Thomas Hodgskin (1787-1869) was an English socialist writer on political economy, critic of capitalism, free-market anarchist and defender of free trade and early trade unions. He joined the navy at the age of 12. He rose rapidly through the ranks in the years of naval struggle with the French to the rank of first lieutenant. Following the naval defeat of the French the opportunities for advancement closed and Hodgskin increasingly ran into disciplinary trouble with his superiors, eventually leading to his court martial and dismissal in 1812. This prompted his first book An Essay on Naval Discipline (1813). After studying for 3 years in Edinburgh, he returned to London in 1823 as a journalist. He joined forces with Joseph Clinton Robinson in founding the Mechanics Magazine. Despite his high profile in the agitated revolutionary times of the 1820s, he retreated into the realm of Whig journalism after the Reform Act of 1832. He became an advocate of free trade and spent 15 years writing for The Economist. His other works include Popular Political Economy (1827).