Peter Kropotkin

Kropotkin, Piotr Alekseyevich, Prince

Piotr Alekseyevich Kropotkin, Prince (pyô´tər əlyĬksyā´ĬvĬch krəpôt´kĬn), 1842–1921, Russian geographer and anarchist. He came from a wealthy princely family and as a boy was a page to the czar. Repelled by court life, he obtained permission to serve as an army officer in Siberia, where his explorations and scientific observations established his reputation as a geographer. After returning to European Russia, he became an adherent of the Bakuninist faction of the narodniki and engaged in clandestine propaganda activities until arrested in 1874. Two years later he escaped to Western Europe, where he worked with various anarchist groups until his imprisonment in France (1883). Pardoned in 1886, partly as the result of the popular clamor for his release, he moved to England and spent the next 30 years mainly as a scholar and writer developing a coherent anarchist theory. In his most famous book, Mutual Aid (1902), he attacked T. H. Huxley and the Social Darwinists for their picture of nature and human society as essentially competitive. He insisted that cooperation and mutual aid were the norms in both the natural and social worlds. From this perspective he developed a theory of social organization—in Fields, Factories and Workshops (1898) and elsewhere—that was based upon communes of producers linked with each other through common custom and free contract. Returning to Russia following the February Revolution of 1917, he attempted to engender support for a continued Russian effort in World War I and to combat the rising influence of Bolshevism. Following the Bolshevik triumph in the October Revolution (1917), he retired from active politics. Consistently nonviolent in his anarchist beliefs, Kropotkin, as both thinker and man, was admired and acclaimed by many far removed from anarchist circles.

See his Memoirs of a Revolutionist (1899, repr. 1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Anarchist Prince: A Biographical Study of Peter Kropotkin
George Woodcock; Ivan Avakumović.
T. V. Boardman, 1950
FREE! Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution
Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin.
New York University Press, 1921
Memoirs of a Revolutionist
P. Kropotkin.
Doubleday, 1962
The Conquest of Bread
Petr Kropotkin.
Vanguard Press, 1926
Ethics, Origin and Development
Prince Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin; Louis S. Friedland; Joseph R. Piroshnikoff.
Dial Press, 1934
Portraits of Russian Personalities between Reform and Revolution
Richard Hare.
Oxford University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "Peter Kropotkin"
Social Justice
David Miller.
Clarendon Press, 1976
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Kropotkin's Theory of Justice"
Between Pinochet and Kropotkin: State Terror, Human Rights and the Geographers
Hewitt, Kenneth.
The Canadian Geographer, Vol. 45, No. 3, Fall 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Spirit of Russia: Studies in History, Literature and Philosophy
Thomas Garrigue Masaryk; Eden Paul; Cedar Paul.
George Allen & Unwin, vol.2, 1919
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nineteen "Modern Anarchism: Kropotkin, Anarchism, and Socialism"
Nightmares of Anarchy: Language and Cultural Change, 1870-1914
Wm. M. Phillips.
Bucknell University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Kropotkin's Mutual Aid and the Attack on Social Darwinism" begins on p. 136
Socialism: Ideals, Ideologies, and Local Practice
C. M. Hann.
Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Primitive Communism and Mutual Aid Kropotkin Visits the Bushmen"
Underground Economics: A Decade of Institutionalist Dissent
William M. Dugger.
M. E. Sharpe, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Veblen and Kropotkin on Human Evolution"
Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements
George Woodcock.
World Publishing, 1962
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Peter Kropotkin begins on p. 184
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