John Stuart Mill on Classical Liberalism and Modern Liberalism

2119 Words Jun 13th, 2012 9 Pages
John Stuart Mill was a classical liberal thinker and believed, through the influence of his father, that man deserved to live a life that promoted the greatest amount of happiness with limited government intervention. Mill grew up with the belief that there was no God and therefore believed that man is born inherently good; government should be limited to allow individuals to make their own decisions from their inherently good instincts; economic freedom provided individuals with the protection of rights and promoted the ideology that Mill stood for most, Utilitarianism which highly influenced classical liberalism.
The philosophy of John Stuart Mill has influenced mankind and classical liberalism throughout history. John Stuart Mill, a
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He presumed that people had enough knowledge and discernment to make moral choices that they could live with. The individual and their personal reflection of right or wrong decided their moral standards. Mill also noted that people had a desire to be accepted by society and they have a fear of being disapproved. Mill believed government should intervene only when one individual may hurt another. People have the freedom to hold and express their own opinions, which would deny the government the ability to choose a majority over a minority. In this government their authority would be limited in its ability to intervene unless an individual was harming another.
To think that because those who wield power in society wield in the end that of government, therefore it is of no use to attempt to influence the constitution of the government by acting on opinion, is to forget that opinion is itself one of the greatest active social forces. One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.

Mill’s belief promotes that each individual’s opinion is important and therefore should be listened to by the government. The government would not be able to turn a blind eye to a minority; this is one of many influences on classical liberalism. In classical liberalism the government has limited say in the economy and ensures that everyone has the right to his or her freedom of opinion. An