subjection of women - Mill On the Subjection of Women I 1...

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Mill, On the Subjection of Women I 1. Mill says at the beginning of his essay that “the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes — the legal subordination of one sex to the other — is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and . . . it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.” FitzJames Stephen, a conservative legal scholar, replied that “ . . . the actually existing generation of women do not dislike their position. The consciousness of this haunts Mr Mill throughout the whole of his argument, and embarrasses him at every turn. His driven to account for it by such assertions as that ‘each individual of the subject class is in a chronic state of bribery and intimidation combined.’” Explain Mill’s argument and Stephens’s objection. How will Mill respond? 2. Mill says that “the opinion in favour of the present system, which entirely subordinates the weaker sex to the stronger, rests upon theory only; for there never has been trial made of any other: so that experience, in the sense in which it is vulgarly opposed to theory, cannot be pretended to have pronounced any verdict.” Explain. 3. Ch. 1: Laws and systems of polity always begin by recognising the relations they find already existing between individuals. They convert what was a mere physical fact into a legal
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