Who is William Godwin?

Who is William Godwin?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

British journalist, political philosopher and author.

William Godwin was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England. His strict Calvinist father was also a protestant priest who rebelled against established rules. Son Godwin, who had grown up with a Calvinist upbringing, was also preparing to become a preacher.

Beginning in 1778, Ware served as a priest in the Stowmarket and Beaconsfield districts until 1782. During this time, he met French philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Gabriel Bonnet de Mably. In 1787, he fully embraced the atheist philosophy and worked as a political journalist for the last twenty years of his life. Inspired by the French Revolution, he wrote “An Inquiry Concercing Political Justice-1793”. Although he did not call the ideas developed in this work Anarchism, Godwin was the first to formulate the political and economic concepts of Anarchism.

In this work of Godwin; He said that “laws are not the products of our ancestral wisdom, but the products of their passions and cowardice and envy and ambition.” Along with many of his other suggestions, he voiced the abolition of the State. The culmination of all these ideas, together with their views on property, was Communism. But Godwin did not have the courage to pursue these thoughts. In the second edition of Political Justice in 1796, he completely rewrote the chapter on property and softened his communist views.

He wrote the novel “Caleb Williams” in 1794. Both works brought him great fame. However, due to the increasing reactions to the French Revolution, he could not regain his former fame and died in 1836, although he wrote many novels, historical articles, plays, articles and children’s books.


He is considered one of the first proponents of utilitarianism and one of the first modern supporters of philosophical anarchism. Godwin is best known for his two books, written a year apart: A Treatise on Political Justice, an attack on political theory, and Things As They Are, or The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which challenged aristocratic privilege. Upon the success of these two books, Godwin became a prominent figure in radical circles in London in the 1790s. In later years Godwin became the target of conservative backlash against British Radicalism. These reactions were partly due to his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft (1979) and her honest posthumous biography. Their children, Mary Goldman (later Mary Shelley) wrote Frankenstein. and married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Godwin wrote various genres of novels and books on history and demography throughout his life. Since his second marriage to Mary Jane Clairmont, he has written introductory books to the Bible and classical history for children, which he published together with Stories from Shakespeare. had significant effects.