Orestes Brownson and Pierre Leroux

Pierre Leroux was the other half, along with P.-J. Proudhon, of the mutualist mix, as formulated by William B. Greene. Greene was introduced to Leroux’s work by Orestes A. Brownson, and adopted a number of Brownson’s criticisms of Leroux’s works. Greene’s first major writings were, in fact, attempts to come to terms with the thought of Leroux and Brownson. From this perspective, Brownson’s most important works were a review of Leroux’s Humanity and “The Mediatorial Life of Jesus,” both from 1842 – and they’re both available now in Corvus Editions.

If you want to understand Greene’s mutualism, or want another avenue of approach to the “collective force” stuff that appears in Proudhon, give these essays by Brownson a look. They will feature prominently in the essays in LeftLiberty #2 as well.

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


  1. As a student , not necessarily a believer, of the thoughts of Pierre Leroux, I am always interested in your comments and writings on the man. I am not an anarchist, but a disenchanted socialist, having lived more than thirty years on an Israeli kibbutz. And that was after a California farm childhood, gtrowing up on the stories of Pierre and Jules Leroux. Do you know anything about the writings of Jules Leroux, Pierre’s younger brother? He never went back to France after their exile to the Isle of Jersey, rather immigrated to the States- a farm in Kansas, a commune in Iowa and a commune in Cloverdale, California called
    Icaria-Speranza. I am proud to be his great-great-great grandaughter.
    So again, thank you for your interesting articles and translations.
    Susie Bar-Orian

  2. Susie, it’s a real pleasure to hear from you. I’ve been fortunate, through the work I do, to have some contact with descendants of various of the folks I’ve written about. I have read some of Jules Leroux’s work, and have been reading more recently, since one volume of the “Revue Sociale” is available online now. His “Proletarian Dialogues” is on my list of things well worth translating as time allows.

    I currently have two Pierre Leroux essays nearly complete, along with the “Aphorisms” based on his work, and I keep puttering away at the longer works.

    My family history also passed through some of the “utopian” communities, at Nauvoo with the Mormons and in one of the Puget Sound colonies.

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