Edward Holton James

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Edward Holton James nickname Ned James (November 18, 1873 - October 3, 1954) of Concord, Massachusetts was a lawyer, journalist, and anti-monarchist who server three years in a German prison for activities against the Kaiser. In the early 1940s he moved toward a type of libertarian nationalism when he founded the Yankee Freemen Movement in Massachusetts. Edward James was a lawyer and Harvard graduate.

Edward James was born in 1873 in Praire du Chien, Wisconsin. He came from a prominent and wealthy family in New England. His uncles were the physiologist William James and the famed author Henry James.[1]

In 1899 Edward James was a member of the American Anti-Imperialist League. From 1900 to 1906 he practiced law in Seattle, Washington.

Journalist in France

Edward James then moved to France and for the next six years was the owner and editor of The Liberator of Paris. In 1911 a writer for his paper, Belgian-born journalist Edward F. Mylius, was prosecuted for libeling King George V when he was Prince of Wales claiming the prince entered into a morganatic marriage.[2] Mulius was convicted and served a year in prison. James would later defend Mulius from deportation when his visited America. Upon returning to the US James denied his was an anarchist or liked to be called a socialist. He preferred the political labeled: republican (perhaps in the European sense).[3]

German imprisonment

In 1915 James was involved in anti-monarchist activities in Germany and accused of distributing "socialistic propaganda". He was jailed but released thanks to the efforts of American ambassador James W. Gerard. Shortly thereafter Edward James returned to Germany and in July was thrown in prison where he stayed unitl 1918.[4] On November 20, 1918 he was released from Moabit prison after serving more than three years for conspiring with Dr. Karl Liebknecht Template:J and Rosa Luxembourg Template:J to replace the Kaiser with a republic.[5] [6]

Other causes

In August 1927 James campaigned for a new trial for the convicted murders Sacco and Vanzetti. In a demonstration on Boston Common in defense of the two anarchists, he was convicted of inciting a riot and assaulting a policeman for which he paid a $75 fine.[7] [8]

In March 1931 he traveled to India and conferred with Mahatma Gandhi and attended sessions of the All-India National Congress.[9]

In October 1935 Edward James defended a Jehovah Witness school boy who refused to salute the American flag in class.[10]

Move to the right

In the 1940s James apparently changed his politics and headed a nationalist group called the Yankee Freemen. He was influenced by the ideas of American fascist writer Lawrence Dennis and wanted to see American democracy replaced with a government ruled by new aristocracy. In 1943 Edward James published I Am a Yankee a book which discusses his movement.

James had anti-Catholic sentiments--being opposed to "political priestcraft"--but was not racist in opposing Blacks or Jews.[11] [12] Strangely he welcomed both Jews and Negroes into his Yankee Movement.

In the 1940s James published the Grapevine Letter from Estes Park, Colorado.

In May 1942 he went on trial for libeling President Roosevelt calling him a "a blood-stained assassin of our soldiers and sailors".


The Edward Holton James Papers are located at the Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Trial Before Pilate (1909) text
  • Crossroads in Europe: (a word for minorities) (1929) 202 pages
  • Gandhi the Internationalist (1930) 23 pages
  • Gandhi Or Caesar? (1930) 30 pages
  • I Tell Everything: The Brown Man's Burden (A Book on India) (1931) 229 pages
  • Jesus for Jews: a History (1934) 108 pages
  • I Am a Yankee (1943) 64 pages

External links


Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.