Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



This thesis is an examination of the problem of tyranny from the perspective of radical libertarianism. History is to be seen as a race and conflict between liberty and power. After a brief introduction, the second section of this thesis is devoted to sketching out a natural law and natural rights theory. With this as the foundation, the third section analyzes the seminal work of Étienne de la Boétie’s The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude in which he elucidates the nature of tyranny and the psychology of subjection. All governments, even the worst tyranny, rest upon general popular acceptance. Religious and political ideologies serve as the justification and motivation for resisting tyranny. The role of ideology in revolutions, and the perennial conflict between liberty and power, are illustrated in the fourth and fifth sections in the context of the American Revolution and Founding, and Civil War. The sixth section sketches a radical libertarian critique of the State as inherently tyrannical and counterproductive to the goal of securing individual rights and social prosperity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

James R. Stoner