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// -- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon page, from the Anarchist Encyclopedia / Anarchopedia

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, (1809-1865)

French anarchist philosopher, a printer by trade, a profession which gave birth to many anarchists, but Proudhon was the first to call himself an anarchist.

In the mid-1800s he was the leading left intellectual in Europe, far surpassing Marx's notoriety or Bakunin's. Proudhon had the profoundest effect upon the workers' movement in the 19th century & his ideas influenced some of the most notable later anarchists, including Leo Tolstoy & Michael Bakunin

A Short Timeline for Proudhon

1809: Born in Besancon, France, to a peasant family

1820's: Shows great genius in academics, but cannot afford to study

1828: Apprenticed to a printer; later supervises the printing of philosopher/mathematician Charles Fourier's The New Industrial World and Society

1820's-1830's: Teaches himself Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and theology; becomes an atheist

1838: Wins a pension enabling himself to be devoted to writing and scholarship

1840: Completes What Is Property?, an essay which profoundly equates the finance capitalistic view of "property" as theft

1842: Sent to trial over his sequel to What Is Property?, called Warning to Proprietors

1843: Moves to Lyons, France; learns about industry and becomes involved with the Mutualists, an illegal French workers' association of the time

mid 1840's: Makes acquaintances with Karl Marx , Mikhail Bakunin, and Alexander Herzen

1846: Opposes Marx's centralist and authoritarian ideas over the organization of the Socialist movement; publishes System of Economic Contradictions: or, The Philosophy of Poverty, which calls for a more libertarian and decentralized form of socialism; Proudhon's The Philosophy of Poverty is soon rebuked by Marx, who writes The Poverty of Philosophy in response

1848: Goes to Paris, wher he writes his paper Le Representant du peuple

1848-1849: Edits four revolutionary newspapers and anarchist periodicals during the historic Revolutions of 1848, which are destroyed by government censorship; criticizes the authoritarianism of the Revolution of 1848 and tries to establish a People's Bank

1849: Writes Confessions d'un revolutionairre

1849-1852: Imprisoned by Louis-Napoleon (later Napoleon III); edits last paper with help of Alexander Herzen; marries and has his first child while in prison

1851: Writes The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, which detailedly explains his agrarian theories

1850's: Constantly harassed by French federal authorities

1858: Publishes De la justice dans la Revolution et dans l'eglise, which opposes a humanist theory of justice; flees to Belgium when the book is seized

1862: Develops ideas of world federation and opposition to nationalism

1863: Writes Du Principe federatif; returns to Paris

1865: Influences the founding of the First International; writes De la capacite des classes ouvrieres, which describes the responsibilities of workers and small farmers in gaining their liberation; dies in Paris

Other dates, with more detail & links, may be found in the online Anarchist Timeline.

"To be governed is to be ...
Famous quote from Proudhon on Government, in full, at our Anarchist Quotes Page,

Some internet sites for Proudhon,

Anarchy Archives sponsored by Dana Ward at Pitzer College, resource pages produced by numerous students,

Ephéméride anarchiste in French, at

See also the Wikipedia,

Some Proudhon online texts,
What is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.
System of Economical Contradictions or, The Philosophy of Misery

Last updated January 2003, 2006, 2011

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