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American journalist, author of The Discovery of Freedom
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  • Rose Wilder Lane

    Rose Wilder Lane (5 December 1886 – 30 October 1968) was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, political theorist and daughter of American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder. Along with Ayn Rand and Isabel Paterson, Wilder Lane is noted as one of the founders of the American libertarian movement.


    Lane, Rose Wilder (1886-1968), by Amy H. Sturgis, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    Rose Wilder Lane was born in 1886, the first child of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder; the latter was the author of the Little House on the Prairie series. Her parents would later become famous thanks to the book series, originally written by her mother and vastly reworked and edited by Lane herself. ... As a reporter, columnist, and author, Lane became interested in the issues of free trade and individual rights, especially as viewed against the backdrop of world events. She was one of several highly visible libertarian women writing in the first half of the 20th century.
    Related Topic: Property Rights

    Images - Rose Wilder Lane
    75x105 JPEG, grayscale


    5 Dec 1886, Rose Wilder, in De Smet, South Dakota


    30 Oct 1968, in Danbury, Connecticut


    An autobiographical sketch of Rose Wilder Lane, 1939
    Library of Congress, American Memory Collections, American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 - 1940. Images of original typewritten text also available.
    I am now a fundementalist American; give me time and I will tell you why individualism, laissez faire and the slightly restrained anarchy of capitalism offer the best opportunities for the development of the human spirit. Also I will tell you why the relative freedom of human spirit is better — and more productive, even in material ways — than the communist, Fascist, or any other rigidity organized for material ends.
    Laissez Faire Books
    Journalist Lane (1886-1966) was one of the most inspiring libertarian authors of the 20th century. She is best known for Give Me Liberty (1939) and The Discovery of Freedom (1943). Albert Jay Nock admired her work, and she inspired Robert LeFevre, who established the fabled Freedom School in Colorado. Lane refused to authorize reprints of The Discovery of Freedom until she got around to revising it, which she never did, but after her death her literary executor and heir, Roger MacBride, helped bring the beloved classic back in print.

    Web Pages

    Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Rose Wilder Lane - Libertarian
    Biography (from Laissez Faire Books) and photograph
    Rose's mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrote story outlines about how she grew up on the American frontier, and as scholar William Holtz explained in his biography The Ghost in the Little House (1993), Rose transformed the outlines into eight magnificent Little House books which many readers consider the finest series of children's books ever written. These books are all about personal responsibility, self reliance, courage and love, and they captivate children as well as adults.
    Freedom Fighters » Rose Wilder Lane
    Quotation and links to selected online resources by and about Rose Wilder Lane
    The Rose Wilder Lane Collection
    Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum; includes a lengthy "Scope and Content Note" as well as a listing of the individual papers
    The documentary legacy of Rose Wilder Lane and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, encompassed in the holdings of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa. A journalist and philosopher, Lane also was the first biographer of Herbert Hoover. In fact, her work on 'The Making of Herbert Hoover' (1919) led to a friendship with the Great Humanitarian that lasted more than forty years.
    Rose Wilder Lane | Mises Institute
    Includes picture, short profile and links to her works
    Rose Wilder Lane was one of the highest paid writers in the United States during her days as a journalist, war correspondent, and novelist. The daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, she was widely considered a silent collaborator on the Little House series. She lived from 1886 until 1968.


    Upd35 Heroes of Freedom, by Reason, Reason, Dec 2003
    "Eclectic, irreverent" list of individuals "who have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action", as chosen by Reason editors (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and "The Yuppie")
    Rose Wilder Lane. The daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lane extensively edited and shaped that great alternative history of American settlement, the Little House books, which place the family, community, and commerce—rather than male adventure, escape, and violence—at the heart of our national experience. She was a prolific author in her own right and, along with Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand, one of the three godmothers of modern libertarianism. Lane's The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority remains a powerful statement about the evolution and necessity of individual rights.
    Cast a Giant Ballot, by Clifford F. Thies, The Freeman, Oct 1997
    Memorial and biographical essay on Roger MacBride, discussing his influence on the early Libertarian Party as well as his involvement in the Little House saga
    As a young man, Roger MacBride was "adopted" by Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls who, along with Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand, was one of the three founding mothers of the modern libertarian movement ... Ms. Lane's strain emphasized the Eastern (or "Hebrew") concepts of emotion and community. Rose Wilder Lane, although herself something of an agnostic and a thoroughly cosmopolitan person, unabashedly presented the freedom philosophy as part of—indeed, as the essential part of—our Semitic religious tradition, and the defining feature of the American experience.
    How to Become a Teacher [PDF], by Robert LeFevre, The Voluntaryist, Feb 1983
    Autobiographical summary of the events in LeFevre's life that led to the founding of the Freedom School, including LeFevre's relationship with Baldy Harper and the offer for him to lead the School
    Ruth Dazey ... brought me another [book]. It was "Discovery of Freedom," by Rose Wilder Lane ... [N]early everyone is familiar with the television program, "Little House on the Prairie." ... [T]he Ingalls family of the series included a daughter name Laura. In real life, Laura Ingalls married a man named Wilder and Rose Wilder was their daughter. Later Rose married a man named Lane ... Rose's mother, is the author of a series of children's books ... Rose clearly inherited her mother's talent for expression. "Discovery" was a book that was so enthralling I read it through at one sitting.
    Isabel Paterson's Place in History, by Doug French, 20 Jun 2011
    Review of Stephen D. Cox's The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America
    Lane, like Rand, had the benefit of picking Paterson's brain, and Cox writes, 'It is possible that Lane derived many of her key concepts from her all-night conversations with Paterson.' However, Discovery and God of the Machine are very different books, as Cox points out: 'Libertarian readers have generally turned to Lane for emotional satisfaction and to Paterson for intellectual challenge.'
    Islam and the Discovery of Freedom, by George Leef, The Freeman, Sep 1998
    Review of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom (1997) by Imad-Ad-Dean Ahmad, which is based on Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom (1943), with an introduction and scholarly commentary by Ahmad
    [Islam] has a history of peace and respect for individual rights. One famous exponent of freedom who knew that was Rose Wilder Lane. Her original book, The Discovery of Freedom, contains an abundance of information on the golden era of Islamic civilization, particularly the role that free markets played in that remarkably progressive and virtually stateless society ... One point of disagreement between Lane and Ahmad is over the existence of Islamic law. Lane writes that "the weakness that eventually ended the Saracens' civilization" was that "there was no civil law."
    The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, One of America’s First Libertarians, by David Boaz, Time, 9 May 2015
    Focuses on Rose Wilder Lane's life and relates the influence of her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, as well as Wilder Lane's influence on Roger MacBride
    Laura's only child was Rose Wilder Lane. Lane was born in DeSmet, South Dakota, and grew up on her parents' Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri. ... Lane wrote two novels of her own about her family's homestead ... But her interests turned more to politics, and she became a vociferous adversary of President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, which she saw as "creeping socialism." In the dark year of 1943 ... Lane published a passionate historical book called The Discovery of Freedom. ... Also in 1943 Lane met Roger MacBride, the 14‐​year‐​old son of her editor at Reader's Digest.
    Libertarianism and the Great Divide, by Justin Raimondo, 16 Mar 2007
    Review of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (2007) concluding with remarks about a Cato Unbound debate on the book
    [L]ibertarian ideas have a long and rich tradition ... So how in blazes does the author open this often inspiring story? By describing the Cato Institute's intellectually dubious and positively pallid campaign to partially privatize Social Security ... Rose Wilder Lane–the feisty author of the Little House on the Prairie books, and prolific libertarian polemicist of the 1940s and 50s, who refused to even sign up for Social Security, and quit her job when informed she had to–must be rolling in her grave. (Doherty's portrait of her, by the way, is sympathetic, as well as extensive.)
    The Libertarian Legacy of Rose Wilder Lane, by Jeff Riggenbach, 14 Apr 2010
    Biographical essay on both Rose Wilder Lane and Roger MacBride, transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 30 Mar 2010 titled "Roger MacBride and Rose Wilder Lane: A Libertarian Legacy"
    Rose Wilder Lane ... was the daughter of Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls ... The young Rose Wilder was a star student in the small-town schools she attended in Missouri and in the cajun country of southwestern Louisiana, but there was no money for her to attend college ... she wrote ... "Americans (of both parties) who stand for American political principles ... have no means of peaceful political action." What was needed, Rose believed, was a political movement, which would unite writers, activists, teachers, propagandists, and politicians in favor of individual liberty. A "libertarian movement" — that was her phrase.
    Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968), Religion & Liberty, Oct 1996
    Short biographical note, based on Jim Powell's "Three Women Who Inspired the Modern Libertarian Movement", The Freeman, May 1996
    According to Lane, because of the doctrine of monotheism, people came to believe in one creator God who judges men's actions, instead of a pantheist pantheon of capricious gods. Additionally, the laws of morality are woven into the fibre of creation and provide the guide for human behavior. It is from these doctrines, Lane argued, that the Christian conceptions of individual responsibility and self-control are derived; essential qualities for the preservation of a free society.
    Rose Wilder Lane (1886–1968), by Cato Institute, Mar 2003
    Part of Cato's "Three Women Who Launched a Movement", celebrating during Women's History Month the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of The Discovery of Freedom (as well as Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand books published in the same year)
    Born on the frontier, in America's Dakota Territory, Rose Wilder's family left ... for Florida after surviving diphtheria, crop failure, and even the loss of their house to fire. They soon returned, staying in a rented house for two years, during which time Rose learned to read in a matter of months at a small town schoolhouse, before leaving for Mansfield, Missouri by covered wagon ... The adult Rose's life ... is at least as exciting as the adventures related in any of her mother's books. In an autobiographical piece for the Federal Writers Project, Lane described her varied experiences ...
    Rose Wilder Lane - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; includes excerpt of essay by Robert LeFevre on The Discovery of Freedom
    Rose Wilder Lane came out to the Freedom School in Colorado on various occasions and on one such instance undoubtedly saved the school from foreclosure. ... When Rose finally died, mourned and respected by all of us at the Freedom School, Roger MacBride, who was Rose Wilder Lane's protege, graciously granted me permission to make copies of the book. Of course I did.
    Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand: Three Women Who Inspired the Modern Libertarian Movement, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, May 1996
    Triple biographical essay on the women who in 1943 published The Discovery of Freedom, The God of the Machine and The Fountainhead
    Like her compatriots, Rose Wilder Lane surprised people ... she soared with great eloquence as she helped revive the radical principles of the American Revolution, and she inspired millions of adults and children alike as the editor of the beloved "Little House" books about individual responsibility, hard work, stubborn persistence, strong families, and human liberty ... She quit school after the ninth grade and determined that somehow she would see the world beyond rural Missouri ... She spent most of her spare time reading, perhaps three hours a day. By 1908, she relocated to San Francisco for another Western Union job ...


    Give Me Liberty [PDF], 1936
    Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
    In 1919 I was a communist. My Bolshevik friends of those days are scattered now; some are bourgeois, some are dead, some are in China and Russia, and I did not know the last American chiefs of the Third International, who now officially embrace Democra-cy. They would repudiate me even as a renegade comrade ... Individual Americans ... are answering the question I should have known better than to ask, ten years ago. They are answering it now in Europe and Asia, and tomorrow they will answer it at home. The answer is: Yes, individualism has the strength to resist all attacks.


    Bachelor Girl
        by Roger MacBride, 1999
    Partial contents: Back Home - A Good Start - Left Behind - On Her Own - Give Me a Chance - Bachelor Girl - A Real Celebration - If I Had a Little Money - Call Me Miss Wilder - The Big City - New Friends - This Is the Life! - When We Are Married
    [Introduction by author's daughter] The book ... continues the childhood story of Rose Wilder Lane, and her mother and father, Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder. Rose treated my father much as she would have treated a grandson and told him many stories about what it was like growing up in Missouri almost a hundred years ago. Dad took those stories and spun them into a series of books based on the facts of Rose's life. Bachelor Girl is the eighth and last of those books. ... Abigail MacBride Allen
    The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane
        by William Holtz, 1993
    Partial contents: A Prairie Rose - Old Home Town Growing Up in Mansfield - Bachelor Girl, Married Woman - Bulletin Days - An Interlude and Herbert Hoover - "Come with Me to Europe" - The Road to Baghdad - The Albanian Experiment

    Books Authored

    The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority, 1943
    Partial contents: One: The Old World - The Pagan Faith - Communism - The Living Authorities - The Planned Economies - War - Two: The Revolution - The First Attempt - The Second Attempt - The Feudal System - The English Liberties - The Third Attempt
    Related Topic: Liberty
    Let the Hurricane Roar, 1932
    Also known as Young Pioneers
    Young Pioneers, 1932
    The story of two young newlyweds as they head west in search of a new homestead in the Dakotas


    Rose Wilder Lane: A Longing for Far-Away and Unimagined Places (Part One), by Pamela Smith Hill, 12 Sep 2014
    Reviews Rose Wilder Lane's life, writing, career, travel and friendships (in three segments)

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rose Wilder Lane" as of 25 Jun 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.