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Table of Contents
Since Mill met Harriet Taylor, she became the main dominant influence of his writings and life (Jacobs, 2002). They worked together in On the Liberty essay where they argued on the sole principle that individuals should have their freedom to express what they think and want in speech and writing, to adopt and shape their own lifestyle as long when doing so they don’t harm others.
“The Negro Letter” is the anonymous letter that Stuart sent in 1850 to Thomas Carlye who defended slavery claiming that whites were superior by genetic formation or composition. He claimed that British ingenuity brought about the West Indies development and refuted all notions of Indebtedness to imported slaves used to develop the economy there. Mill was a major contributor to the slave trade debate that was going on in the USA to abolish slave trade.
On the subject of right of women, Taylor had more strict opinions than Mill. She argued that all public offices should be open to all and parents should provide equally to all children whether boys or girls. She was a critical of the rather degrading of women’s economic reliance on men. According to her independence could only be solved by reforms in the marriage institutions and laws governing it. Although Taylor and Mill were of the same view on equity, Mill was of the opinion that women should advocate for equity rather than independence.
In their article the enfranchisement of women, Mill and Taylor expressed than men and women have an equal claim on personal rights, property, opinions, suffrage and their democratic institutors base their foundation on the inherent right that everyone can raise his voice on the government. ). He argues that the liberation of women will bring progress to different fields due to the women input. It will also bring happiness due to the autonomy it will give the women.
Mill’s argument on the rights and subjection of women had a major influence on the rise of women activist in Europe during his time up to this day. Britain and the whole of Europe during those eras started to advocate for more equality of women. His arguments had a huge influence on economic and political reforms experienced in Europe in the 19th century. His contribution to the large debate on slavery greatly influenced abolition of slave trader in the United State of America. As the founder of modern socialism, Mill helped lay the foundation of public policy base on monitored advancement.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859), philosophical text was one of the most important philosophical works during the Victorian era. Many people then viewed on liberty essay as an enormous radical piece of philosophical work. The essay proposed major benefits and role of moral and economic freedom from the government or state. The essay came about during a time when most cultural and social theories were moving on opposite direction towards more assumption of power by the governing authority/state. The main basis of Mill’s On Liberty was on the importance of a person when facing tyranny of the majority which was a major character of early democracy.
A tyranny of the majority typically arises when the majority finds some feature of a minority objectionable and the majority decides to use their political power to restrict the minority in some way. Tyranny of the majority is a phrase Mill adapts from Tocqueville (Wootton, 1996). It is derived from the strict enforcement of rules governing a country or a community that are strongly adhered to by majority of people. In the beginning, this tyranny, as well as others, was and still is offensively and in dread operational all through the acts of public authorities. In most cases we perceive tyranny as a vice only the ruling party, government or politician may portray. However, the society itself may be the tyrant. This occurs when a community collectively disconnects itself from the persons who compose it and its manner of dictatorship is not limited to the acts which it may act on with the help of the political functionaries.
The society has the ability and often does implement its own directives; if wrong directives are carried out instead of the right ones, or if it interferes with things and issues it should not meddle in, then it commits a social tyranny more dreadful than any kind of political dictatorship. This often occurs when the majorities in a society are more popular than the minority. This is dreadful because the social tyranny committed has no escape route and everyone in that particular community is bound to it thereby enslaving everybody in the society. It is therefore clear that protection against normal tyranny on its own is not enough and there arises a need for protection against the popular opinion, view and judgment and also against imposing of actions by the majority of society. Collective opinion interferes with individual independence. However there is a limit to it and to maintain that limit against infringement is as crucial as protection from political autocracy.