Saturday, 8 May 2010

On this day...

British philosopher John Stuart Mill died in 1873, at the age of 66. Mill endured a rigorous education, partly assisted by fellow thinker Jeremy Bentham, and at a young age was confident in both classical and contemporary literature. In accordance with the wishes of his father, Mill studied political economy from the age of 13, but by 20 the intensive workload had taken its toll, and he suffered a nervous breakdown and subsequent depression - a state that he overcame with the help of Wordsworth's poetry.

Refusing to enter Cambridge or Oxford University due to their Anglican principles, Mill instead followed his father's imperialist doctrine, and enter the East India Company. His marriage, to Harriet Taylor, cemented his advocacy of of women's rights, and indeed his political views were often contentious for the era in which he lived. A committed Libertarian, and a keen proponent of utilitarianism, Mill coined the concept 'tyranny of the majority', and argued for individual freedom, forming the main pillars of modern Liberal Democrat beliefs. Some of Mill's most famous writings on the subject, includes; 'On Liberty', 'Utilitarianism', 'Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform', and 'The Subject of Women'.

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