On Liberty is a philosophical work in the English language by 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill, first published in 1859. Composed just after the death of his wife, it is the culmination of part of a plan to record their entire philosophical conclusion. To the Victorian readers of the time it was a radical work, advocating moral and economic freedom of individuals from the state. Mill was not opposed to government intervention in economic affairs; as a liberal, he believed that while property owners' rights needed to be protected, the state also had a role to play in the redistribution of wealth.
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|OF THE LIBERTY OF THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION||31|
|OF INDIVIDUALITY AS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING||99|
|OF THE LIMITS TO THE AUTHORITY OF SOCIETY OVER THE INDIVIDUAL||134|
The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity.—Wilhelm von Humboldt: Sphere and Duties of Government.
To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and in part the author, of all that is best in my writings—the friend and wife whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest incitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward—I dedicate this volume. Like all that I have written for many years, it belongs as much to her as to me; but the work as it stands has had, in a very insufficient degree, the inestimable advantage of her revision; some of the most important portions having been reserved for a more careful re-examination, which they are now never destined to receive. Were I but capable of interpreting to the world one half the great thoughts and noble feelings which are buried in her grave, I should be the medium of a greater benefit to it, than is ever likely to arise from anything that I can write, unprompted and unassisted by her all but unrivalled wisdom.