The writings of John Stuart Mill have become the cornerstone of political liberalism. Collected for the first time in this volume are Mill’s three seminal and most widely read works: On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism . A brilliant defense of individual rights versus the power of the state, On Liberty is essential reading for anyone interested in political thought and theory. As Bertrand Russell reflected, “On Liberty remains a classic . . . the present world would be better than it is, if [Mill’s] principles were more respected.”
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes newly commissioned endnotes and commentary by Dale E. Miller, and an index.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill|
|Release Date: 11-10-2010|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill
The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. A question seldom stated, and hardly ever discussed, in general terms, but which profoundly influences the practical controversies of the age by its latent presence, and is likely soon to make itself recognized as the vital question of the future. It is so far from being new, that, in a certain sense, it has divided mankind, almost from the remotest ages; but in the stage of progress into which the more civilized portions of the species have now entered, it presents itself under new conditions, and requires a different and more fundamental treatment.
The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar, particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England. But in old times this contest was between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government. By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers. The rulers were conceived (except in some of the popular governments of Greece) as in a necessarily antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest; who, at all events, did not hold it at the pleasure of the governed, and whose supremacy men did not venture, perhaps did not desire, to contest, whatever precautions...