On Liberty & Utilitarianism

On Liberty & Utilitarianism

Wordsworth Editions Ltd

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John Stuart Mill (1806 1873) is the most important of Britain s nineteenth-century philosophers. His writings and activities were many and varied. The works reprinted in this volume were first published during a particularly prolific ten-year span, from 1859 to 1869. "On Liberty "(1859), "Considerations on Representative Government" (1861), "Utilitarianism" (1863), and "The Subjection of Women" (1869) are four of his most famous works; they are central pillars on which Mill s high reputation rests. Also included for the light they shed on Mill and his times are two of his lesser-known works The Contest in America (1862), written in the context of the American Civil War; and his erudite but accessible "Inaugural Address Delivered to the University of St Andrews" (1867).

Mill contributed to several contemporary debates, including ones about where to draw the proper boundaries between the liberty of the individual on one hand and the security of the state on the other. Living as we do in a world where those boundaries continue to be tested and contested, Mill s timeless writings are of no less value to us today than they were to those who read them when they were first published.


John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, politician and economist most famous for his contributions to the theory of utilitarianism. The author of numerous influential political treatises, Mill s writings on liberty, freedom of speech, democracy and economics have helped to form the foundation of modern liberal thought. His 1859 work, On Liberty, is particularly noteworthy for helping to address the nature and limits of the power of the state over the individual. Mills has become one of the most influential figures in nineteenth-century philosophy, and his writings are still widely studied and analyzed by scholars. Mills died in 1873 at the age of 66.

Mark G. Spencer is Associate Professor of History at Brock University, Canada, and has published widely in the fields relating to the American Enlightenment.

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