John Stuart Mill was a great political thinker who lived in the 19th century. His contributions in the political world of his time were well documented and formed a great part of political movements during his times. J.S. Mill lived at a time when the world was undergoing several changes brought about by the effects of industrialization. The emergence of the middle class people brought about several changes politically making it difficult for industrialization to continue. J.S. Mill was born of James Mill a Utilitarian thinker in 1806. His father raised him with proper education in a controlled environment. However, his experiences as a 20 year old would change his life forever as they turned him into a great intellectual that has inspired lives ever since.
John started concentrating more on the quality of life and this led to him focusing more on liberty and the threats posed by the spread of general power and statism. He looked at individualism not just as a method of analysis but as a commitment to a scale of values. He viewed the society not just as a place where one fulfilled his desires but as an element for safeguarding and advancing of individual growth.
In the year 1859, J.S. Mill wrote his works on liberty that focused on the worth of sovereignty and the better relations between an individual and the society. This work aimed at elaborating and defending a principle so as to build “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” (page 59). He recognized that it was necessary to apply some regulation and interference in the lives of others. He explained this point this way. “The principle is that the sole end for which mankind is 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.” (Page 68)
Mill argued that there should be a proper liberal democracy to relieve people from the perils of statism. He advocated for a representative system of government where there are deputies that represent the views of the community. He was adamant at the creation of a voting system that would recognize the educated in the society so as to reduce the effects of the working class’ mob rule.’ John Stuart Mill’s works on liberty looks at the anxieties and engagements of social democrats in the 20th century. He advocated for a Utilitarian solution to the problems that is to have a government run by professionals. This is seen in his writings, “the acquired knowledge and practiced intelligence of a specially trained and experienced few.” (Considerations, p241)
Mills also thought about the place of women in the society. In his works of 1869, Mill asserted that the increase of rights on the basis politics had snubbed almost half of the population (women). He claimed that any society that wished to protect its liberty had to allow all to participate in the politics regardless of gender. He also claimed their societies remained poor simply because a large population had been overlooked. “Every restraint on the freedom of conduct of any of the human fellow creaturesdries up..the principle foundation of human happiness, and leaves the species less rich, to an inappreciable degree, in all that makes life valuable to the individual human being” (Subjection, pp101).
MILL, J. S. (1990). On liberty. Raleigh, N.C., Alex Catalogue. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1085953.
MILL, J. S. (1990). The subjection of women. Raleigh, N.C., Alex Catalogue. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1085955.
MILL, J. S. (1990). Utilitarianism. Raleigh, N.C., Alex Catalogue. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1085956.