Showing 1–50 of 144 results

Considerations on Representative Government

Mill’s volume was published in 1861 as an argument favoring this form of governance. Mill covers what forms of government work best, including when representative government is applicable and when not. He details appropriate functions of representative bodies and warns of problems to avoid. He distinguishes between true and false democracy. Other areas covered include how voting is carried out, the role of a second chamber in Parliament, and how an executive branch might function. (Summary by Bill Boerst)

The Conquest of Bread

In this work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society. (Summary by Wikipedia)

The Facts of Reconstruction

After the American Civil War, John R. Lynch, who had been a slave in Mississippi, began his political career in 1869 by first becoming Justice of the Peace, and then Mississippi State Representative. He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations. In 1884 Lynch was the first African American nominated after a moving speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the position of Temporary Chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, he was appointed Treasury Auditor and then Paymaster under the Republicans. In 1901, he began serving with the Regular Army with tours of duty in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines. Lynch retired from the Army in 1911, then married Cora Williams. They moved to Chicago, where he practiced law. He also became involved in real estate. After his death in Chicago 1939 at the age of 92, he was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. He was entitled to this as a Congressman and veteran. After the turn of the century, Lynch wrote a book, The Facts of Reconstruction, and several articles criticizing the then-dominant Dunning School historiography. Dunning and followers had emphasized the views of former slave owners and routinely downplayed any positive contributions of African Americans during Reconstruction, as well as suggesting they could not manage any political power. Lynch argued that blacks had made substantial contributions during the period. Since he participated directly in Reconstruction-era governments, Lynch’s book is considered a primary source in study of the period. (Introduction by Guero and Wikipedia.)

The Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville’s didactic poem praising the virtues that personal vices bestow on society as a whole, along with several treatises and dialogues explaining and defending it. Mandeville’s theories were influential in the development of both the moral philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment and the methodology of modern economics. – Summary by Matthew Mu?oz

A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

As a precursor to Capital, Marx outlines his analysis of capitalism and critiques classical economic theories. – Summary by Tray

Birth Control and the State

This essay is one of a great number that endorse the principle of eugenics, a controversial study and practice that aims for society or government to ‘self-direct’ the course of human evolution. In this essay, one finds discussion of contraception, abortion, population growth and war, as well as questions of ‘race.’ One finds here a use of the term ‘race’ meaning something far different than what is used today. This is a provocative essay. – Summary by KevinS

The Federalist Papers (version 2)

?The Federalist Papers? are a collection of 85 linked essays that explain the construction of the U.S. government and why it was built that way. The Papers are regarded as the best pipeline into understanding the U.S. Constitution and the founding principles of the government it would establish. I have endeavored here to present these essays, not as articles in a newspaper, but as you might have experienced them if you had sat in a comfortable tavern with a tankard in hand, and listened while these ardent men ranged in front of a friendly fireplace as they attempted to convince you of their arguments. Following the Revolutionary War, the newly-independent United States of America were organized under the Articles of Confederation. This well-intentioned document was faulty to the purpose, and the new nation rapidly found itself in dire financial distress. Consequently, in 1787 a Constitutional Convention was called to produce a new blueprint for the government. After completion, that plan was sent to the States in September of that year for ratification, but it immediately came under fire for the powers it granted to the central government. In New York, views on either side were heated. To persuade the public to support the Constitution for ratification, Alexander Hamilton (who had been a delegate to the Convention) and John Jay (who had helped negotiate the treaty with Great Britain that ended the War), began a series of anonymous essays to educate the citizenry in how the government would be arranged, and why those choices had been made. Later, when Jay was rendered unable to continue by an attack of rheumatism, Virginian James Madison (another Convention delegate who was in New York, serving in the Confederation Congress) was recruited to fill in. Each wrote essays that were signed ?Publius,? the name of a general who had helped to found Rome, to conceal their identities, which might have led to difficulties as Hamilton and Madison had been inside the deliberations at the Convention. These essays were published serially in New York newspapers, eventually reaching the total of 85. (Summary by Mark Smith)

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers (correctly known as The Federalist) are a series of 85 articles advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788 . A compilation of these and eight others, called The Federalist, was published in 1788 by J. and A. M?Lean. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government.The authors of the Federalist Papers wanted to both influence the vote in favor of ratification and shape future interpretations of the Constitution. According to historian Richard Morris, they are an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer.” (Summary by Wikipedia)

Crime, Its Causes and Remedies

Published as the third volume in the Modern Criminal Science Series, Cesare Lombroso, renowned Italian criminologist, collected a wealth of information regarding the incidence, classification, and causes of crime. Crime calendars, the geography of crime, unusual events and circumstances leading to more frequent crime, political motivations and associations of criminal enterprise and an assessment of the real value and effectiveness of prisons and reform programs are all included in this three part volume. – Summary by Leon Harvey

The American Crisis aka “The Crisis”

A 13 pamphlet series by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher/author Thomas Paine, published between 1776 to 1783 during and immediately following the American Revolution, gathered into one volume in 1882 by Moncure D. Conway. Each essay, plus 2 inserts, bolstered the morale of the American colonists to fight hard for their independence, appealed to the English to support the colonist’s cause, clarified the issues at stake, and denounced any type of negotiated peace. Replete with quotable quotes, the first pamphlet, Crisis I, begins with the now-familiar words “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Paine, an Englishman living in the colonies, signed his pamphlets anonymously as “Common Sense.” ( Michele Fry)

The American Credo

The American Credo: A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind, published in 1920, is a commentary on US politics, specifically regarding the tribalism encouraged by politicians and religious leaders, the contradicting definitions of professed American ideals, and, further, the cyclical nature of human history itself. – Summary by Adrienne Prevost

Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story

Ambassador Morgenthau?s memoirs of his years in the service of the United States in Constantinople, (today Istanbul), are an important primary historical resource for the study of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide. During this genocide, approximately 1,500,000 Armenians living in Anatolia were murdered in an attempt to rid Turkey of its non-Turkish populations. Mr. Morgenthau left Turkey a frustrated man, having done all that he was able through diplomatic circles to halt the murders, to no avail. Today, Turkey?s official position is that their attempt to annihilate the Armenian population in Turkey was not a genocide. In 2010, the American House Foreign Relations Committee passed House Resolution 252, officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide. ?If we hope to stop future genocides we need to admit to those horrific acts of the past. When Hitler had to convince his cohorts that the world would let them get away with it, he turned to them and said, ?Who today speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians??,? said Congressman Brad Sherman, co-sponsor of the resolution. ?The last act of any genocide is genocide denial, and the first act of preventing the next genocide is to acknowledge past acts of genocide.? (Introduction by Margaret Espaillat)

The Age of Reason (version 2)

The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a pamphlet, written by a British and American revolutionary Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason challenges institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of Christianity. Published in three parts in 1794, 1795, and 1807, it was a bestseller in the United States, where it caused a short-lived deistic revival. Part 1 was written sometime in 1793, and attacks the concepts of divine revelation and inspiration. He urged his readers to employ reason over revelation. Part 2 was written either during or shortly after his confinement in a French prison in 1794. In Part 2, Paine attacks the reliability of the Bible and points out numerous absurdities and contradictions. Part 3 was written in the United States sometime around 1800 but he delayed publication until 1807 for fears of violent backlash. Part 3 is an examination and rejection of the claims of prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. Although these arguments were commonly known amongst the educated elite, Paine wrote in simple and irreverent prose that was easily accessible to a mass audience. Paine argued against religion as it is revealed in the Bible, but he argued just as strongly for a Deistic religion and a Creator of Reason. This LibriVox recording of The Age of Reason is taken from Richard Carlile?s anthology of Paine?s writings, published in 1818. Carlile charged one shilling and sixpence for the work, and the first run of 1,000 copies sold out in a month. He immediately published a second edition of 3,000 copies. In 1819, Carlile was found guilty of blasphemy and seditious libel and sentenced to three years in Dorchester Gaol with a fine of ?1,500. The prosecutions surrounding the printing of The Age of Reason in Britain continued for thirty years after its initial release and encompassed numerous publishers as well as over a hundred booksellers. (Summary by JoeD and Wikipedia)

The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, a deistic treatise written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, critiques institutionalized religion and challenges the inerrancy of the Bible. Published in three parts in 1794, 1795, and 1807, it was a bestseller in America, where it caused a short-lived deistic revival. British audiences, however, fearing increased political radicalism as a result of the French revolution, received it with more hostility. The Age of Reason presents common deistic arguments; for example, it highlights the corruption of the Christian Church and criticizes its efforts to acquire political power. Paine advocates reason in the place of revelation, leading him to reject miracles and to view the Bible as an ordinary piece of literature rather than as a divinely-inspired text. Yet, The Age of Reason is not atheistic: it promotes natural religion and argues for a creator-God. (Summary by Wikipedia)

The Age of Anne

This short survey of the age of Queen Anne begins with the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) and the career of the Duke of Marlborough, leader of the allied armies against Louis XIV. Scotland joins England to form the United Kingdom. Peter the Great wrests control of the Gulf of Finland from Charles XII of Sweden and builds St. Petersburg. Despite the Jacobite threat, the Whigs secure the Protestant Succession and George I ascends the throne. Pope writes a mock epic in couplets, Addison’s “Spectator” enlivens coffee houses and tea tables, and Defoe creates the immortal “Robinson Crusoe.” (Pamela Nagami, M.D.)

The African Problem and the Peace Settlement

In this essay, the author directs our attention on the African continent and describes how the exploitation and colonization of Africa by European powers contributed to the then-ongoing World War. Without a just and measured settlement of African concerns, the promise is for continued warfare among nations even after the peace to be negotiated at the close of the European conflict. – Summary by KevinS

United Kingdom House of Commons Speeches Collection, volume 3

This is the third LibriVox collection of speeches given in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The collection comprises recordings of 10 historic speeches given to the UK House of Commons between 1601 and 1960. Readings are of speeches originally given by Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria, and by parliamentarians Edmund Burke, Herbert Asquith, Winston Churchill, Barbara Castle, Margaret Thatcher and Michael Foot. (Summary by Ruth Golding)

Presidential Farewell and Last Addresses

This collection will put in one place, all the Farewell (or last) Addresses made by each of the 43 ex-US presidents. The first, George Washington’s “Farewell Address”, issued as a public letter in 1796, was one of the most influential statements of republicanism. Drafted primarily by Washington himself, with help from Hamilton, it gives advice on the necessity and importance of national union, the value of the Constitution and the rule of law, the evils of political parties, and the proper virtues of a republican people. He called morality “a necessary spring of popular government”. He said, “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Washington’s public political address warned against foreign influence in domestic affairs and American meddling in European affairs. He warned against bitter partisanship in domestic politics and called for men to move beyond partisanship and serve the common good. He warned against “permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world”, saying the United States must concentrate primarily on American interests. He counseled friendship and commerce with all nations, but warned against involvement in European wars and entering into long-term “entangling” alliances. The address quickly set American values regarding foreign affairs. ( Wikipedia) All of the other presidential addresses were collected from available on-line sources and, while there may be disagreement among some as to which, exactly, was the “last address” of a particular president, great effort has been made to be as accurate as possible. (summary by John Greenman)

The 9/11 Commission Report

9/11 Commission Report, formally titled Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was prepared by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (informally sometimes known as the “9/11 Commission” or the “Kean/Zelikow Commission”) at the request of the President of the United States and Congress. The commission convened on November 26, 2002 (441 days after the attack) and their final report was issued on July 22, 2004.