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The Law
High Resolution Cover
The Law
The Classic Blueprint for a Free Society
Frederic Bastiat (Author)
Walter E. Williams (Foreword)

Paperback • 79 pages • 6 x 9 inches

ISBN-13: 978-1-57246-214-4

Launch Date: 1/1/2007

Publisher: Foundation for Economic Education

Educators: Request an extended PDF excerpt for course adoption consideration




Price: $6.95

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In response to the oppressive and overreaching tactics of the elite-dominated French government of the mid-1800s, Frederic Bastiat’s The Law attacks the “vicious circle” of socialism perpetuated by powerful leaders and a society dependent on government-provided goods and services—a frighteningly similar relationship to today’s imbalance between citizens and government.

As Bastiat explains, it is simply the act of living, rather than submission to government, which guarantees an individual the natural rights to life, liberty, and property; government’s function is not to award these rights, but to protect them. While it is widely understood that one individual may not legally rob another of any of these rights, Bastiat questions why citizens allow a government, which is in effect merely a collective group of individuals, to rob them of these rights continuously without once breaking the law—thus defeating the key purpose of government.

The Law calls for the reinstatement of a political system that defends justice as a society’s most valuable commodity and implements only those laws which citizens would, by their natural rights, find respectable. This critical look at the over-development of government is a timeless testament to the value of individual liberty and to the importance of ensuring that justice prevails “to reign over us all.”


Table of Contents

    The Law
    The Wisdom of Frederic Bastiat
    Study Questions
    The Book and the Author


“We owe a large part of our clear-sightedness to Bastiat. Once he had grasped and explained a principle, he could put the argument in so many lights and forms as to leave no one an excuse for missing or evading it.”
—Henry Hazlitt, author of Economics in One Lesson

The Law created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct.”
—Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University.

“Bastiat is a great prophet of liberty, the free society, and the free market.”
—Václav Klaus, economist and President of the Czech Republic

The Author

Claude Frédéric Bastiat (6/30/1801–12/24/1850) was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly.

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