"YES, INDIVIDUALISM HAS THE STRENGTH TO RESIST ALL ATTACKS": FIRST EDITION OF ROSE WILDER LANE'S LIBERTARIAN MANIFESTO, GIVE ME LIBERTY, 1936
LANE, Rose Wilder. Give Me Liberty. New York and Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1936. Slim octavo, original black paper boards, original dust jacket. $1600.
First edition of this classic libertarian manifesto written by the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, in scarce dust jacket.
The daughter of Little House author Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane was an unlikely candidate to become famous in economics and political theory. After all, she had no formal education in those subjects and, instead, eked out a meager living as a freelance writer. However, Lane did take advantage of an opportunity to travel afforded by the Red Cross. During the 1920s, she traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East and even visited the nascent Soviet Union. Her extensive travel led to a reconsideration of her prior communist beliefs. While communism was impressive as an ideal, Lane acknowledged the negative aspects of a communist society and thus began to adopt political and economic beliefs based on individualism and freedom. It was not surprising, then, that she found a home in libertarianism. "In 1936, Lane wrote 'Credo,' an 18,000-word article on liberty for the Saturday Evening Post. Three years later Leonard Read, General Manager of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, helped establish a little publishing firm called Pamphleteers, which reprinted Lane's article as Give Me Liberty. In it, Lane explained how free competition enables civilization to flourish despite scoundrels. 'I have no illusions about the pioneers,' she wrote. 'In general they were trouble-makers of the lower classes, and Europe was glad to be rid of them. They brought no great amount of intelligence or culture. Their principal desire was to do as they pleased… [Yet] only Americans pour wealth over the world, relieving suffering… Such are a few of the human values that grew from individualism while individualism was creating this nation" (Foundation for Economic Education). "Interesting comparisons are drawn between the policed and supervised existence of citizens of European countries—and our own insecure freedom from governmental restrictions and oversight. She recognizes the national roots—individualism and ignoring authority back to the undisciplined days of the War of Independence and on through the pioneering rackets, to the present kicking over the traces. It has its dangers—but it is worth it" (Kirkus). Give Me Liberty, along with Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and Isabel Paterson's The God of the Machine, is considered a foundational tract of American libertarianism. Two marginal pencil notations.
Book fine, scarce dust jacket extremely good with a bit of wear and minor toning to extremities. A desirable copy of an important work.