Leonard E. Read

Leonard E. Read
Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) was the founder of FEE, and the author of 29 works, including the classic parable “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read.” Born in Michigan, his early life was marked by hard work and diligent study. After serving in the armed forces during World War I, he began a wholesale grocery business, and later became manager of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. As the New Deal began, Read became a vocal critic of policies limiting freedom and expanding government. This drive prompted him to found FEE in 1946. It was the first pro-freedom think tank in the United States. FEE immediately served as a sanctuary for dissident intellectuals such as Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman. It came to serve as an important intellectual infrastructure for the promotion of the freedom philosophy through lectures, seminars, books, and The Freeman magazine.

Related Articles and Posts


Economics for Boys and Girls

Methods for getting young people on the track of sound thinking
OCTOBER 24, 2014

Leonard Read's essay on "economic instruction for the youngsters" first appeared in "Notes from FEE," September 1965.


#25 – “If Government Doesn’t Relieve Distress, Who Will?”

OCTOBER 03, 2014

Without government assistance, a massive amount of private, voluntary aid has poured forth from American citizens since the first settlement here.


#12 – “I Prefer Security to Freedom”

JULY 04, 2014

True security is an outgrowth of freedom, not an alternative to it.


#7 – The Free Market Ignores the Poor

MAY 30, 2014

Through openness, voluntary exchange, and fair play, the poor fare better under a free market system than under a closed socialist system.


#4 – The More Complex the Society, the More Government Control We Need

MAY 09, 2014

Complexity does not automatically suggest centralization of power.


On That Day Began Lies

Personal responsibility never disappears.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010

It is simply a matter of personal determination and a resolve to act and speak in strict accordance with one's inner, personal dictate of what is right. And for each of us to see to it that no other man or set of men is given permission to represent us otherwise.


Conscience on the Battlefield

JULY 14, 2010


Neither Left Nor Right

Libertarians Are Above Authoritarian Degredation
JANUARY 01, 2006


Regardless of Choice, Vote!

Does Responsible Citizenship Require Casting a Ballot?
NOVEMBER 01, 1998


On Behalf of the Ideal

Undoing Socialism Requires Upholding the Ideal of Freedom
OCTOBER 01, 1998


The Essence of Americanism

The Ideas of Self-Reliance and Private Property Created a Spiritual, Political, and Economic Revolution
SEPTEMBER 01, 1998


How to Get Action

The Only Way to Truth Is Through One's Own Person
AUGUST 01, 1998


The Heritage We Owe Our Children

Our Founding Fathers Declared Their Independence from Despotism
JULY 01, 1998


Penalty of Surrender

Principle Does Not Lend Itself to Bending or Compromising
MARCH 01, 1998


White Magic

Unimaginable Results Flow from Leaving Others Free to Act Creatively
JANUARY 01, 1998


I, Pencil

A Simple Instrument Teaches a Profound Lesson
MAY 01, 1996


Education for One's Own Sake

The myth of government education in our country is an article of general faith.
FEBRUARY 01, 1993

The myth of government education in our country is an article of general faith.


Two Kinds of Influence

MAY 01, 1992

Attraction is the best answer to influencing others creatively.


How to Gain Liberty

JANUARY 01, 1986


A Page on Freedom: Number 21

JULY 01, 1985
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