The Josiah Warren Project

josiah warren

This site is devoted to the work of the American individualist, anti-capitalist, and anarchist Josiah Warren. It represents an ongoing project to organize and publish Warren's work that will deliver a book at some stage of its development.

The point of The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren will be to render Warren's prose, beset by an almost incredible repetitiveness and hyperbole, less painful for all readers, in the belief that his ideal of cooperative economy and his metaphysics of individuality are relevant to our current little predicaments.

Notes on the texts
Warren's published texts are the result of a number of efforts to organize and edit by Stephen Pearl Andrews and others. Most of the material no doubt originates in notebooks (now lost except for 'D'). The two book- length works of political philosophy published in his lifetime, and intermittently reissued in tiny editions since, are known as Equitable Commerce and True Civilization, the texts of which overlap. The first of these was presented explicitly as an attempt by Stephen Pearl Andrews to reckon with the mess of Warren's notebooks and periodicals. The second seems to have been Warren's attempt to do likewise for material emerging after about 1850. Both of them are eccentrically set up for printing and eccentrically organized. Equitable Commerce features Warren's marginal indexing, while True Civilization features (only) a thematic table of contents. I have not tried to reproduce this effect, except by including a conventional index to the book as a whole. There are bibliographic entries for writings I have not examined, though not many - but I doubt that anything will add anything fundamental to our understanding of Warren's political and economic philosophy; this was always framed in a few relatively clear propositions; the work we know is repetitive enough. At any rate, I have severely curtailed Warren's penchant for emphasis, which could include several sizes of capitals, along with italics and exclamation points. I have liberally changed or corrected punctuation; Warren's is inconsistent and often infelicitous, and, in the notebooks, careless, as one might expect. I have also made many excisions, not specifically marked in the text; the plan is to present facsimiles of at least some works on line. I have hoped to produce a definitive reading text of Warren's writings, but this has been a problem since his earliest publications. There could be other solutions, of course: especially an attempt to reproduce various early typestyles and indexing systems. I decided to move emphatically in the other direction.

my stuff:

timeline of the life of josiah warren

introduction of The Practical Anarchist

warren bibliography

american utopias

texts by josiah warren:

in its entirety, for the first time since a few copies were printed on the frontier; the first american anarchist periodical: the peaceful revolutionist

edited text of equitable commerce. to see what the original typesetting etc looked like, consult the PDF file of "Equitable Commerce" at the anarchy archives.

edited text of true civilization, warren's book published at the height of the civil war. (and here is the full text of the book at anarchy archives).

narrative of practical experiments, encompassing passages from the "quarterly letter" (1867) and "practical applications of the principles of true civilization" (1872).

Notebook D: never before published; 1840 sections of Warren's handwritten notebook, from the Working Men's Institute, New Harmony.

preliminary remarks for written music remodeled as an exact science

letter from an "individual", setting out some sweeping arguments for the sovereignty of the individual. text courtesy of labadie collection.

plan of the cincinnati labor for labor store, 1829.

modern education, text of a brochure for warren's mechanical college at modern times, 1861.

against compulsory education (a fragment)

from the march of mind, a piece on freedom and determinsim from 1828.

manifesto [a strange and interesting document], with an introduction by Joseph Ishill.


a letter, from 1853

discovered by shawn wilbur: open letter to louis kossuth

material about warren:

kenneth rexroth on josiah warren, from rexroth's book "communalism: from its origin to the twentieth century."

text of stephen pearl andrews's science of society, an exposition of warren's social and economic principles. the text includes (as an appendix) a sharp review of warren's "equitable commerce" by george ripley, the founder of the brook farm comunity.

text of ezra heywood'syours or mine, a very able exposition of warren's economic pinciples. on google books.

john humphrey noyes on josiah warren, from the classic book "history of american socialisms"

william bailie's biography of warren, at the anarchy archives.

from clark kimberling: biography of josiah warren by his son george, and example of warren's universal typography

bios, gathered from here and there on principals in the jw bio, including Robert Owen, Frances Wright, Stephen Pearl Andrews etc.

wikipedia entry

warren area at the anarchy archives

other links etc:

american liberties: primary texts of american anti-authoritarianism.

shawn wilbur's william batchelder greene site. greene, "the american proudhon" developed a theory of banking compatible with warren's economic ideas, and wrote memoirs of transcendentalism and transcendentalists.

also shawn wilbur's blog, where a lot of info is posted about warren and others of his ilk, such as
a novel step in business: description of equitable store from 1863

William Pare, "Equitable Villages in America" Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 1856).

timebanks: equitable commerce: it's still saving the world.

josiah warren