Books on Politics
By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
A Modern Utopia
H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that would increasingly preoccupy him throughout the remainder of his life. One of his most ambitious early attempts at portraying a world state was A Modern Utopia (1905). A Modern Utopia was intended as a hybrid between fiction and 'philosophical discussion'. Like most utopists, he has indicated a series of modifications which in his opinion would increase the aggregate of human happiness. Basically, Wells' idea of a perfect world would be if everyone were able to live a happy life...
Wells considered this book one of his most important, a natural follow-up to such works as his Man of the Year Million and The Time Machine. His goal was to get people to think and act in new ways. The book starts with a look at how humans get along socially and how they carry out their business ventures. It then discusses how these elements influence others, such as politics, the world of work, and education. H. G. tried to make clear how the current social order was disintegrating without preparing another to take its place. He then traced the roots of democracy, which in its present state he saw as unworkable. Instead, he proposed a new republic. He also critiqued modern warfare.
Washington and the Riddle of Peace
As an observer at the WASHINGTON CONFERENCE FOR THE LIMITATION OF ARMAMENTS held in 1921 and attended by the victorious nations of The Great War, the acclaimed author H. G. Wells wrote 29 short essays that were serialized in the New York World and other newspapers. This book is a collection of those essays. They are not a record or description of the Conference, but the impressions of one visitor. Wells noted that the failed League of Nations was the first American initiative toward an organized world peace, and in its absence “the American mind has produced this second experiment, which has been tried with the loosest of constitutions and the most severely defined and limited of aims...
By: H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Notes On Democracy
American journalist H.L. Mencken’s Notes On Democracy was originally published in 1926, yet is still relevant almost 100 years later. Mencken has proposed some succinct and satirical definitions of democracy, such as, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” And, “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey house.” One predictable result of democracy, Mencken explains, is that the professional politician, who’s objective is always the job, and not the principle, is in a constant struggle for office and its rewards...
By: H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925)
Set in the days of the Crusaders, this books tells of a young maiden named Rosamund, and her twin cousins. Godwin is the grey eyed thoughtful man, and Wulf is the blue eyed warrior. They are both knights of England and they are both in love with their fair cousin. But the riddle of the story is which does Rosamund love?The adventure begins when Rosamund is taken from England and carried to the East. The plot thickens as the two young knights follow her in hopes of rescuing her from the Muslim leader, Saladin...
By: Harold J. Laski (1893-1950)
Karl Marx: An Essay
Born in Manchester in 1893, Harold Laski was a leading figure in the left-wing of British socialism in the first half of the 20th century. An executive member of the Fabian Society and member of the Socialist League faction of the Labour Party, he was party chairman in 1945-6. As a professor at the London School of Economics he influenced a number of prominent politicians of the post-war years, including leaders of the independence movements of Asia and Africa, and Ralph Milliband, father of the current Labour Party leader, Ed Milliband...
By: Harry Thurston Peck (1856-1914)
Twenty Years of the Republic 1885-1905
Excerpt: At the time when Mr. Cleveland was inaugurated there had been no Democratic President for a full quarter of a century. A whole generation had been born and had grown to manhood and to womanhood without ever having lived under any but Republican rule. This long continuance in power of a single party had led many citizens to identify the interest of that party with the interests of the nation. The democrats had been so invariably beaten at the polls as to make Republicans believe that the defeated party had no decent reason for existence, and that is was composed only of wilful obstructionists or of persons destitute of patriotism...
By: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1867-1941)
This Country of Ours
History made interesting for young readers—This Country of Ours by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall provides a simple and easy to comprehend way of looking at the history of the United States. Arranged chronologically in seven long chapters, it presents events in a story form, making them memorable and very different from other formats. One of the challenges that writers of history face is about fleshing out the characters and making the bland repetition of dates and dynasties seem relevant to modern day readers...
By: Henry Adams (1838-1918)
Democracy - An American Novel
Not until after his death in 1918 was it revealed that Henry Adams was the anonymous author of Democracy, which had been published to great acclaim in 1880. Though the book avoids dates and the characters are fictitious, the setting is no doubt that of Washington in the 1870s, the age of Presidents Grant and Hayes. The young widow, Madeleine Lee, wealthy and independent, is the protagonist, who leaves her New York for Washington to turn her intelligence to politics and to see what makes her country tick...
By: Henry Morgenthau (1856-1946)
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...
By: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
The Free Press
I propose to discuss in what follows the evil of the great modern Capitalist Press, its function in vitiating and misinforming opinion and in putting power into ignoble hands; its correction by the formation of small independent organs, and the probably increasing effect of these last. (Introduction by Hilaire Belloc)
By: Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney (1873-1928)
The Universal Religion: Bahaism - Its Rise and Social Import
“Bahaism is not a new religion,” writes Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney, “It is religion renewed… it does not pretend to represent the whole Truth; on the contrary, it recognises Truth in fundamental principles which are the basis of all former dispensations, and which for that very reason form the standpoint of concord too long lost sight of. And it requires people to renounce ancient superstitions, to abandon the dead letter in order to be penetrated by the living and vivifying spirit, then by...
By: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Perpetual Peace, A Philosophic Essay (Trueblood Translation)
This essay, written in 1795, puts forth a plan for a lasting peace between nations and peoples. Kant puts forth necessary means to any peace, and argues that nations can be brought into federation with one another without loss of sovereignty. In one translation, telling of the historical impact of this essay, this federation is called a “league of nations.” The supplements and appendices are of considerable interest on their own. The supplements contain an argument regarding the use which nature makes of war, and the way in which nature, in the end, impels us towards peace...
By: Jack London (1876-1916)
The Iron Heel
A dystopian novel about the terrible oppressions of an American oligarchy at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and the struggles of a socialist revolutionary movement. (Introduction by Matt Soar)
By: Jacob A. Riis (1849-1914)
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (1890) was a pioneering work of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting the squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. It served as a basis for future muckraking journalism by exposing the slums to New York City’s upper and middle class. The title of the book is a reference to a phrase of François Rabelais, who wrote in Pantagruel: "one half of the world does not know how the other half lives".
Neighbors – Life Stories of the Other Half
These stories have come to me from many sources—some from my own experience, others from settlement workers, still others from the records of organized charity, that are never dry, as some think, but alive with vital human interest and with the faithful striving to help the brother so that it counts. They have this in common, that they are true. For good reasons, names and places are changed, but they all happened as told here. I could not have invented them had I tried; I should not have tried if I could...
By: James Buchanan (1791-1868)
State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents (1857 - 1860)
The State of the Union address is a speech presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, typically delivered annually. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his legislative agenda and national priorities. This album contains recordings of addresses from James Buchanan. - Summary by Wikipedia and Linette Geisel
By: James K. Polk (1795-1849)
State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents (1845 - 1848)
The State of the Union address is a speech presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, typically delivered annually. The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his legislative agenda and national priorities. This album contains recordings of addresses from James Polk.
By: James Thomson (1834-1882)
Satires and Profanities
"Believing as I do that James Thomson is, since Shelley, the most brilliant genius who has wielded a pen in the service of Freethought, I take a natural pride and pleasure in rescuing the following articles from burial in the great mausoleum of the periodical press. There will doubtless be a diversity of opinion as to their value. One critic, for instance, has called “The Story of a Famous Old Jewish Firm” a witless squib; but, on the other hand, the late Professor Clifford considered it a piece of exquisite mordant satire worthy of Swift...
By: Jane Addams (1860-1935)
Twenty Years at Hull-House
Jane Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In a long, complex career, she was a pioneer settlement worker and founder of Hull-House in Chicago, public philosopher (the first American woman in that role), author, and leader in woman suffrage and world peace. She was the most prominent woman of the Progressive Era and helped turn the nation to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health and world peace. She emphasized that women have a special responsibility to clean up their communities and make them better places to live, arguing they needed the vote to be effective...
The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets
Much of the material in the following pages has appeared in current publications. It is here presented in book form in the hope that it may prove of value to those groups of people who in many cities are making a gallant effort to minimize the dangers which surround young people and to provide them with opportunities for recreation. (Introduction by Jane Addams) Jane Addams (1860 – 1935) was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In a long, complex career, she was a pioneer settlement worker and founder of Hull House in Chicago, a public philosopher, a sociologist, an author and a spokesperson for women's suffrage and world peace.
By: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind
This work presents Rousseau’s belief in the profoundly transformational effects of the development of civilization on human nature, which Rousseau claims other political philosophers had failed to grasp. Specifically, before the onset of civilization, according to Rousseau, natural man lived a contented, solitary life, naturally good and happy. It is only with the onset of civilization, Rousseau claims, that humans become social beings, and, concomitant with their civilization, natural man becomes corrupted with the social vices of pride, vanity, greed and servility.
The Social Contract
The Social Contract outlines Rousseau’s views on political justice, explaining how a just and legitimate state is to be founded, organized and administered. Rousseau sets forth, in his characteristically brazen and iconoclastic manner, the case for direct democracy, while simultaneously casting every other form of government as illegitimate and tantamount to slavery. Often hailed as a revolutionary document which sparked the French Revolution, The Social Contract serves both to inculcate dissatisfaction with actually-existing governments and to allow its readers to envision and desire a radically different form of political and social organization. (Summary by Eric Jonas)
By: Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
Offences Against One's Self: Paederasty
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He was a political radical and a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law. He is best known as an early advocate of utilitarianism and animal rights who influenced the development of liberalism. The essay Offences Against One’s Self (c. 1785), argued for the liberalisation of laws prohibiting homosexuality. The essay remained unpublished during Bentham’s lifetime for fear of offending public morality...
An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
Jeremy Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, a classic text in modern philosophy and jurisprudence, first published in 1789, focuses on the principle of utility and how this view of morality ties into legislative practices. Bentham's ambition in life was to create a complete Utilitarian code of law. The philosophy of utilitarianism argues that the right act or policy is that which would cause "the greatest good for the greatest number of people", also known as "the greatest happiness principle", or the principle of utility...
By: Johanna Brandt (1876-1964)
The Petticoat Commando
In introducing the English version of this book I venture to bespeak a welcome for it, not only for the light which it throws on some little-known incidents of the South African war, but also because of the keen personal interest of the events recorded. It is more than a history. It is a dramatic picture of the hopes and fears, the devotion and bitterness with which some patriotic women in Pretoria watched and, as far as they could, took part in the war which was slowly drawing to its conclusion on the veld outside...
By: John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)
A Problem in Modern Ethics
“Society lies under the spell of ancient terrorism and coagulated errors. Science is either wilfully hypocritical or radically misinformed.” John Addington Symonds struck many an heroic note in this courageous (albeit anonymously circulated) essay. He is a worthy Virgil guiding the reader through the Inferno of suffering which emerging medico-legal definitions of the sexually deviant were prepared to inflict on his century and on the one which followed. Symonds pleads for sane human values in...
By: John Eliot (1604-1690)
John Eliot, a North American missionary, advocates for post-civil-war England to adopt a representative democracy, using the Mosaic Law as a model.
By: John Locke (1632-1704)
Two Treatises of Civil Government
The Two Treatises of Civil Government is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke. The First Treatise is an extended attack on Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha, which argued for a divinely-ordained, hereditary, absolute monarchy. The more influential Second Treatise outlines a theory of civil society based on natural rights and contract theory. Locke begins by describing the “state of nature,” and goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, asserting that the only legitimate governments are those which have the consent of the people...
By: John Lothrop Motley (1814-1877)
Causes Of The American Civil War
John Lothrop Motley was an American author and popular diplomat, who helped to prevent European intervention on the side of the Confederates in the American Civil War. In 1861, just after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Motley wrote two letters to The Times defending the Federal position, and these letters, afterwards reprinted as [this] pamphlet entitled Causes of the Civil War in America, made a favourable impression on President Lincoln. Partly owing to this essay, Motley was appointed...
By: John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)
Economic Consequences of the Peace
The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) was a best seller throughout the world, published by John Maynard Keynes. Keynes attended the Versailles Conference as a delegate of the British Treasury and argued for a much more generous peace with Germany. The book was critical in establishing a general worldwide opinion that the Versailles Treaty was a brutal and unfair peace towards Germany. It helped to consolidate American public opinion against the treaty and involvement in the League of Nations...
By: John Milton (1608-1674)
A prose tract or polemic by John Milton, published November 23, 1644, at the height of the English Civil War… Milton, though a supporter of the Parliament, argued forcefully against the Licensing Order of 1643, noting that such censorship had never been a part of classical Greek and Roman society. The tract is full of biblical and classical references which Milton uses to strengthen his argument. The issue was personal for Milton as he had suffered censorship himself in his efforts to publish...