Publication information
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Source: Law Notes
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Legislation Against Anarchy”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: none
Pagination: 142

“Legislation Against Anarchy.” Law Notes Nov. 1901 v5: p. 142.
full text
William S. Cowherd (public statements); anarchism (laws against); anarchism.
Named persons
Mikhail Bakunin [variant first name below]; William S. Cowherd; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
As stated in the preceding editorial in the journal, Cowherd (below) is a congressman who addressed a meeting of the Kansas City Bar Association.


Legislation Against Anarchy

     IN discussing the general nature of legislation against anarchy, Mr. Cowherd said: “To appreciate the difficulty of effective legislation it is only necessary to look into the nature of the evil sought to be remedied. Anarchy is defined by Webster to be ‘an absence of government; the state of society where there is no law or supreme power.’ It is, in fact, a political belief or opinion in regard to the form of government. And we do not punish opinions, however inimical to society, unless accompanied by acts. The anarchists themselves are of two classes, the idealist and the criminal. The first have been properly termed the ‘opium-eaters of politics’; they are dreamers, who see visions of a Utopia where man is so highly developed, his ethereal quality so cultivated, there will be no government, because there will be no need of government. There will be no laws, because there will be no wrongs to right or crimes to punish, the conduct of every individual being regulated always by an exalted conscience. This was the theory of Proudhon, who has been called ‘the father of anarchists.’ From such gentle doctrine has grown the modern monster that threatens society. Of course, such dreams cannot be punished by law, nor would any one wish so to do. The unenviable distinction of founding the order of criminals, or ‘red anarchists,’ is usually given to Michael Bakunin, a Russian of aristocratic birth, at one time an officer in the army of the Czar, and a man of wealth. His political opinions brought him into conflict with the home government, and he fled to Italy. Starting with Proudhon’s ideal, he came to the conclusion that such a state of society would more quickly be brought about through force; so he taught that theft was a distribution of the property of the public that had been wrongfully permitted to accumulate in the hands of individuals, and the quickest way to learn to do without rule was to remove the ruler. Bakunin held that to overthrow government it was necessary to unloose all the powers now called evil, and destroy what is called public order.”



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