Publication information
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Source: Baltimore American
Source type: newspaper
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “A Defender of Anarchists”
Author(s): Austin, Kate
City of publication: Baltimore, Maryland
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 191
Issue number: 34826
Pagination: 6

Austin, Kate. “A Defender of Anarchists.” Baltimore American 28 Sept. 1901 v191n34826: p. 6.
full text
McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); anarchism; presidential assassinations (comparison); law.
Named persons
Kate Austin; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield.
The text of the first two paragraphs below is identical to that found in a George B. Wheeler letter to the editor published in Truth Seeker (26 October 1901). Click here to view Wheeler’s letter.


A Defender of Anarchists

     To the Editor of The American: I respectfully suggest that the individuals who are now crying loudly for the enactment of repressive laws to suppress the anarchists should first study their literature, in order that they may discover that there is no call for this bloodthirsty cry of extermination that is being so pitilessly urged against unoffending men, women and children. It is true, anarchy aims to abolish government, not by killing rulers, but by developing the thought in the minds of men that government is not necessary; that there is room enough on the earth for men to dwell in peace and plenty without standing armies, police, jails and scaffolds. The anarchist propaganda is not a message of blood, but of peace; it appeals to reason, to human sympathy. Study their literature, and it will be found that there is no connection between Czolgosz’s act and the philosophy of anarchy. It is cruel and inhuman to hold all anarchists responsible for the act of one of their number. The slayer of Garfield claimed he had a mission from God to kill the president, but did the world at large hold Christianity responsible for that bloody act? No. Yet it is common for Christian men and women to declare they are doing God’s work.
     The upholders of government cannot kill the ideal of anarchy by hanging its teachers or by persecuting its adherents. If the theory of anarchy has no rational basis, reason is the only weapon that will demolish it. Likewise with government—force can never destroy it; only the power of human thought, which has slowly demolished the false dogmas of the past, can make a breach in the wall of government. Humanity has nothing to fear from the development of the mind. Laws are the creations of fallible men. Therefore, there is nothing sacred about the law that one should fear to criticise or investigate. If a law will not bear criticism, then there is something wrong about that law.
     I am personally acquainted with a number of anarchists. They are industrious, lovable people, with strong sympathies. I see no reason why they should be exterminated or deported from the land of their birth. Yours for reason in all things,

K. A., Caplinger Mills, Md. [sic]     



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