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Anarchism, political belief that government should be abolished and the state replaced by the voluntary cooperation of individuals and groups. Like socialists, anarchists advocate the abolition of the institution of private property. But unlike socialists, they believe that government is unnecessary and intrinsically harmful.

Pioneers of modern anarchism included England's William Godwin (1756–1836), France's Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809–65), and the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin (1814–76). Emma Goldman (1869–1940) and Alexander Berkman (1870?–1936) were active U.S. anarchists who were deported for their actions (1919). After President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901, anarchists were barred from entering the United States. Although anarchism is now more important philosophically than politically, it has recently become linked with student radicalism in Europe and America.

See also: Nihilism.

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