Mill Essay On Liberty

Additionally, these nonconformists challenge social complacency, and keep society from stagnating. In his first chapter, Mill provides a brief overview of the meaning of liberty.He also introduces his basic argument in favor of respecting liberty, to the degree it does not harm anybody else.

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It appeared to them much better that the various magistrates of the State should be their tenants or delegates, revocable at their pleasure.

In that way alone, it seemed, could they have complete security that the powers of government would never be abused to their disadvantage.

Mill justifies the value of liberty through a Utilitarian approach.

His essay tries to show the positive effects of liberty on all people and on society as a whole.

To the first of these modes of limitation, the ruling power, in most European countries, was compelled, more or less, to submit.

It was not so with the second; and to attain this, or when already in some degree possessed, to attain it more completely, became everywhere the principal object of the lovers of liberty.His next two chapters detail why liberty of opinion and liberty of action are so valuable.His fourth chapter discusses the appropriate level of authority that society should have over the individual.By degrees, this new demand for elective and temporary rulers became the prominent object of the exertions of the popular party, wherever any such party existed; and superseded, to a considerable extent, the previous efforts to limit the power of rulers.As the struggle proceeded for making the ruling power emanate from the periodical choice of the ruled, some persons began to think that too much importance had been attached to the limitation of the power itself.His fifth chapter looks at particular examples and applications of the theory, to clarify the meaning of his claims.Mill's essay has been criticized for being overly vague about the limits of liberty, for placing too much of an emphasis on the individual, and for not making a useful distinction between actions that only harm oneself, and actions that harm others.They consisted of a governing One, or a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest; who, at all events, did not hold it at the pleasure of the governed, and whose supremacy men did not venture, perhaps did not desire, to contest, whatever precautions might be taken against its oppressive exercise.Their power was regarded as necessary, but also as highly dangerous; as a weapon which they would attempt to use against their subjects, no less than against external enemies.The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar, particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England.But in old times this contest was between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government.


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