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Mill - 1 ON LIBERTY 2 by 3 JOHN STUART MILL 4 1860 5...

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ON LIBERTY 1 by 2 JOHN STUART MILL 3 1860 4 Harvard Classics Volume 25 5 Copyright 1909 P.F. Collier & Son 6 7 8 9 CHAPTER I 10 INTRODUCTORY 11 T HE subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the 12 misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits 13 of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. A question 14 seldom stated, and hardly ever discussed, in general terms, but which profoundly influences the 15 practical controversies of the age by its latent presence, and is likely soon to make itself 16 recognized as the vital question of the future. It is so far from being new, that, in a certain sense, 17 it has divided mankind, almost from the remotest ages, but in the stage of progress into which the 18 more civilized portions of the species have now entered, it presents itself under new conditions, 19 and requires a different and more fundamental treatment. 20 The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of 21 history with which we are earliest familiar, particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England. 22 But in old times this contest was between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the 23 government. By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers. The 24 rulers were conceived (except in some of the popular governments of Greece) as in a necessarily 25 antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or a 26 governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest; who, at all 27 events, did not hold it at the pleasure of the governed, and whose supremacy men did not 28 venture, perhaps did not desire, to contest, whatever precautions might be taken against its 29 oppressive exercise. Their power was regarded as necessary, but also as highly dangerous; as a 30 weapon which they would attempt to use against their subjects, no less than against external 31 enemies. To prevent the weaker members of the community from being preyed upon by 32 innumerable vultures, it was needful that there should be an animal of prey stronger than the rest, 33 commissioned to keep them down. But as the king of the vultures would be no less bent upon 34 preying upon the flock than any of the minor harpies, it was indispensable to be in a perpetual 35 attitude of defence against his beak and claws. The aim, therefore, of patriots, was to set limits to 36
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the power which the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community; and this limitation 37 was what they meant by liberty. It was attempted in two ways. First, by obtaining a recognition 38 of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach 39 of duty in the ruler to infringe, and which, if he did infringe, specific resistance, or general 40 rebellion, was held to be justifiable. A second, and generally a later expedient, was the 41
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