Mill, On Liberty, quotes

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Chapter one. Intro.

There is a struggle between liberty and authority. Quote. “The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar..”


Liberty. Quote.“By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers.”

Authority. Quote. “The rulers were conceived… as in a necessarily antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest..”

Quote. “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.”


2 Limits to power.

Liberty or rights. Quote. “obtaining a recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe, and which if he did infringe, specific resistance, or general rebellion, was held to be justifiable.”


Constitutional checks. Quote. “constitutional checks, by which the consent of the community… was made a necessary condition.”


Tyranny of the prevailing opinion. Quote. “It was now perceived that such phrases as ‘self-government,’ and ‘the power of the people over themselves,’ do not express the true state of the case… The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority…”


Quote. “It leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough: there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling…”


One simple principle. Quote. “That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are 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 civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”


Quote. “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”


Quote. “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”


Grounded on utility. Quote. “I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of a man as a progressive being.”


Quote. “experiments of living”


Quote. “The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”


Quote. “Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”



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