifth." Numbers 3, 4, and 5 never appeared.

Murray Rothbard called it "the greatest case for anarchist political philosophy ever written."

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