On Liberty | Study Guide

John Stuart Mill

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "On Liberty Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Oct. 2017. Web. 19 Aug. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-Liberty/>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, October 25). On Liberty Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 19, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-Liberty/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "On Liberty Study Guide." October 25, 2017. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-Liberty/.


Course Hero, "On Liberty Study Guide," October 25, 2017, accessed August 19, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-Liberty/.


On Liberty infographic thumbnail


John Stuart Mill

Year Published






At a Glance

Since its publication in 1859 On Liberty has become a foundational text providing philosophical justification for governance in liberal capitalist democracies. Mill lays out a series of principles, of which individual liberty is the paramount concern, and around which societies should be organized. Mill contrasts the principles and practice of individual liberty to both state tyranny and the "tyranny of the majority," which cannot be overcome by simple democratic checks on autocratic power. The essay progresses from a defense of freedom of thought, to broader individual liberty, and finally considers where proper checks on individual liberty can be placed. Continuously in print, the work is a foundation of liberal thought, and Mill has remained the most important philosopher of liberalism.

About the Title

On Liberty is a general philosophical defense of political liberalism, in which Mill argues individual freedom is the bedrock of proper social organization. The title, On Liberty, is meant to show that Mill's work is both philosophical and scientific and that its content will cover the core principle of Enlightenment liberalism, freedom and liberty.


This study guide and infographic for John Stuart Mill's On Liberty offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from Amazon.com
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about On Liberty? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!