Stephen Pearl Andrews, “The Pantarchy Defined” (1873)

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New ideas require new words: either wholly new, or old words raised and stretched to a higher and broader meaning; and the promulgator of the new thought has to choose between these two alternatives. Pantarchy is a newly-formed word; from the Greek, to denote what is sometimes called “The New,” as constrasted with “The Old,” in respect to the progress of the world’s affairs, and that to which the revolutionary events of our day are a transition and an introduction. It means the Universal Government or ordering of all human conduct, individual and collective, in accordance with true science or knowledge, and for the highest and best uses—a millennial state devised and conducted by science, and effected by the crystallization of all the existing reformatory and spiritual forces.

Arche is a Greek word (occurring in mon-archy, olig-archy, hier-archy, etc.), which curiously combines, in a subtle unity of meaning, the idea of origin or beginning, and hence of elementary principle, with that of government or rule. En arche en ho logos, “in the beginning was the word” (John i: 1), means the logical beginning in elementary principles, as a language begins in its alphabet, which then governs the development of speech or the word.

Pan or pant(us)—which occurs in pan-theism, pan-theon and pant-ology—is another Greek word meaning all or universal. Pant-archy means, therefore, Universal Government, but in a deeper sense than any merely political idea.

The organization of the Pantarchy is the formation of a new party in the world, but something very different from a new political party. It is not a party for the external and compulsory control of affairs, through the ballot, backed by the bullet, but an altogether voluntary association of those who are like-minded in their diversity—for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of the world—a spontaneous drawing together of all the segments and branches of reform to constitute the spiritual government of mankind through the force of ideas, and of an organized influence guided by the best skill and highest wisdom. It is not even designated for or confined to the single country. It is a higher sort of internationalism.

The immediate occasion of this communication to the Banner is the occurrence of a couple of expressions in “An Interview with Mrs. Maynard, the celebrated trance medium,” in the issue of the Banner of the 31st of May, 1873, copied from Pomeroy’s Democrat. The statement is this:

“After the present—the coming four years—a new order of things will be introduced. Men who have remained in the quiet walks of life will rise to power and position. Men who have loved humanity, who have labored earnestly to promote the welfare of the people, will be called into the field of action. Brother, your place is there.”

“So,” it is added, “we are expecting the formation of a new party; not a new political party (God knows we have had enough), but a new element of strength and power that shall draw to itself the best of all parties who seek to benefit humanity for the love of humanity. This is that which will correct the present condition of things,” etc.

These sentences embrace the essential idea of the Pantarchy. The Pantarchy has been incipiently organized and in active operation for several years, is steadily augmenting its strength and resources, and is preparing for a more external and visible intervention in the world’s affairs, when the coming crisis shall have gone forward to the point where such action will be demanded; meantime it remains, for the public at large, more a mere ideal foreshadowing than an actual, wide-spreading and powerful organization.

Stephen Pearl Andrews, “The Pantarchy Defined—the Word and the Thing,” Banner of Light 33 no. 12 (June 21, 1873): 3.


About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.