Individualism And Liberty By John Stuart Mill

1196 Words Sep 9th, 2016 5 Pages
In the essay, Liberty, written by John Stuart Mill, Mill states that individualism is the theory that “[o]ver himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign” (7). Before coming to this conclusion, Mill first explains that individualism and liberty were defined in ways far different from definitions now and that true individualism did not exist until later in history. It takes him several paragraphs and even chapters to finally suggest that a man, by himself, is free to do what he choices, and even then he still explores the idea as if he questions his own belief, even spending a great deal of time deciding on what the more accurate definition is and what the limits to this freedom need be. By the end of his work, John Stuart Mill answers his questions of individualism and limits by suggesting that “[o]ver himself, over his own body and mind the individual is sovereign” (7), however, he or she “must not make himself a nuisance to other people”(Mill 36). In the “Introduction” of Liberty, Mill suggests that since people evolve from past events, whether personal or universal, the definition of individualism and or liberty constantly changes. In other words, an event reveals a new sense of individualism not yet seen in that time period, by that person, or by that society. Mill illustrates this idea by stating that “the struggle between liberty and authority is the most conspicuous feature of the parts of history of which we have the oldest records”, meaning…
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