John Stuart Mill Quotes

John Stuart Mill (1806 –1873) was a British philosopher and political economist. He was the oldest son of James Mill, Scottish economist, historian and philosopher, who had a great influence on John Stuart’s education.

John Stuart Mill made great contributions to political economy, political theory and social theory. He was one of the most important English philosophers of the 19th century. Mill was a proponent of Bentham’s “utilitarianism” and liberal political philosophy.

John Stuart Mill Quotes

In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

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.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

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. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 1

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded, and the amount of eccentricity in a society has been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 3

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

— John Stuart Mill, “The Contest in America,” Fraser’s Magazine (February 1862)

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 to impede their efforts to obtain it.

— John Stuart Mill

At a time when most movements that are thought to be progressive advocate further encroachments on individual liberty, those who cherish freedom are likely to expend their energies in opposition. In this they find themselves much of the time on the same side as those who habitually resist change.

— John Stuart Mill, Why I Am Not a Conservative

One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.

— John Stuart Mill, On Representative Government (1861)

A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another.

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)