He's not the Godwin for whom Godwin's Law is named. (that one is Mike Godwin.) However, William Godwin was still a pretty interesting guy.

Even if Godwin had never done anything himself, he'd deserve some credit for cool family connections. After all, his daughter, Mary Shelley, managed to marry Percy Shelley and write Frankenstein. His wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote some pretty cool early feminist stuff like A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. (I'm not sure she understood the concept of ending a sentence, but if you can wade through her style the ideas are pretty cool.)

In fact, though, Godwin also did quite a bit himself! He was a writer and idealistic liberal philosopher, one of the great stars of the 1790s. His thinking anticipated the full bloom of the English literary Romantic Movement by advancing atheism and personal freedom. Ironically, he's been accused of laying the foundations for the doctrines of both communism and anarchy. (In fact he believed in giving property to those who need it most, not in complete communilization.)

Works include: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, and Its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness (1793),The Enquirer (1797), Thoughts on Man: His Nature, Production, and Discoveries (1831), and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794).

fact-checking courtesy of www.britannica.com!