FRAN’CHISE, noun fran’chiz. [See Frank.] Properly, liberty, freedom. Hence,
1. A particular privilege or right granted by a prince or sovereign to an individual or to a number of persons; as the right to be a body corporate with perpetual succession; the right to hold a court leet or other court; to have waifs, wrecks, treasure-treve, or forfeitures. So the right to vote for governor, senators and representatives, is a franchise belonging to citizens, and not enjoyed by aliens. The right to establish a bank, is a franchise
1. Open; ingenuous; candid; free in uttering real sentiments; not reserved; using no disguise. Young persons are usually frank; old persons are more reserved.
2. Open; ingenuous; as a frank disposition or heart.
3. Liberal; generous; not niggardly. [This sense is now rare.]
4. Free; without conditions or compensation; as a frank gift.
The attempt to conceive imaginatively a better ordering of human society than the destructive and cruel chaos in which mankind has hitherto existed is by no means modern: it is at least as old as Plato, whose “Republic” set the model for the Utopias of subsequent philosophers. Whoever contemplates the world in the light of an ideal–whether what he seeks be intellect, or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together–must feel a great sorrow in the evils that men needlessly allow to continue, and if he be a man of force and vital energy–an urgent desire to lead men to the realization of the good which inspires his creative vision. It is this desire which has been the primary force moving the pioneers of Socialism and Anarchism, as it moved the inventors of ideal commonwealths in the past. In this there is nothing new. What is new in Socialism and Anarchism, is that close relation of the ideal to the present sufferings of men, which has enabled powerful political movements to grow out of the hopes of solitary thinkers. It is this that makes Socialism and Anarchism important, and it is this that makes them dangerous to those who batten, consciously or unconsciously upon the evils of our present order of society.