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John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Portrait after George Frederic Watts (1817–1904). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

John Stuart Mill
Born May (1806-Template:MONTHNUMBER-20)20 1806
Pentonville, London, England
Died 8 1873(1873-Template:MONTHNUMBER-08) (aged 66)
Avignon, France
Residence United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Nationality British
Era 19th-century philosophy
Classical economics
Region Western Philosophy
School Empiricism, utilitarianism, liberalism
Main interests Political philosophy, ethics, economics, inductive logic
Notable ideas Public/private sphere, hierarchy of pleasures in Utilitarianism, liberalism, early liberal feminism, harm principle, Mill's Methods
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Signature File:John Stuart Mill signature.svg

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 - 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century",[5] Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.[6]

Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method.[7]

A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.[8]


by Leslie Stephen [9]


Mill was born on 20 May 1806 at his father's house, 13 Rodney Street, Pentonville, London. He was a singularly precocious child, and was entirely educated by his father, who from the first carried out unflinchingly a severe system of training. The child was set when 3 years old to learn ‘vocables,’ or lists of Greek words with the English meanings. By his 8th year he had read many Greek authors, starting with Æsop's Fables and Xenophon's Anabasis, including Herodotus, parts of Lucian, Diogenes Laertius, and six dialogues of Plato. His only other lessons were in arithmetic, but he also read books by himself.

From 1810 till 1813 the Mills lived at Newington Green, and the father used to walk before breakfast in the then green lanes round Hornsey. During these walks the child gave accounts of his reading in Gibbon, Robertson, Hume, and (his especial favourite) Watson's Philip II and Philip III. He read Langhorne's Plutarch, Millar's English Government, Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, Sewel's Quakers,’and many voyages, besides a few children's books.

In his 8th year he began Latin, and was also employed by his father to teach the younger children, a plan probably suggested by the Lancasterian system then in great favor with the utilitarians. By his 12th year he had read in Latin much of Virgil, Horace, Livy, Ovid, Terence, and Cicero, and had added to his Greek Homer, Thucydides (read in his 8th, and again in his 11h year), and parts of the dramatists, orators, and historians, besides Aristotle's Rhetoric. He continued to read English histories, and during his 11th and 12th years began to write a history of the Roman government in imitation of Hooke. He had already written some fragmentary ‘histories,’ and Professor Bain (p. 3) gives a scrap composed when he was 6 and a half.

Between the ages of 8 and 13 he had acquired elementary geometry and algebra ‘thoroughly,’ and had begun the differential calculus. His father was unable to guide him in the higher mathematics, or in the niceties of classical scholarship. He never practised composition in Greek, and little in Latin (see a Latin letter to his sisters of 1820, given in Bain, p. 21 n.)

He was pleased with Pope's Homer, Scott's Lays, and Campbell's Lyrics, but did not take to Shakespeare or Spenser. His father made him write English verses as a practice in composition, but he was not destined to be a poet. He was much interested by popular books upon science, though he had no opportunity of experimental inquiry.

About 12 he began a serious study of logic, including some of Aristotle, some scholastic treatises, and especially Hobbes's Computatio sive Logica, a book of great authority with his father. He began also to study classical literature for the thoughts as well as for the language. Demosthenes and Plato received especial attention.

During 1817 he read the proofs of his father's History of India, and was greatly impressed by the doctrines with which it is "saturated." In 1819 he went through a "complete course of political economy." His father made him write out a summary of the instructions given during their walks. The notes so made served for the father's treatise. The 2 afterwards carefully went through Adam Smith and David Ricardo (see letter of 30 July 1819 in Bain, pp. 6–9).

Before his 14th birthday Mill had thus read much classical literature, had seriously studied logic and political economy, had read much history and general literature, and made a good start in mathematics. He records his own achievements as a proof that the years of childhood may be employed to better purpose than usual, and while admitting that his father was a stern and impatient teacher, declares also that the education was never mere "cram," but invariably directed to stimulate his powers of thought.

Francis Place, when staying at Ford Abbey in 1814, reports that John, with his 2 sisters, were kept at lessons from 6 to 9, and again from 10 to 1, and that on an occasion their dinner hour had been put off from 1 till 6 because the sisters had made a mistake in a single word, and John had passed their exercise. He says that John is a "prodigy," but expects that he will grow up "morose and selfish" (Place, Letters, communicated by Mr. Graham Wallas).

Mill was brought up as a thorough agnostic, and says (ungrammatically) that he was one of the very few examples in this country of one who has "not thrown off religious belief, but never had it" (Autobiography, p. 43). It appears, however, that the boy went to church in his infancy, and called Homer and the Bible the "two greatest books" (Bain, James Mill, p. 90).

In May 1820 Mill left London for France, and stayed there until July 1821. He lived with Sir Samuel Bentham, partly at the Château Pompignon, between Toulouse and Montauban, and partly in Toulouse, besides making an excursion to the Pyrenees, and ascending the Pic du Midi, Bigorre. From a diary published by Professor Bain, it appears that he studied 9 hours a day. He became a thorough French scholar, and acquired an interest in French society and politics which never failed. He continued his studies in mathematics, chemistry, and political economy, learnt some music, and took lessons with less success in dancing, fencing, and riding. He was devoted to walking, and an enthusiastic lover of scenery, but he was never athletic. He took up botany as an amusement while in France, under the influence doubtless of George Bentham, Sir Samuel's son, and was always an enthusiastic collector, though not a scientific botanist.

Early Radicalism[]

Upon returning to England Mill again, became tutor of the younger children. He began to study for the bar, and read Roman law during the winter with John Austin (1790-1859). He gave up any thoughts of the profession upon being appointed (21 May 1823) to a junior clerkship in the examiner's office of the India House under his father. He had 30l. a year for the first 3 years, and afterwards 100l.

In 1828 he was promoted over the other clerks and made an assistant, with 600l. a year. He rose to be third in the office, upon his father's death in 1836, with 1,200l. a year. In 1854 an addition of 200l. was made to his salary, and on the retirement of his seniors in 1856 he became chief of the office, with 2,000l. a year.

His position enabled him to devote much time to study and to the composition of laborious works, and he found few drawbacks, except the exclusion from parliament and the confinement to London. He spent his month's holiday at his father's house in the country, and afterwards in excursions, the earlier of which were made on foot.

While reading with Austin, Mill for the first time studied Bentham's doctrines in Dumont's redaction. Reading the Traité de Législation, he says, was a turning-point in his mental history. He afterwards, under the direction of his father, then employed upon his Analysis,’ studied Condillac, Helvetius, Hartley, and the chief English psychologists. He became known to his father's disciples, especially Grote and Charles Austin.

In the winter of 1822-1823 he formed a society, to which he gave the name ‘Utilitarian.’ He says (Autobiography, p. 79) that he found the name in Galt's Annals of the Parish. The word had been used by Bentham many years before (Bentham, Works, x. 92, 390), but the name came into popular use as designating the party now gathering round the Mills. The society, which read essays and discussed questions, lasted till 1826, and Mill was active in enlisting recruits, although the number of members never reached 10.

Charles Austin had introduced some of his college friends to the Mills, and John, during a brief visit to Cambridge in 1822, had made a great impression by his abilities. His father was vainly urged in 1823 to enter him at the university. Mill soon began to write in the papers, his first publication being a letter to the Traveller, belonging to Colonel Torrens, in defenxe of one of his father's economical theories. He contributed soon afterwards a series of letters, signed "Wickliffe," to the Morning Chronicle, denouncing the prosecution of Richard Carlile.

When the ‘Westminster Review’ was started in April 1824, Mill helped his father in assailing the old Quarterlies, and afterwards wrote frequently until 1828. The most remarkable of these writings was a review of Whately's Logic in January 1828, which shows some interesting anticipations of his later theories.

During 1825 Mill's chief employment was editing Bentham's Treatise upon Evidence. Besides reducing to unity 3 masses of manuscripts written independently, Mill had to correct the style, fill up gaps, insert some replies to critics of Dumont's earlier abstract of the treatise, and add dissertations upon speculative questions. The labour, he says, took up his leisure for a year, and he had afterwards to see the 5 large volumes through the press. The book occupies 2 volumes in Bentham's collected Works, and it is not only one of the richest in matter of Bentham's books, but one of the best edited. It would be difficult to mention a youth of 20 who ever completed such a task in the intervals of official work.

Mill thinks that his editorial labour had a marked effect in improving his own style. During the next 3 years he contributed to the Parliamentary History and Review, writing articles upon some of the chief political and economical questions of the day. Meanwhile he learnt German, though he never seems to have become a thorough German scholar.

He collected "about a dozen" friends, who met at Grote's house in Threadneedle Street on 2 mornings in the week from half-past 8 till 10. They went steadily through various treatises, including Ricardo, Du Trieu's Manuductio ad Logicam, Hartley, and Mill's Analysis, thoroughly discussing every difficulty raised until each disputant had finally made up his mind. These discussions, which lasted "some years,’ made Mill (as he thought) an independent thinker, and were an admirable exercise in thorough analysis of difficulties. Mill's Essays upon Unsettled Questions of Political Economy were one result. He wrote them about 1830, but could not obtain a publisher till after the success of his Logic. They contain his most original work upon abstract political economy.

Among the young men who then cultivated and propagated utilitarian principles, and became afterwards known as the ‘philosophical radicals,’ were Charles Austin, (Lord) Romilly, William Eyton Tooke (son of the economist), William Ellis (1800–1881), George John Graham (afterwards official assignee of the bankruptcy court, who helped Mill in working out his economical doctrines), J. A. Roebuck, and Charles Buller. Although sympathising with Bentham and James Mill, they disagreed upon various points both with their leaders and each other, but they appeared to outsiders as a clique. Mill admits that their contempt for "sentimentalities" and "vague generalities," and for poetic culture generally, was excessive, as it naturally made them offensive to others.

They came into contact with other young men at a debating society named after the famous Speculative Society at Edinburgh. Some of the utilitarians, led by Charles Austin, had attended the meetings of the Co-operative Society of Owenites in Chancery Lane. They fought a pitched battle, which lasted for 3 months, in defense of their conflicting opinions.

This suggested the formation of the Speculative Society, which was joined by many of the most promising men of the day, including Macaulay, Thirlwall, Praed, Sam Wilberforce, and the Bulwers. The first session was a failure, but in 1826–7 they gained recruits, and sharp debates took place, A. Hayward and Shee (afterwards judge) representing the tories, while Mill and Roebuck, helped by Charles Buller and Cockburn, defended the radical cause. In the seasons of 1828 and 1829 they were joined by Maurice and Sterling, representing the Coleridgean influence. Mill became a friend of both, and in spite of profound differences of opinion was influenced by them in his mental development. He dropped the society in 1829, having abandoned the ‘Westminster’ in the previous year.

Mental crisis[]

Mill had meanwhile gone through a spiritual crisis, which he compares to the conversion of methodists. It was connected, as he says, with "a dull state of nerves." Although he dwells chiefly upon the mental state, it seems to be clear that the pressure to which he had been subjected from his infancy, and the extraordinary labours of his early manhood, in which the work upon Bentham in the previous year was a mere interlude, must have tried his nervous system.

In 1836 he had an illness due to "an obstinate derangement of the brain" (Bain, p. 42), which produced involuntary nervous movements, and to the end of his life there was "an almost ceaseless spasmodic twitching over one eye." From this and other attacks it is clear that he had suffered from excessive intellectual strain.

The mental crisis, whether the effect, or, as he apparently fancied, the cause of the nervous mental derangement, greatly affected his later development. He suddenly felt that even the full attainment of his political and social aims would fail to give happiness. He concluded that the systematic analysis of his school tended to "wear away the feelings" by destroying the associations which, in their view, were the cause of all happiness. The "first ray of light" came from a passage in Marmontel's Memoirs. Marmontel there describes how, upon his father's death, he was inspired by the resolution to make up the loss to his family. Mill learnt that happiness was to be found not in directly pursuing it, but in the pursuit of other ends; and learnt, also, the importance of a steady cultivation of the feelings.

In this state of mind he was profoundly attracted by Wordsworth, whose merits he defended against Roebuck at the Speculative Society. He learnt something, too, from Maurice, who introduced him to Coleridge and Goethe. He began to diverge from the stern utilitarianism of his father, who also repelled him by a denial of the rights of women. Thomas Babington Macaulay's attack upon James Mill's essay on Government suggested to him the necessity of a more philosophical treatment of politics.

In 1829-1830 he became acquainted with the St-Simonians, and was especially impressed by an early work of Auguste Comte, then an avowed follower of St-Simon. In 1830 he went to Paris upon the revolution, was introduced to Lafayette and to some of the popular leaders, and saw the chiefs of the St-Simonians. He was thus led to widen and humanise his traditional utilitarianism, and he convinced himself that he could retain all that was ennobling in the ‘Freewill’ doctrine — the belief, namely, that we can mould our own characters — without abandoning the philosophical theory of determinism.

He wrote much in newspapers after his visit to France in 1830, especially in the Examiner, to which he contributed a series of papers on the "Spirit of the Age" in 1831. Thomas Carlyle was attracted by them, and upon coming to London soon afterwards made Mill's acquaintance. They were for some time friends, although Carlyle soon discovered that Mill was not, as he had fancied, a ‘new mystic.’ In fact, the absence of ‘mysticism’ in Mill's intellect made the relationship uncongenial, and they gradually drifted apart. Mill had made collections for a history of the French revolution, which were very useful to Carlyle.

Mill now began to put together materials for his most important works. The discussions at Grote's house had suggested to him the composition of a logical treatise. After finishing the economist essays, he again took up the question, was able to frame his theory of the syllogism, and wrote a sketch of his first book. Difficulties, however, stopped him as to the theory of induction, and he put the subject aside for 5 years. He wrote in 1832 for Tait's Magazine and contributed to the Jurist the article upon "Endowments," reprinted in his Dissertations.

Appearance and character[]

The best impression of Mill's personal appearance is given by the portrait painted by Mr. Watts, of which an etching by Rajon has been published. He was rather tall, slight, ruddy and fair-haired, with a sweet and thoughtful expression. He was always in black, and till his later years wore a dress suit.

He had a good constitution, over-strained by his labours. He loved walking and natural scenery. He protested in 1836, as Mr. Ruskin might have done later, against the passage of a railway through the beautiful valley of Mickleham; and it was through his influence that the line of trees, still on the south side of Piccadilly, was saved when the street was widened. He was a founder and active member of the Commons Preservation Society.

His astonishing powers of work, shown by his early edition of Bentham's Evidence, enabled him, in spite of a daily 6 hours at his office (of which Mr. Bain thinks only half were spent upon his necessary duties), to get through immense intellectual labours.

He was very temperate, and took nothing between an early breakfast and a plain dinner at 6 o'clock. His animal appetites were probably below the average intensity, and he underestimated their force in others.

Although Mill's intellect was essentially of the logical order, his emotions were extremely tender and vivid. The severe training of his father directed them mainly into the channel of public spirit. His whole life was devoted to the propagation of principles which he held to be essential to human happiness; and his metaphysical doctrines were valued by him not so much upon purely logical grounds, as by their application to the well-being of his fellows.

His appreciation of such friends as Hare and Thornton was expressed in terms of even excessive generosity. He was always eager to recognise the merits of an antagonist, or of a still obscure genius. He was liberal in money matters, and offered to guarantee the cost of early writings of Professor Bain and Mr. Herbert Spencer. He could speak sharply at times, especially upon such questions as woman's rights, and was both sensitive and irritable. Yet in published controversy his candour and calmness were conspicuous.

When W.T. Thornton was disabled by illness from performing his duties in the India House, and thought of resigning his post, Mill obviated the necessity by doing all Thornton's work in addition to his own for a year. He was the author, as Thornton adds, of nearly all the "political" despatches from the India House for 23 years, and his official writings would fill 2 large volumes annually. The same qualities mark his intellectual career.

Harriet Taylor[]

In 1830 Mill had been introduced to Harriet Taylor, his junior by 2 years. Her husband was a "drysalter and wholesale druggist" in Mark Lane; and his grandfather had been a neighbour and friend of James Mill at Newington Green. Mill rapidly formed an intimacy with Mrs. Taylor, who profoundly affected the rest of his life.

She was an invalid, and obliged to live in the country apart from her husband. Mill visited her regularly in the country, dined with her twice a week in London, and occasionally travelled with her alone. Her husband accepted the situation with singular generosity, and dined out when Mill dined at his house. He was, according to Mill, a man of most honourable character, and regarded with steady affection by his wife, although he could not be her intellectual companion.

The relationship between Mill and Mrs. Taylor was, as he intimates (Autobiography, p. 229), purely one of friendship. It was, however, inevitable that it should cause some scandal, and it led to difficulties with his family. His father strongly disapproved, and his marriage to her (in 1851) led to a complete estrangement from his mother and sisters. He never spoke of her to his friends or in his family, and the connection was probably the main cause of his complete withdrawal from society in later years. After ceasing to be active in journalism, he was only to be seen by a few intimate friends at the India House, and at monthly meetings of the Political Economy Club. He gives, however, more philosophical and doubtless genuine reasons for his seclusion (ib. p. 227).

If his own language is to be trusted (see dedication to ‘Liberty,’ Dissertations, ii. 411, and Autobiography), Mrs. Taylor's influence upon his intellectual and moral development was of the highest importance, and yet not more important than might be expected from her transcendent abilities. He declares that her excellences of mind and heart were "unparalleled in any human being he had known or read of." His friends naturally did not share this opinion; some of them accounted for it by her excellence in echoing his own views. As Professor Bain observes, this is purely conjectural, and Mill generally liked friends with independent views.

The affectionate nature shown in his idolatry of his wife appeared in his friendships; though unfortunately his absorption in this passion and his seclusion from society led to difficulties with his family, and checked his sympathies with even so old a friend as Grote.

His vehement hyperboles, however, seem to betray a sense that he could give no tangible proof of their accuracy. From his account of her share in his writings it would seem that she did not influence his logical and scientific theories, but did a great deal to stimulate his enthusiasm upon such questions as liberty, women's rights, and social progress. The opinions, however, advocated in his later writings upon these topics were natural developments of his earlier thought. The only independent work attributed to her is the essay upon the enfranchisement of women in the second volume of the Dissertations.

London Review[]

The Reform Bill of 1832 had given power to the whigs, and Mill's great object for some years was to prevent the radicals from becoming a mere left wing of the whig party. From 1832 to 1834 he wrote much in the Examiner, in the Monthly Repository, edited by W.J. Fox, on political and other subjects, and published abstracts of some of Plato's Dialogues, besides adding a short estimate of Bentham to Bulwer's England and the English. His publications, he says, independently of the newspaper articles, would fill a large volume.

His party had for some time desired to possess an organ of "philosophical radicalism" which might take the place of the Westminster Review. The London Review was started by Sir William Molesworth [q. v.] for this purpose. The first number appeared in April 1835, and in April 1836 it was amalgamated with the Westminster Review, which had been bought by Molesworth.

Molesworth in 1837 transferred the proprietorship to Mill, who in 1840 transferred it to Mr. Hickson. There was a loss of about 100l. a number during Molesworth's proprietorship, and Mill, who paid a sub-editor and many contributors, was also a considerable loser. Mill's official position prevented him from being actual editor, but he superintended the review from the first, the ostensible editors being, first, Thomas Falconer (1805–1882), and from about the beginning of 1837 John Robertson, a smart young Scottish journalist. (The dates are not quite clear: see Mill's Autobiography pp. 199, 207; Bain, pp. 46, 58–9; and Atlantic Monthly for January 1892, where are published some interesting letters from Mill to Robertson.)

Mill was at first hampered by the necessity of publishing his father's articles and others by the utilitarians of the older school. When he became freer, after his father's death in 1836, he could give more scope to his own doctrines. He inserted many articles, however, with which he was not in full agreement, the authorship being indicated by letters and editorial caveats frequently added. Among the writers were Carlyle, Sterling, Bulwer, Charles Buller, Roebuck, Harriet and James Martineau, Mazzini, W.J. Fox, and Henry Cole.

Mill contributed some remarkable essays, some of which are republished in his Dissertations. Among them were an article upon Tocqueville's Democracy in America, a book which greatly affected his political theories; 2 well-known articles upon Bentham and Coleridge; an article (in the 2nd number, July 1835) which was one of the first to do justice to Tennyson's poetry; and another (July 1837) which gave a warm and, as he thought, a very seasonable welcome to Carlyle's French Revolution. Mill was always anxious to help unrecognised genius. Other articles show his interest in French politics and the gradual development of his political theories, in which his old democratic zeal was tempered by a fear of the danger to individualism.

His main practical purpose, however, was to stimulate the flagging energies of the "philosophical radicals." He tried to believe that they only required a leader; and he thought that such a leader might be found in Lord Durham, whose Canadian administration he warmly supported in two articles (January and December 1838). The first of these, according to Robertson (Atlantic Monthly), greatly injured the sale of the number; but Mill in his Autobiography congratulates himself upon the effect produced upon colonial policy.


Mill's attempt to influence politics ceased with his abandonment of the review and the complete eclipse for the time of the philosophical radicals. He had again taken up his logical speculations in 1837. Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences, published in that year, gave him needed materials, and he succeeded in elaborating his theory of induction.

In spite of his other occupations and a serious illness, which caused 6 months' leave of absence in 1839, he carried on the work. In the beginning of 1840 he stayed some time at Falmouth, where his favourite brother Henry had gone in consumption (he died 4 April 1840), and saw much of Sterling and the Fox family.

In 1841 he finally rewrote the Logic, and at the end of the year offered it to Murray. It was rejected by him, but accepted by J.W. Parker, who finally published it in March 1843. The book had a rapid success, beyond the expectations of its author, and was for many years the standard authority with all who took his side in the main philosophical questions.

Mill, in fact, was recognised as the great leader of the empirical as opposed to what he called the intuitional school; and few men have had a more marked influence upon the rising intellect of the time. His chief opponents at the moment were Whewell, to whom he replied in a 3rd edition, and W.G. Ward, who reviewed him at great length in the British Critic. Though diametrically opposed upon important points, Ward and Mill received each other's criticisms with singular candour and good temper.

The later part of the Logic shows the influence of Comte, although Mill is careful to state that his own theory of induction had been independently reached. Mill had been an early student of Comte; he had read every volume of the Philosophie’ as it appeared; and from 1841 to 1846 they carried on a correspondence at first very intimate and affectionate. (The Lettres d'Auguste Comte à John Stuart Mill, 1841–6, Paris, 1877, throw more light upon Comte's position than upon Mill's, whose letters have not been published.)

Mill took part with Grote and Molesworth in supplying Comte with a sum to make up for his loss of official income in 1844. They declined, however, after a 2nd year, to consider the subsidy. Considerable divergences of opinion had shown themselves; Mill's views of the equality of the sexes had led to a warm dispute, and he, though not so strongly as Grote, objected to Comte's doctrines as destructive of liberty. The intercourse ceased, and Mill in later editions of his Logic softened down the high compliments which he had first paid to Comte. Comte's influence, however, upon Mill was clearly very great, especially in his general view of social development.

Political Economy[]

Mill now contemplated a book to be called Ethology, a theory of human character as preparatory to a theory of social statics. This, however, gradually gave place to a treatise upon political economy, upon which he laboured from the autumn of 1845. He contributed some articles to the Edinburgh Review at this time, and in the winter of 1846–7 wrote a series of leaders in the Morning Chronicle, urging the formation of peasant-proprietorships on waste lands in Ireland.

His long familiarity with political economy enabled him to compose his treatise with unusual rapidity; it was finished by the end of 1847 and published early in 1848. While expounding the old doctrines of Ricardo it indicated also the opinions which he shared with Mrs. Taylor, and which entitled them in his view to come "under the general designation of socialists" (Autobiography p. 231). This, however, must not be understood as including later implications of the word.

Mill's theories, to which he gave greater prominence in later editions, are indicated in the chapter upon the ‘Probable Future of the Labouring Classes,’ which was written at the suggestion, and partly by the inspiration, of Mrs. Taylor (ib. p. 245). The Political Economy succeeded more rapidly than the Logic; and the 2 combined gave the essence of the social and philosophical system of the more educated radicals of the time.

Later writings[]

Mill's correspondence now became considerable. He wrote occasional articles, but he began no important work for a time. Mr. Taylor died in July 1849, and in April 1851 Mrs. Taylor became Mill's wife. A serious illness, causing permanent injury to the lungs, forced him to take eight months' holiday in 1854. He rallied, and in 1856 became head of his department in the India House.

He drew up a petition in which the company remonstrated against its own extinction, arguing very vigorously against the probable effect upon the natives of the change of system and the evils to be anticipated from making the government of India a prize to be scrambled for by second-rate English officials. On the dissolution of the company at the end of 1858 he retired with a pension of 1,500l. a year, declining a seat on the new council.

He left England intending to spend the winter in the south of Europe. His wife was taken ill on the journey and died at Avignon of congestion of the lungs. Mill was deeply affected, and for the rest of his life spent half the year in a house which he bought at Avignon to be near his wife's grave. In England he lived at Blackheath.

He returned, however, to intellectual work. His last occupation with Mrs. Mill had been the revision of his Essay on Liberty (first written in 1854), the most carefully prepared of his writings. He now published it without further alteration. In 1860 he wrote his essay upon Representative Government, and in the same year revised his Utilitarianism (first written in 1854), which appeared as 3 articles in Fraser's Magazine in 1861. These books together contain a full, though condensed, exposition of his characteristic political and social views.

In 1861 he returned to his metaphysical investigations, having taken up Sir William Hamilton's works for an intended review which soon expanded into a treatise. He read through Hamilton's works thrice and many subsidiary books.

Hamilton was taken by Mill as the chief representative of the intuitionists, and the book, which finally appeared in 1865, included an elaborate survey of all the chief points at issue. It produced a very lively controversy. His best-known antagonist was Hamilton's disciple Mansel, whose Limits of Religious Thought he had sharply attacked, and which he pronounced in private to be a "loathsome book" (Bain, p. 124). While writing upon Hamilton he contributed to the Edinburgh (October 1863) an article upon John Austin, and to the Westminster Review in 1864 2 articles upon Comte, subsequently republished in a separate volume.

Parliamentary career[]

The Hamilton book had hardly appeared when Mill was invited to stand for Westminster. He had taken some part in contemporary political discussions by a pamphlet on parliamentary reform (written some years before), and by articles strongly supporting the cause of the union in the American civil war; and in the beginning of 1865 he published popular editions of his Political Economy, Liberty, and Representative Government.

He had declined previous requests to become a candidate, but felt bound to accede to a proposal which met his views of independence. It was understood that he should not canvass or spend money, and he had frankly stated his opinions, especially as to the extension of the franchise to women.

He took no part in the contest till the last week, when he attended some public meetings and answered questions. He declined to say anything of his religious opinions, but was perfectly frank upon all other topics. When asked whether he had written a passage stating that the English working classes were "generally liars," he excited vehement applause by replying simply, "I did." He was elected in 1865.

Mill's immense reputation and his previous seclusion made his parliamentary performance the object of very general curiosity. His first speech was upon the bill for prevention of the cattle diseases (14 February 1866), and gave some offence to the country gentlemen. A speech in favor of the second reading of Mr. Gladstone's Reform Bill (12 April 1866) was highly successful. A weak voice, great rapidity of utterance, and a nervous manner — occasionally producing a prolonged full stop — were unfavourable to oratorical success. But his command of copious and precise language was remarkable, and the general effect was that of reading a highly finished and felicitous essay.

Bright and Mr. Gladstone welcomed him with especial cordiality, and he had much influence with both. When the first curiosity had been satiated and some of his utterances (especially that upon Hare's scheme) had provoked conservative antipathies, he showed some irritability, but on the whole retained the ear of the house. His speeches, as the speaker is reported to have said, raised the tone of debate, and his general reputation spread through a wider area.

He attended to his duties with singular assiduity, and even provoked the remonstrances of his friends for wasting energy upon mere routine drudgery. Mill chiefly followed Mr. Gladstone in the various parliamentary contests which led finally to the passage of the Reform Bill of 1867. He spoke upon his own favourite schemes, the extension of the franchise to women and the introduction of some system of cumulative voting.

After the Hyde Park riots of 1866 he had some influence in persuading the leaders to give up their intention of holding a second meeting in defiance of the government. He helped afterwards to talk out a measure, introduced by the conservative government, for preventing meetings in the parks.

He took a strong part in Irish questions, giving offence by denouncing English methods of government upon the suspension of the habeas corpus on 17 February 1866. In 1868 he published a pamphlet upon England and Ireland, and afterwards spoke in the house upon the same topic. While holding a separation to be undesirable for both countries, he proposed to settle the land question by giving a permanent tenure to the tenants, and allowing as an alternative the sale of the landlords' estates to the government.

He endeavoured also to procure the establishment of a municipal government for London, and served on a committee which considered the question in 1866. A speech (17 April 1866) in which he urged the duty of paying off the national debt before our coal was exhausted (suggested by a pamphlet of William Stanley Jevons) also made a favourable impression.

Another movement in which he took a considerable share during 1866 and 1867 was the attempted prosecution of Governor Eyre for his action in suppressing the Jamaica insurrection. Mill was for a time chairman of the 'Jamaica Committee,' formed to promote the prosecution; he spoke in the house on its behalf, and received a good deal of personal abuse in consequence.

After the dissolution of 1868 Mill lost his seat. The Eyre business had given offence to some of his own party; the feeling against "theoretical" politicians had been revived by his advocacy of Hare's scheme and other doctrines; and he shocked some supporters by subscribing to the election expenses of Bradlaugh, among other working-class candidates.

Last years[]

His parliamentary duties had not absorbed Mill's whole attention. At the end of 1866 he had written a long address to the students of St. Andrews, by whom he had been elected rector. He brought out a 3rd edition of his Hamilton, with replies to critics. He then edited his father's Analysis in cooperation with Dr. Findlater and his old friend Professor Bain, who had first made his acquaintance in 1839, and who had helped him in the various editions of the Logic both by criticisms and by supplying him with illustrations.

Upon losing his seat he returned to his literary pursuits, intending to divide his time between Avignon and Blackheath. His parliamentary career had greatly increased his correspondence, and brought him into contact with many rising young men. Among his chief friends in later life were Thomas Hare, whose scheme he had adopted, W.T. Thornton, his colleague in the India House, Professor Cairnes, Henry Fawcett, and Mr. John Morley. He wrote for the Fortnightly, then edited by Mr. Morley, various articles, which formed the 4th volume of his Dissertations.

He published in 1869 his last book, the Subjection of Women, written in 1861. His step-daughter co-operated in this book, which was partly also the product of conversations with her mother. He speaks of his singular good fortune in drawing such "another prize in the lottery of life" after the loss of his wife.

He had "several prostrating attacks" after this, but showed great power of recovery. He died 8 May 1873, of a "local endemic disease." Three days before his death he had walked 15 miles on a botanical excursion.

Three posthumous Essays on Religion were published by Miss Taylor in 1874: the first 2, upon "Nature' and the "Utility of Religion," were written between 1850 and 1858; the last, upon "Theism," was written between 1868 and 1870. The fact that he intended to publish the last in 1873 shows that he would not have persevered in the singular reticence upon religious topics which had been the systematic practice of his early associates. It was remarkable that in spite of the obvious bearing of his philosophical treatises, the only sentence which his political antagonists could find to produce odium was the really very orthodox remark (from the Examination of Hamilton), "To hell I will go" rather than obey an immoral deity. The essay itself betrays an insufficient acquaintance with the philosophy of the subject. Professor Bain thinks that he had never read a book upon theology.


Brought up after the strictest sect of the utilitarians, the history of Mill's development is mainly a history of his attempts to widen and humanise their teaching. He adhered, indeed, to the philosophical groundwork of his predecessors, and much of his thought is best understood as an elaboration of his father's principles, intended to supply gaps and correct crudities. Mill thus carried on the traditional teaching of English philosophers on the lines originally laid down by Locke; and for the quarter of a century after the publication was regarded as the leading exponent of its principles. His influence has diminished with the rise of the evolutionist doctrine on his own side and the appearance on the other side of men familiar with Kant and his German successors. Mill's superficial acquaintance with the German writers prevented him from perceiving some weaknesses of his teaching; and his contemporary antagonists, though rather better informed, scarcely recognised defects which have been since pointed out by Thomas Hill Green [q. v.] and others. Whatever the result to his system, he at least did more than any one of his time to stimulate English thought upon such topics.[9]

In political economy Mill built upon the foundations of Ricardo and Malthus. He came to regard the Malthusian principles not as a barrier to progress, but as showing the conditions by which progress could be achieved. His book is throughout governed by a belief in the possibility of great social improvements, combined with a resolution to expose quack remedies and utter unpalatable truths. If he appears to the modern socialist as a follower of Ricardo, he would have been regarded by Ricardo's disciples as a socialist. The purely scientific part of his doctrine retains much value. When his exposition of the ‘wage fund’ theory was assailed by his friend Thornton, Mill not only made concessions, but, according to Professor Marshall, allowed himself to have fallen into confusions of which he was not really guilty. The same high authority observes that most of Mill's exposition of the theory in the last book of his treatise will stand later inquiry. Mill's political and social doctrines show a similar transition. While ardently sympathising with the aspirations of radicals, he had learnt to regard as the great danger of modern society the tendency of democracies to crush individual development and tyrannise over minorities. No one had a more rooted hatred for all oppression, and his advocacy of the equality of the sexes—whatever the value of the particular measures advocated—showed his chivalrous devotion to the weaker side. The general disparagement of so-called ‘individualism’ has led for the time to a lower estimate of Mill's services to liberal principles. The final decision as to the soundness of his teaching will not yet be reached. But no historian of the social and political movement in his time can fail to note the extraordinary influence which he exercised for a generation; the purity and energy of his purpose; and his immense services in the encouragement of active speculation, and of the most important movements of his time. It is equally noticeable that no one ever did less to court favour by the slightest compromise of principle.[9]

Among reviews of Mill's writings may be mentioned T. R. Birks's ‘Modern Utilitarianism,’ 1874; W. L. Courtney's ‘Metaphysics of J. S. Mill,’ 1879; J. Grote's ‘Exploratio Philosophica,’ 1865, and ‘Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy,’ 1870; Guyau's ‘Morale Anglaise Contemporaine,’ 1879; Jodl's ‘Geschichte der Ethik in der neueren Philosophie,’ 1889; F. A. Lange's ‘J. S. Mill's Ansichten über die sociale Frage,’ &c., 1866; Littré's ‘A. Comte et J. S. Mill’ [1866]; J. MacCosh's ‘Examination of J. S. Mill's Philosophy,’ 1866; H. L. Mansel's ‘Philosophy of the Conditioned,’ 1866; Ribot's ‘Psychologie Anglaise Contemporaine,’ 1870; Taine's ‘Mill et le Positivisme Anglaise,’ 1870 (separately, and in ‘History of English Literature’); Whewell's ‘Of Induction, with special reference to J. S. Mill,’ 1889. Mill's ‘Wage-fund theory’ was criticised by Mr. F. D. Longe in ‘Refutation of the Wage-fund,’ 1866, and by W. T. Thornton ‘On Labour,’ 1869. Mill's reply to Thornton, containing a withdrawal of his theory, was originally published in the ‘Fortnightly Review’ for May 1869, and is given in the ‘Dissertations,’ vol. iv.[9]

Mill's works are: 1. ‘A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, being a connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation,’ 1843, 2 vols. 8vo. The third edition (1851), the sixth (1866), and the eighth (1872) were carefully revised. A ninth appeared in 1875, and a ‘people's edition’ in 1884. 2. ‘Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy,’ 1844; 2nd edit. 1874. 3. ‘Principles of Political Economy,’ 2 vols. 8vo, 1848, 1849, 1852, 1857, 1862, 1865. 4. ‘On Liberty,’ 1859. 5. ‘Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform,’ 1859 (reprinted in ‘Dissertations,’ vol. iii.) 6. ‘Dissertations and Discussions,’ vols i. and ii. in 1859; vol. iii. in 1867; vol. iv. in 1876. 7. ‘Considerations on Representative Government,’ 1861; 3rd edit. 1865. 8. ‘Utilitarianism,’ 1863 (reprinted from ‘Fraser's Magazine’ of 1861). 9. ‘Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy,’ 1865 (3rd edit.). 10. ‘Auguste Comte and Positivism,’ 1865 (from the ‘Westminster Review’). 11. ‘Inaugural Address at the University of St. Andrews’ (delivered 1 Feb. 1867), 1867. 12. ‘England and Ireland,’ 1868. 13. ‘The Subjection of Women,’ 1869. 14. ‘Chapters and Speeches on the Irish Land Question,’ 1870 (reprinted from ‘Political Economy’ and ‘Hansard's Debates’). 15. ‘Autobiography,’ 1873. 16. ‘Three Essays on Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, Theism,’ 1874. The abstracts of some of Plato's ‘Dialogues,’ to which Mill refers in his ‘Autobiography,’ p. 168, appeared in W. J. Fox's ‘Monthly Repository’ for 1834. The dialogues were the ‘Protagoras,’ ‘Phædrus,’ and ‘Gorgias.’ ‘Memorandum on the Improvements in the Administration of India during the last Thirty Years, and the Petition of the East India Company to Parliament’ (1858) is by Mill. Mill edited Bentham's ‘Rationale of Judicial Evidence,’ which first appeared in 1827; and from vols. vi. and vii. in the collective edition of Bentham's ‘Works;’ and James Mill's ‘Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind’ in 1869.[9]

A System of Logic[]

Template:Main article Mill joined the debate over scientific method which followed on from John Herschel's 1830 publication of A Preliminary Discourse on the study of Natural Philosophy, which incorporated inductive reasoning from the known to the unknown, discovering general laws in specific facts and verifying these laws empirically. William Whewell expanded on this in his 1837 History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time followed in 1840 by The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded Upon their History, presenting induction as the mind superimposing concepts on facts. Laws were self-evident truths, which could be known without need for empirical verification. Mill countered this in 1843 in A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation. In Mill's Methods of induction, like Herschel's, laws were discovered through observation and induction, and required empirical verification.[10]

Theory of liberty[]

Template:Main article Mill's On Liberty addresses the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. However Mill is clear that his concern for liberty does not extend to all individuals and all societies. He states that "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians".[11]

Mill states that it is acceptable to harm oneself as long as the person doing so is not harming others. He also argues that individuals should be prevented from doing lasting, serious harm to themselves or their property by the harm principle. Because no one exists in isolation, harm done to oneself may also harm others, and destroying property deprives the community as well as oneself.[12] Mill excuses those who are "incapable of self-government" from this principle, such as young children or those living in "backward states of society".

Though this principle seems clear, there are a number of complications. For example, Mill explicitly states that "harms" may include acts of omission as well as acts of commission. Thus, failing to rescue a drowning child counts as a harmful act, as does failing to pay taxes, or failing to appear as a witness in court. All such harmful omissions may be regulated, according to Mill. By contrast, it does not count as harming someone if – without force or fraud – the affected individual consents to assume the risk: thus one may permissibly offer unsafe employment to others, provided there is no deception involved. (Mill does, however, recognise one limit to consent: society should not permit people to sell themselves into slavery). In these and other cases, it is important to bear in mind that the arguments in On Liberty are grounded on the principle of Utility, and not on appeals to natural rights.

The question of what counts as a self-regarding action and what actions, whether of omission or commission, constitute harmful actions subject to regulation, continues to exercise interpreters of Mill. It is important to emphasise that Mill did not consider giving offence to constitute "harm"; an action could not be restricted because it violated the conventions or morals of a given society.

On Liberty involves an impassioned defense of free speech. Mill argues that free discourse is a necessary condition for intellectual and social progress. We can never be sure, he contends, that a silenced opinion does not contain some element of the truth. He also argues that allowing people to air false opinions is productive for two reasons. First, individuals are more likely to abandon erroneous beliefs if they are engaged in an open exchange of ideas. Second, by forcing other individuals to re-examine and re-affirm their beliefs in the process of debate, these beliefs are kept from declining into mere dogma. It is not enough for Mill that one simply has an unexamined belief that happens to be true; one must understand why the belief in question is the true one. Along those same lines Mill wrote, "unmeasured vituperation, employed on the side of prevailing opinion, really does deter people from expressing contrary opinions, and from listening to those who express them."[13]

File:J S Mill and H Taylor.jpg

John Stuart Mill and Helen Taylor. Helen was the daughter of Harriet Taylor and collaborated with Mill for fifteen years after her mother's death in 1858.

Social liberty[]

Template:Refimprove section Mill believed that "the struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history". For him, liberty in antiquity was a "contest... between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government." Mill defined "social liberty" as protection from "the tyranny of political rulers". He introduced a number of different concepts of the form tyranny can take, referred to as social tyranny, and tyranny of the majority.

Social liberty for Mill meant putting limits on the ruler's power so that he would not be able to use his power on his own wishes and make decisions which could harm society; in other words, people should have the right to have a say in the government's decisions. He said that social liberty was "the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual". It was attempted in two ways: first, by obtaining recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights; second, by establishment of a system of "constitutional checks".

However, in Mill's view, limiting the power of government was not enough. He stated, "Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself."[14]


John Stuart Mill's view on liberty, which was influenced by Joseph Priestley and Josiah Warren, is that the individual ought to be free to do as he wishes unless he harms others. Individuals are rational enough to make decisions about their well being. Government should interfere when it is for the protection of society. Mill explained:

The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right...The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns him, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.[15]

Freedom of speech[]

An influential advocate of freedom of speech, Mill objected to censorship. He says:

I choose, by preference the cases which are least favourable to me – In which the argument opposing freedom of opinion, both on truth and that of utility, is considered the strongest. Let the opinions impugned be the belief of God and in a future state, or any of the commonly received doctrines of morality... But I must be permitted to observe that it is not the feeling sure of a doctrine (be it what it may) which I call an assumption of infallibility. It is the undertaking to decide that question for others, without allowing them to hear what can be said on the contrary side. And I denounce and reprobate this pretension not the less if it is put forth on the side of my most solemn convictions. However, positive anyone's persuasion may be, not only of the faculty but of the pernicious consequences, but (to adopt expressions which I altogether condemn) the immorality and impiety of opinion. – yet if, in pursuance of that private judgement, though backed by the public judgement of his country or contemporaries, he prevents the opinion from being heard in its defence, he assumes infallibility. And so far from the assumption being less objectionable or less dangerous because the opinion is called immoral or impious, this is the case of all others in which it is most fatal.[16]

Mill outlines the benefits of "searching for and discovering the truth" as a way to further knowledge. He argued that even if an opinion is false, the truth can be better understood by refuting the error. And as most opinions are neither completely true nor completely false, he points out that allowing free expression allows the airing of competing views as a way to preserve partial truth in various opinions.[17] Worried about minority views being suppressed, Mill also argued in support of freedom of speech on political grounds, stating that it is a critical component for a representative government to have in order to empower debate over public policy.[17] Mill also eloquently argued that freedom of expression allows for personal growth and self-realization. He said that freedom of speech was a vital way to develop talents and realise a person's potential and creativity. He repeatedly said that eccentricity was preferable to uniformity and stagnation.[17]

Harm Principle[]

The belief that the freedom of speech will advance the society was formed with trust of the public’s ability to filter. If any argument is really wrong or harmful, the public will judge it as wrong or harmful, and then those arguments cannot be sustained and will be excluded. Mill argued that even any arguments which are used in justifying murder or rebellion against the government shouldn’t be politically suppressed or socially persecuted. According to him, if rebellion is really necessary, people should rebel; if murder is truly proper, it should be allowed. But, the way to express those arguments should be a public speech or writing, not in a way that causes actual harm to others. This is the Harm Principle.

That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.[18]

At the beginning of the 20th century, Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. made the standard of "clear and present danger" based on Mill's idea. In the majority opinion, Holmes writes:

The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.[19]

Shouting out "Fire!" in a dark theatre, which makes people panic and gets them injured, is a case of that.[20] But if the situation allows people to reason by themselves and decide to accept it or not, any argument or theology should not be blocked.

Nowadays, Mill's argument is generally accepted by many democratic countries, and they have laws about the harm principle. For example, in American law some exceptions limit free speech such as obscenity, defamation, breach of peace, and "fighting words".[21]


Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from 1823 to 1858,[22] argued in support of what he called a 'benevolent despotism' with regard to the colonies.[23] Mill argued that "To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error....To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject."[24]


In 1850, Mill sent an anonymous letter (which came to be known under the title "The Negro Question"),[25] in rebuttal to Thomas Carlyle's anonymous letter to Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country in which Carlyle argued for slavery. Mill supported abolition in the United States.

In Mill's essay from 1869, "The Subjection of Women", he expressed his opposition to slavery:

This absolutely extreme case of the law of force, condemned by those who can tolerate almost every other form of arbitrary power, and which, of all others, presents features the most revolting to the feeling of all who look at it from an impartial position, was the law of civilized and Christian England within the memory of persons now living: and in one half of Angle-Saxon America three or four years ago, not only did slavery exist, but the slave trade, and the breeding of slaves expressly for it, was a general practice between slave states. Yet not only was there a greater strength of sentiment against it, but, in England at least, a less amount either of feeling or of interest in favour of it, than of any other of the customary abuses of force: for its motive was the love of gain, unmixed and undisguised: and those who profited by it were a very small numerical fraction of the country, while the natural feeling of all who were not personally interested in it, was unmitigated abhorrence.[26]

Women's rights[]

File:John Stuart Mill, Vanity Fair, 1873-03-29.jpg

"A Feminine Philosopher". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1873.

Mill's view of history was that right up until his time "the whole of the female" and "the great majority of the male sex" were simply "slaves". He countered arguments to the contrary, arguing that relations between sexes simply amounted to "the legal subordination of one sex to the other – [which] is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality." With this, Mill can be considered among the earliest male proponents of gender equality. His book The Subjection of Women (1861, published 1869) is one of the earliest written on this subject by a male author.Template:Citation needed In The Subjection of Women Mill attempts to make a case for perfect equality.[27] He talks about the role of women in marriage and how it needed to be changed. There, Mill comments on three major facets of women's lives that he felt are hindering them: society and gender construction, education, and marriage. He argued that the oppression of women was one of the few remaining relics from ancient times, a set of prejudices that severely impeded the progress of humanity.[26][28]


Template:Main article The canonical statement of Mill's utilitarianism can be found in Utilitarianism. This philosophy has a long tradition, although Mill's account is primarily influenced by Jeremy Bentham and Mill's father James Mill.

Jeremy Bentham's famous formulation of utilitarianism is known as the "greatest-happiness principle". It holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness among all sentient beings, within reason. Mill's major contribution to utilitarianism is his argument for the qualitative separation of pleasures. Bentham treats all forms of happiness as equal, whereas Mill argues that intellectual and moral pleasures (higher pleasures) are superior to more physical forms of pleasure (lower pleasures). Mill distinguishes between happiness and contentment, claiming that the former is of higher value than the latter, a belief wittily encapsulated in the statement that "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question."[29]

Mill defines the difference between higher and lower forms of pleasure with the principle that those who have experienced both tend to prefer one over the other. This is, perhaps, in direct contrast with Bentham's statement that "Quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry",[30] that, if a simple child's game like hopscotch causes more pleasure to more people than a night at the opera house, it is more imperative upon a society to devote more resources to propagating hopscotch than running opera houses. Mill's argument is that the "simple pleasures" tend to be preferred by people who have no experience with high art, and are therefore not in a proper position to judge. Mill also argues that people who, for example, are noble or practice philosophy, benefit society more than those who engage in individualist practices for pleasure, which are lower forms of happiness. It is not the agent's own greatest happiness that matters "but the greatest amount of happiness altogether".[31]Template:Incomplete short citation

Mill separated his explanation of Utilitarianism into 5 different sections; General Remarks, What Utilitarianism Is, Of the Ultimate Sanction of the Principle of Utility, Of What Sort of Proof the Principle of Utility is Susceptible, and Of the Connection between Justice and Utility. In the General Remarks portion of his essay he speaks how next to no progress has been made when it comes to judging what is right and what is wrong of morality and if there is such a thing as moral instinct (which he argues that there may not be). However he agrees that in general "Our moral faculty, according to all those of its interpreters who are entitled to the name of thinkers, supplies us only with the general principles of moral judgments" (Mill 2).

In the second chapter of his essay he focuses no longer on background information but Utilitarianism itself. He quotes Utilitarianism as "The greatest happiness principle" And defines this theory by saying that pleasure and no pain are the only inherently good things in the world and expands on it by saying that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure." (Mill 3) He views it not as an animalistic concept because he sees seeking out pleasure as a way of using our higher facilities. He also says in this chapter that the happiness principle is based not exclusively on the individual but mainly on the community.

In his next chapter he focuses in more on the specifics of Utilitarianism when he writes about the sanctions of oneself. He states that a person possesses two sanctions; the internal sanction and the external sanction. According to Mill, the internal sanction is "a feeling in our own mind; a pain, more or less intense, attendant on violation of duty, which in properly cultivated moral natures rises, in the more serious cases, into shrinking from it as an impossibility." (Mill 6) Shorthand, he basically just explains that your internal sanction is your conscience. The external sanction he says is "the hope of favour and the fear of displeasure, from our fellow creatures or from the Ruler of the Universe". This states that the external sanction is almost a form of fear of God himself. The sanctions are mentioned because according to Mill the internal sanction is what grasps onto the concept of Utilitarianism and is what make people want to accept Utilitarianism.

In Mill's 4th chapter he speaks of what proofs of Utility are affected. He starts this chapter off by saying that all of his claims cannot be backed up by reasoning. He claims that the only proof that something is brings one pleasure is if someone finds it pleasurable. Next he talks about how morality is the basic way to achieve happiness. He also discusses in this chapter that Utilitarianism is beneficial for virtue. He says that "it maintains not only that virtue is to be desired, but that it is to be desired disinterestedly, for itself." (Mill 24)

In his final chapter Mill looks at the connection between Utilitarianism and justice. He contemplates the question of whether justice is something distinct from Utility or not. He reasons this question in several different ways and finally comes to the conclusion that in certain cases justice is essential for Utility, but in others social duty is far more important than justice. Mill believes that "justice must give way to some other moral principle, but that what is just in ordinary cases is, by reason of that other principle, not just in the particular case." (Mill 29)

The qualitative account of happiness that Mill advocates thus sheds light on his account presented in On Liberty. As Mill suggests in that text, utility is to be conceived in relation to humanity "as a progressive being", which includes the development and exercise of rational capacities as we strive to achieve a "higher mode of existence". The rejection of censorship and paternalism is intended to provide the necessary social conditions for the achievement of knowledge and the greatest ability for the greatest number to develop and exercise their deliberative and rational capacities.

Mill redefines the definition of happiness as; "the ultimate end, for the sake of which all other things are desirable (whether we are considering our own good or that of other people) is an existence as free as possible from pain and as rich as possible in enjoyments" (Mill, 8). He firmly believed that moral rules and obligations could be referenced to promoting happiness, which connects to having a noble character. While John Stuart Mill is not a standard act or rule utilitarian, he is a minimizing utilitarian, which "affirms that it would be desirable to maximize happiness for the greatest number, but that we are not morally required to do so" (Fitzpatrick, 82).

Mill’s thesis distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures. He frequently discusses the importance of acknowledgement of higher pleasures. "To suppose that life has (as they express it) no higher end than pleasure- no better and nobler object of desire and pursuit they designate as utterly mean and groveling; as a doctrine worthy only of swine," (Mill). When he says higher pleasures, he means the pleasures that access higher abilities and capacities in humans such as intellectual prosperity, whereas lower pleasures would mean bodily or temporary pleasures. "But it must be admitted that when utilitarian writers have said that mental pleasures are better than bodily ones they have mainly based this on mental pleasures being more permanent, safer, less costly and so on—i.e. from their circumstantial advantages rather than from their intrinsic nature," (Mill, 6). All of this factors into John Mill’s own definition of utilitarianism, and shows why it differs from other definitions.

Economic philosophy[]

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File:Mill - Essays on economics and society, 1967 - 5499347.tif

Essays on economics and society, 1967

Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. He also accepted the principle of legislative intervention for the purpose of animal welfare.[32] Mill originally believed that "equality of taxation" meant "equality of sacrifice" and that progressive taxation penalised those who worked harder and saved more and was therefore "a mild form of robbery".[33]

Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed. A utilitarian society would agree that everyone should be equal one way or another. Therefore, receiving inheritance would put one ahead of society unless taxed on the inheritance. Those who donate should consider and choose carefully where their money goes—some charities are more deserving than others. Considering public charities boards such as a government will disburse the money equally. However, a private charity board like a church would disburse the monies fairly to those who are in more need than others.[34]

Later he altered his views toward a more socialist bent, adding chapters to his Principles of Political Economy in defence of a socialist outlook, and defending some socialist causes.[35] Within this revised work he also made the radical proposal that the whole wage system be abolished in favour of a co-operative wage system. Nonetheless, some of his views on the idea of flat taxation remained,[36] albeit altered in the third edition of the Principles of Political Economy to reflect a concern for differentiating restrictions on "unearned" incomes, which he favoured, and those on "earned" incomes, which he did not favour.[37]

Mill's Principles, first published in 1848, was one of the most widely read of all books on economics in the period.[38] As Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations had during an earlier period, Mill's Principles dominated economics teaching. In the case of Oxford University it was the standard text until 1919, when it was replaced by Marshall's Principles of Economics.

Economic democracy[]

Mill promoted economic democracy instead of capitalism, in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives. He says:

The form of association, however, which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and work-people without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers elected and removable by themselves.[39]

Political democracy[]

Mill's major work on political democracy, Considerations on Representative Government, defends 2 fundamental principles, extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers.[40] The two values are obviously in tension, and some readers have concluded that he is an elitist democrat,[41] while others count him as an earlier participatory democrat.[42] In a section he appears to defend plural voting, in which more competent citizens are given extra votes (a view he later repudiated). But in chapter 3 he presents what is still one of the most eloquent cases for the value of participation by all citizens. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level.

Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official. In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the "radical" principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect.[43]

The environment[]

Mill demonstrated an early insight into the value of the natural world – in particular in Book IV, chapter VI of "Principles of Political Economy": "Of the Stationary State"[44][45] in which Mill recognised wealth beyond the material, and argued that the logical conclusion of unlimited growth was destruction of the environment and a reduced quality of life. He concluded that a stationary state could be preferable to unending economic growth:

I cannot, therefore, regard the stationary states of capital and wealth with the unaffected aversion so generally manifested towards it by political economists of the old school.

If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or a happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compel them to it.

Economic development[]

Template:Refimprove section Mill regarded economic development as a function of land, labour and capital. While land and labour are the two original factors of production, capital is "a stock, previously accumulated of the products of former labour." Increase in wealth is possible only if land and capital help to increase production faster than the labour force. It is productive labour that is productive of wealth and capital accumulation. "The rate of capital accumulation is the function of the proportion of the labour force employed productively. Profits earned by employing unproductive labours are merely transfers of income; unproductive labour does not generate wealth or income". It is productive labourers who do productive consumption. Productive consumption is that "which maintains and increase the productive capacity of the community." It implies that productive consumption is an input necessary to maintain productive labourers.[46]

Population growth[]

Template:Unreferenced section Mill supported the Malthusian theory of population. By population he meant the number of the working class only. He was therefore concerned about the growth in number of labourers who worked for hire. He believed that population control was essential for improving the condition of the working class so that they might enjoy the fruits of the technological progress and capital accumulation. Mill advocated birth control. In 1823 Mill and a friend were arrested while distributing pamphlets on birth control by Francis Place to women in working class areas.[47]

Wage fund[]

Template:Unreferenced section According to Mill, supply is very elastic in response to wages. Wages generally exceed the minimum subsistence level, and are paid out of capital. Hence, wages are limited by existing capital for paying wages. Thus, wage per worker can be derived by dividing the total circulating capital by the size of the working population. Wages can increase by an increase in the capital used in paying wages, or by decrease in the number of workers. If wages rise, supply of labour will rise. Competition among workers not only brings down wages, but also keeps some workers out of employment. This is based on Mill's notion that "demand for commodities is not demand for labourers". It means that income invested as advances of wages to labour creates employment, and not income spent on consumer goods. An increase in consumption causes a decline in investment. So increased investment leads to increases in the wage fund and to economic progress.

In 1869, Mill recanted his support of the Wage-Fund Doctrine due to recognition that capital is not necessarily fixed in that it can be supplemented through "income of the employer which might otherwise go into savings or be spent on consumption." (Spiegel,Template:Who p. 390) WalkerTemplate:Who also states in "The Wages Question" that the limits on capital and the growth in population "were accidental, not essential" to the formation of the doctrine. The limitation on the growth of industrial capacity placed a limit on the number of workers who could be accommodated more than the limit on capital. Furthermore, English agriculture "had reached the condition of diminishing returns." (Walker); therefore, each additional worker was not providing more output than he needed for himself for survival. Given the improvements in technology and productivity that followed 1848, the original reasons that gave rise to the doctrine were seen to be unusual and not the basis for a universal law.

Rate of capital accumulation[]

Template:Unreferenced section According to Mill, the rate of capital accumulation depends on: (1) "the amount of fund from which saving can be made" or "the size of the net produce of the industry", and (2) the "disposition to save". Capital is the result of savings, and the savings come from the "abstinence from present consumption for the sake of future goods". Although capital is the result of saving, it is nevertheless consumed. This means saving is spending. Since saving depends on the net produce of the industry, it grows with profits and rent which go into making the net produce. On the other hand, the disposition to save depends on (1) the rate of profit and (2) the desire to save, or what Mill called "effective desire of accumulation". However, profit also depends on the cost of labour, and the rate of profit is the ratio of profits to wages. When profits rise or wages fall, the rate of profits increases, which in turn increases the rate of capital accumulation. Similarly, it is the desire to save which tends to increase the rate of capital accumulation.

Rate of profit[]

According to Mill, the ultimate tendency in an economy is for the rate of profit to decline due to diminishing returns in agriculture and increase in population at a Malthusian rate [48]


A bronze statue was erected to his memory upon the Thames Embankment.[9]

In popular culture[]

  • Mill is the subject of a 1905 clerihew by E. C. Bentley:[49]

     John Stuart Mill,
     By a mighty effort of will,
     Overcame his natural bonhomie
     And wrote Principles of Political Economy.

  • Mill is namechecked in Monty Python's "Philosophers Song".
  • John Stuart Mill was the stage name of musician John Schmersal between the disbanding of the group Brainiac and the formation of the band Enon.

Major publications[]

Title Date Source
"Two Letters on the Measure of Value" 1822 "The Traveller"
"Questions of Population" 1823 "Black Dwarf"
"War Expenditure" 1824 Westminster Review
"Quarterly Review – Political Economy" 1825 Westminster Review
"Review of Miss Martineau's Tales" 1830 Examiner
"The Spirit of the Age" 1831 Examiner
"Use and Abuse of Political Terms" 1832
"What is Poetry" 1833, 1859
"Rationale of Representation" 1835
"De Tocqueville on Democracy in America [i]" 1835
"State of Society In America" 1836
"Civilization" 1836
"Essay on Bentham" 1838
"Essay on Coleridge" 1840
"Essays On Government" 1840
"De Tocqueville on Democracy in America [ii]" 1840
A System of Logic 1843
Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy 1844
"Claims of Labour" 1845 Edinburgh Review
The Principles of Political Economy: with some of their applications to social philosophy 1848
"The Negro Question" 1850 Fraser's Magazine
"Reform of the Civil Service" 1854
Dissertations and Discussions 1859
A Few Words on Non-intervention 1859
On Liberty 1859
'Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform 1859
Considerations on Representative Government 1861
"Centralisation" 1862 Edinburgh Review
"The Contest in America" 1862 Harper's Magazine
Utilitarianism 1863
An Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy 1865
Auguste Comte and Positivism 1865
Inaugural Address at St. Andrews Concerning the value of culture 1867
"Speech In Favor of Capital Punishment"[50][51] 1868
England and Ireland 1868
"Thornton on Labor and its Claims" 1869 Fortnightly Review
The Subjection of Women 1869
Chapters and Speeches on the Irish Land Question 1870
Nature, the Utility of Religion, and Theism 1874
Autobiography of John Stuart Mill 1873
Three Essays on Religion 1874
"Notes on N.W. Senior's Political Economy" 1945 Economica N.S. 12

See also[]

  • List of liberal theorists
  • Mill's Methods
  • On Social Freedom
  • Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom


  • Duncan Bell, "John Stuart Mill on Colonies," Political Theory, Vol. 38 (February 2010), pp. 34–64.
  • Brink, David O. (1992). "Mill's Deliberative Utilitarianism". Philosophy and Public Affairs 21: 67–103.
  • Clifford G. Christians and John C. Merrill (eds.) Ethical Communication: Five Moral Stances in Human Dialogue, Columbia, MO.: University of Missouri Press, 2009
  • George, Roger Z.; Kline, Robert D. (2006). Intelligence and the national security strategist: enduring issues and challenges. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-4038-5.
  • Adam Gopnik, "Right Again, The passions of John Stuart Mill," The New Yorker, 6 October 2008.
  • Harrington, Jack (2010). Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, Ch. 5. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.. ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1.
  • Sterling Harwood, "Eleven Objections to Utilitarianism," in Louis P. Pojman, ed., Moral Philosophy: A Reader (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 1998), and in Sterling Harwood, ed., Business as Ethical and Business as Usual (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996), Chapter 7, and in [2]
  • Samuel Hollander, The Economics of John Stuart Mill (University of Toronto Press, 1985)
  • Wendy Kolmar and Frances Bartowski. Feminist Theory. 2nd ed. New York: Mc Graw Hill, 2005.
  • Shirley Letwin, The Pursuit of Certainty (Cambridge University Press, 1965). Template:ISBN
  • Michael St. John Packe, The Life of John Stuart Mill, Macmillan (1952).
  • Carole Pateman, Participation and Democratic Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1970). Template:ISBN
  • Richard Reeves, John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand, Atlantic Books (2007), paperback 2008. Template:ISBN
  • Robinson, Dave & Groves, Judy (2003). Introducing Political Philosophy. Icon Books. Template:ISBN.
  • Frederick Rosen, Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill (Routledge Studies in Ethics & Moral Theory), 2003. Template:ISBN
  • Mark Philip Strasser, Moral Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, Longwood Academic (1991). Wakefield, New Hampshire. Template:ISBN
  • Chin Liew Ten, Mill on Liberty, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980, full-text online at Contents (National University of Singapore)
  • Dennis Thompson, John Stuart Mill and Representative Government (Princeton University Press, 1976). Template:ISBN
  • Dennis Thompson, "Mill in Parliament: When Should a Philosopher Compromise?" in J.S. Mill's Political Thought, eds. N. Urbinati and A. Zakaras (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Template:ISBN


  • Brink, David, "Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
  • Stuart Mill, Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, ed. J.M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963-1991), 33 vols. 3/14/2017.

Further reading[]

  • Alican, Necip Fikri (1994). Mill’s Principle of Utility: A Defense of John Stuart Mill’s Notorious Proof. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi B.V.. ISBN 978-90-518-3748-3.
  • Bayles, M. D. (1968). Contemporary Utilitarianism. Anchor Books, Doubleday.
  • Bentham, Jeremy (2009). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Dover Philosophical Classics). Dover Publications Inc.. ISBN 978-0486454528.
  • Brandt, Richard B. (1979). A Theory of the Good and the Right. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-824550-5.
  • Lyons, David (1965). Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism. Oxford University Press (UK). ISBN 978-0198241973.
  • Mill, John Stuart (2011). A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive (Classic Reprint). Forgotten Books. ISBN 978-1440090820.
  • Mill, John Stuart (1981). "Autobiography". In Robson, John. Collected Works, volume XXXI. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-7100-0718-3.
  • Moore, G.E. (1903). Principia Ethica. Prometheus Books UK. ISBN 0879754982.
  • Rosen, Frederick (2003). Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill. Routledge.
  • Scheffler, Samuel (August 1994). The Rejection of Consequentialism: A Philosophical Investigation of the Considerations Underlying Rival Moral Conceptions, Second Edition. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0198235118.
  • Smart, J. J. C.; Williams, Bernard (January 1973). Utilitarianism: For and Against. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521098229.


  1. Hyman, Anthony (1982). Charles Babbage: Pioneer of the Computer. Princeton University Press. pp. 120–21. "What effect did Babbages Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers have? Generally his book received little attention as it not greatly concerned with such traditional problems of economics as the nature of 'value'. Actually the effect was considerable, his discussion of factories and manufactures entering the main currents of economic thought. Here it must suffice to look briefly at its influence on two major figures; John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx"
  2. Friedrich Hayek (1941). "The Counter-Revolution of Science". Economica (Economica) 8 (31): 281–320. Template:Citation error. JSTOR 2549335.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The Project Gutenberg EBook of Autobiography, by John Stuart Mill" Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  4. Michael N. Forster, After Herder: Philosophy of Language in the German Tradition, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 9.
  5. John Stuart Mill (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  6. "John Stuart Mill's On Liberty". victorianweb. Retrieved 23 July 2009. "On Liberty is a rational justification of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state to impose unlimited control and is thus a defense of the rights of the individual against the state."
  7. "John Stuart Mill (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Leslie Stephen, "John Stuart Mill, Dictionary of National Biography 37. Wikisource, Web, June 29, 2017.
  10. Shermer, Michael (15 August 2002). In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History. Oxford University Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-19-992385-4.
  11. On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill, pp. 18–19.
  12. Mill, John Stuart "On Liberty" Penguin Classics, 2006 Template:ISBN pp. 90–91
  13. Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty, Harvard Classics: Volume 25, p. 258, PF Collier & Sons Company New York 1909
  14. Mill, John Stuart, "On Liberty" Penguin Classics, 2006 Template:ISBN pp. 10–11
  15. Mill, On Liberty, p.
  16. John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) "On Liberty" 1859. ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb, UK: Penguin, 1985, pp. 83–84
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Freedom of Speech, Volume 21, by Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred Dycus Miller, Jeffrey Paul
  18. John Stuart Mill. (1863). On Liberty. Ticknor and Fields. p. 23
  19. Schenck v. United States, 249 US 47 – Supreme Court 1919.
  20. George & Kline, 2006, p. 409.
  21. George & Kline, 2006, p. 410.
  22. J. S. Mill's Career at the East India Company
  23. David Theo Goldberg (2000) Liberalism's limits: Carlyle and Mill on "the negro question", Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22:2, 203–16, Template:Doi
  24. John Stuart Mill, Dissertations and Discussions: Political, Philosophical, and Historical (New York 1874) Vol. 3, pp. 252–53.
  25. The Negro Question, pp. 130–37. by John Stuart Mill.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Mill, J.S. (1869) The Subjection of Women, Chapter 1
  27. John Stuart Mill: critical assessments, Volume 4, By John Cunningham Wood
  28. Template:Citation
  29. Mill, John Stuart, Utilitarianism (Project Gutenberg online edition)
  30. Poetry, push pin and utility
  31. Mill 1906, p. 16
  32. [1] Template:Webarchive
  33. IREF | Pour la liberte economique et la concurrence fiscale (PDF) Template:Webarchive
  34. (Strasser,1991)
  35. Mill, John Stuart and Bentham, Jeremy edited by Ryan, Alan. (2004). Utilitarianism and other essays. London: Penguin Books. p. 11. ISBN 0-14-043272-8.
  36. Wilson, Fred (2007). "John Stuart Mill: Political Economy". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  37. Mill, John Stuart (1852). "On The General Principles of Taxation, V.2.14". Principles of Political Economy. Library of Economics and Liberty. (3rd edition; the passage about flat taxation was altered by the author in this edition, which is acknowledged in this online edition's footnote 8: "[This sentence replaced in the 3rd ed. a sentence of the original: 'It is partial taxation, which is a mild form of robbery.']")
  38. Ekelund, Robert B., Jr.; Hébert, Robert F. (1997). A history of economic theory and method (4th ed.). Waveland Press [Long Grove, Illinois]. p. 172. ISBN 1-57766-381-0.
  39. Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy, IV.7.21 John Stuart Mill: Political Economy, IV.7.21
  40. Thompson, Dennis. John Stuart Mill and Representative Government. Princeton University Press, 1976. Template:ISBN
  41. Letwin, Shirley. The Pursuit of Certainty. Cambridge University Press, 1965 (p. 306). Template:ISBN
  42. Pateman, Carole. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge University Press, 1970 (p. 28). Template:ISBN
  43. Thompson, Dennis. "Mill in Parliament: When Should a Philosopher Compromise?" in J.S. Mill's Political Thought, eds. N. Urbinati and A. Zakaras (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 166–99. Template:ISBN
  44. The Principles of Political Economy, Book 4, Chapter VI.
  45. "The early history of modern ecological economics Inge Røpke in Ecological Economics Volume 50, Issues 3–4, 1 October 2004". Ecological Economics 50: 293–314. Template:Citation error. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  46. John Stuart Mill's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments, by John Stuart Mill
  47. Nicholas Capaldi (12 January 2004). John Stuart Mill: A Biography. Cambridge University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-139-44920-5. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  48. Mill, John Stuart. Principles of Political Economy. p. 25.,%20Principles%20of%20Political%20Economy.pdf. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  49. Swainson, Bill (ed.) (2000). Encarta Book of Quotations. Macmillan. pp. 642–43. ISBN 0-312-23000-1.
  50. Hansard report of Commons Sitting: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT WITHIN PRISONS BILL— [BILL 36.] COMMITTEE stage: HC Deb 21 April 1868 vol 191 cc1033-63 including Mill's speech Col. 1047–1055
  51. His speech against the abolition of capital punishment was commented upon in an editorial in The Times, Wednesday, 22 April 1868; pg. 8; Issue 26105; col E:

External links[]

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