Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Man Versus the State” as Want to Read:
The Man Versus the State
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Man Versus the State

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  143 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Spencer had caught a vision of what might be in store for mankind if its potential were free to realize itself.

— Edmund A. Opitz, The Freeman

This volume contains the four essays that Spencer published as The Man Versus the State in 1884 as well as five essays added by later publishers. In addition, it provides "The Proper Sphere of Government," an important early essay b
...more
Paperback, 550 pages
Published November 30th 2009 by Liberty Fund Inc. (first published 1881)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Man Versus the State, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Man Versus the State

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Otto Lehto
Jul 18, 2014 Otto Lehto rated it it was amazing
Only pedophiles, alas, are more hated than the so-called "social darwinists" - whose granddaddy Herbert Spencer (who coined the term "survival of the fittest") is. This is rather unfair, and sad.

Spencer was a great intellectual and an important thinker. He was, contrary to the cold and selfish image with which he is treated, a passionate believer in human progress and the virtues of voluntary human cooperation. He simply opposed all forms of COERCED cooperation under what he called a "militant"
...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
Though this collection encompasses essays from 150 to 130 years ago concerning the consequences of State interference in society, the parallels in the loss of liberty for the individual and the growth of the over-weaning State in 19th century England are eerily similar to what has happened to us in the 20th century (and continuing in the early 21st) in America. Miseries are compounded and progress in technical and social development was slowed and stopped then and now by that great evil called t ...more
Karl
Aug 26, 2011 Karl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spencer gets an "A" for effort and being informative of the times he lives in (the redeeming social value), and I also deplore these conditions he portrays about losing rights and freedoms--but I come to a different conclusion. He believes in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. An imperfect welfare system is not the reason to abolish it because its still better than having none at all. He is very constricting in his definition of state powers and legitimate authorities. It is true that the ...more
Nick
Solid 4. Each essay in this is a winner. However, I fear that reading them might be nyquil in book format, and listening to some of them on audio was a good idea.

He draws from a huge wealth of knowledge ranging from biology, to sociology/anthropology of various native cultures, british legislative history, ancient european history, physics, etc.

This was written as the shift from classical liberalism to "progressivism" was taking place within the liberal movement, and Spencer seems potently awar
...more
Clifton Knox
Jan 26, 2016 Clifton Knox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A primary source of modern libertarian philosophy.

You can see forerunners to the ideas expressed by Rothbard and other Austrian economists nestled within these pages. Though many claim Spencer became a proponent of the state in his later years there is nothing here to indicate that. Having just finished Social Statics I can attest that Spencer, by and large, changed little in his positions on land ownership or government. If you are a Libertarian then you are doing yourself a disservice by not
...more
Andrew
May 30, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
A collection of Herbert Spencer's essays, the most prominent 19th century English philosopher. There is a section on his ideas comparing social organization to the biology of organisms, but I didn't find it very useful so I skipped most of it. However the common sense arguments against oppressive governments are very good.

Important points in audio clips on my youtube channel soon.
Jef
Jef rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2015
Siscanova
Siscanova rated it liked it
Jun 17, 2014
Mortado
Mortado rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2015
Fatbardha
Fatbardha rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2012
Jerome Bythovens
Jerome Bythovens rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2016
Wojtek
Wojtek rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2014
AyBruhHam
AyBruhHam rated it liked it
Sep 25, 2016
James W.  Harris
James W. Harris rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2011
Mário Lopes
Mário Lopes rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2014
Alejandra
Alejandra rated it it was ok
Sep 26, 2012
Alexander
Alexander rated it really liked it
Aug 15, 2014
Barry
Barry rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2013
Rafal Pruszynski
Rafal Pruszynski rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2012
Bill Blowers
Bill Blowers rated it really liked it
May 15, 2014
Mike
Mike rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2014
Donna Anoskey
Donna Anoskey rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2016
Michaelbaas
Michaelbaas rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2014
Ricardo Vargas
Ricardo Vargas rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2016
T.j. Glendinning
T.j. Glendinning rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2012
Akira Konya
Akira Konya rated it it was amazing
Sep 10, 2015
Anusar
Anusar rated it did not like it
Sep 15, 2014
Jason
Jason rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2010
Jerry
Jerry rated it liked it
Jun 17, 2014
Daniel
Daniel rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bastiat Collection
  • Our Enemy, the State
  • The Fable of the Bees and Other Writings
  • Man vs. the Welfare State
  • Notes on Democracy
  • Defending the Undefendable
  • The Ethics of Liberty
  • The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude
  • No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
  • The Limits of State Action
  • Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth
  • The God of the Machine
  • The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy
  • Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality
  • Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy
  • Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays
  • A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics
  • The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy's Only Hope
52666
Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era.

Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies. He was "an enthusiastic ex
...more
More about Herbert Spencer...

Share This Book



“Increasing power of a growing administrative organization is accompanied by decreasing power of the rest of the society to resist its further growth and control.” 3 likes
“in the course of social evolution, usage precedes law; and that when usage has been well established it becomes law by receiving authoritative endorsement and defined form.” 2 likes
More quotes…