The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John
Columnist for The Creswell Chronicle 

OFFBEAT HISTORY: Anarchist newspaper editors jailed for publishing 'naughty' articles


June 14, 2018

Image: OSU Libraries

This political cartoon, by Thomas Nast, ran in Harper's Weekly in 1871. It nicely illustrates society's attitude toward those who advocated "free love" - in this case, Victoria Woodhull. The woman is depicted struggling under the heavy burden of a drunken husband and several children, but saying, "Get thee behind me, Mrs. Satan; I'd rather travel the hardest path of matrimony than follow our footsteps."

The editors and writers of Anarchist-Communist newspaper, The Firebrand, published in Portland and distributed nationwide from 1895 to 1897, surely expected to get some resistance from the establishment. They may even have expected to be arrested, possibly even charged with sedition or treason.

But they surely didn't expect that when their publication was shut down, it would be for criticizing the institution of matrimony.

That's what happened, though. The wide-open town of Portland reacted to their strident advocacy of revolution and regime change with a collective yawn; but when they st...

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