The John Stuart Mill's theory of rights emphasizes individual liberties, by harm principle, permitting actions.if harmful.

What is John Stuart Mill’s theory of rights?

Introduction  –

The John Stuart Mill’s theory of rights emphasizes individual liberties, guided by harm principle, permitting actions unless they harm other. We will try to know John Stuart Mill thoughts through this article. In which we will see what their thoughts were about democracy and what is the freedom of speech. We will try to know about John Stuart Mill, one of the great philosophical intellectuals who had an impact on modern democracy.

The period in which John Stuart Mill was born was the era of the end of the monarchy and the Industrial Revolution, the influence of Western thinkers all over the world. European countries were traveling the whole world through vassalism and trade and were increasing their economic trade with capitalism.

John Stuart Mill’s ideas for the future, were given important parameters of democracy, including the ideology of “freedom of speech” and “representative democracy” which influenced the whole world, and after the Second World War, monarchy and vassalism gradually ended and The foundation of democracy was laid.

How effective this democracy has proved to be for the common people is a matter of contemplation, but the end of the exploitative system of monarchy has been possible due to the ideological revolution of western thinkers.

John Stuart Mill (1806 -1873) –

His father was himself a philosophical philosopher who worked for East India in British India and was of a very disciplined nature. Under whose influence his education was completed and at a very young age he read many thinkers of the world and studied many languages. In his young age, he suffered from depression and after emerging from it, he got a new direction in his thinking, from which he put his famous theories in front of the world.

His main area of ​​study has been history, but while he was studying, he later started reading Latin and Greek literature, from which he read the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, from which he further put forward his political and social theories which have been very important.

Sir Samuel Bentham, who was the brother of the famous philosopher Jeremy Bentham and lived in France, spent some time with John Stuart Mill, who had been a good friend of his father. He got to know Jeremy Bentham’s study very closely and how he studies had a deep impact on him. Due to which later he considered him as his role model and supported his idea.

Philosophy of John Stuart Mill –

John Stuart Mill considered Jeremy Bentham as his ideal and supported his utilitarianism theory, but later he rejected this idea and put some new theories in front of the society, for which he gave the example of Socrates and said Utilitarianism should not be seen only in numbers, it should also be seen in value.

He put the importance of freedom of speech in front of the people and explained how it benefits the society. For this, the example of Galileo and Copernicus is given, if the society had agreed to both of them, then the damage done to the society would not have happened, so they believed that there should be liberal ideas in the society, so that the thinking ability of the society is developed. .

He supported representative democracy, but he was strongly against it that all people should have the right to vote. Because he believed that it is necessary to have political and social understanding in a representative democracy. He believed that there should be A representative democracy in western countries, but he believed that democracy could not run in Africa and Asian countries.

He has been a supporter of feminism and his wife has been a great influence on him and together they have written many books. He wanted to give equal rights to women and he took the initiative to give place to women in politics. But some of his principles of feminism later faced a lot of criticism, in which he believed that women would have to do all these things by handling the household.

Jermy Bentham’s Utilitarianism & John Stuart Mill  –

Jeremy Bentham’s theory of utilitarianism was based on “what is happiness and what is sorrow” in which people want to avoid suffering and seek happiness. That is why he believed that any state should work for the society keeping this principle in front. In this interpretation, he used to explain happiness on the basis of the number, which the more happiness will be found in the life of a person, the more society should be considered as an ideal society.

The famous philosopher Thomas Carlyle has been a strong opponent of what he calls the “pig theory”, i.e. pig finds pleasure in filth, does it mean happiness? So he put forward the ethics of happiness, which John Stuart Mill had been in support of Bentham’s theory in his early days.

John Stuart Mill later completely changed Bentham’s theory and put utilitarianism in front of the world in a new way by giving the example of Socrates on the basis of morality and rejected outright the ideas of those whom he considered as his ideal.

John Stuart Mill & Liberty Theory

Every person in the society should have the freedom to think differently, even if it is wrong, because Mill believed that by having the freedom to think, people would put forward their views, discuss them and reach any conclusion by consensus. If the right to have an idea is not given, then it will harm the society, for this he gives the example of Copernicus and Galileo.

He gives importance to the interest of the society and the interest of the individual, it seems very common to hear this thing today, but when he first put this idea in front of the world, it was quite a revolutionary idea. He believed that we should accept what is important in the interest of the individual as well as the society.

It is very important to have liberal thinking in the society, otherwise he believed that any one ideology can harm the society. Having different thinking develops our thinking power and dictatorial ideology harms the society, so he put the principle of Freedom of Speech in front of the world.

Representative Government –

European philosophers Voltaire, John Locke and John Stuart Mill laid the foundation of modern democracy, in which the idea of ​​representative government, Mill put it very closely in front of the world, so that the monarchy and the feudalism before that was demolished by the ideology of these people. One vote one value has been opposed by John Stuart Mill.

While explaining representative democracy, he says, he believed that the intelligentsia of the society would choose their representative government to run in a democracy. He has been in support for the right of women and employees to vote, but for democracy, it is necessary to have a civilized society. He believed that representative democracy could not run in Africa and Asian countries.

There should be two houses in a representative democracy, in which at that time the House of Lord was run by the elected representative of the British polity, who he believed should be experts and intellectuals. The system of Rajya Sabha that we see today was the result of his ideology, whose importance he understood for democracy and monarchy.

John Stuart Mill’s Definition of Minority

Generally, in our system, the majority and minority, this system is dynastic or casteist, but John Stuart Mill’s interpretation of minority was to believe that it would be the intelligentsia of the society. The taxpayer and the elite class have remained and that will be called minority and they have given importance to freedom of speech and individual freedom to protect their rights in a democracy.

Because generally in a democracy, those who are more in number, their ideas, propose dominance over the society, whether it is right or wrong, so they believed that freedom of thought keeps the society liberal and monopoly protects the rights and the rights of the society.

He was strongly against the system of electing representatives on the basis of numbers, because he believed that in this system the right representatives are not elected in reality. Because the people who have voted and their elected representatives are not elected on the basis of the number, this is a way to end the right of voting.

Women’s Rights and John Stuart Mill  –

Women should get the right to vote, for this she took the initiative and started a movement in the British Parliament. He was the first intellectual and the person who said that women should get equal rights and said that they should be given equal status.

At that time, his ideas were very revolutionary for the women, in which there was a period of industrial revolution where women were going out to work and there were many restrictions on women in the society, so they raised the demand for equality, in which the most influence was that of his wife. Who was an intellectual woman and was working together in his writings.

In the last days of his life, he had kept half of his wealth for the education of women, for this he had made a wheel, which was done after his death. The scope of his feminism has been this intellectual class, so he is criticized a lot.

Political Economy & John Stuart Mill –

John Stuart Mill’s economics are highly appreciated in the world and political economy, which today’s modern thinkers call macroeconomics, studied a lot on it, in which philosophers like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and David Ricardo have had a lot of parts.

He believed that production is very important in the economy and the capacity of production is necessary for the development of the economy in the market, he believed that and for this, the state / government should play a very important role in this.

His ideas of economics have been very similar to that of Adam Smith, but the Adam Smith government should only be nominal, which will work to cooperate between the customer and the capitalist. John Stuart Mill places great emphasis on this society and seeks to maintain a balance between capitalism and society.

Features of John Stuart Mill’s Philosophy –

  • There should be freedom of different ideas in the society, whether it is right or wrong, which gives some good ideas for the society.
  • There should be a representative government, which only the intelligentsia of the society should have the right to choose.
  • The interpretation of his minority was not like the traditional interpretation of today, he believed that the intellectuals of the society considered it to be an important capital of the society, so he believed that the state should be alert for their safety.
  • He used to criticize the voting system a lot, he believed that one vote, one value, through this system, the people whom the society wants to choose its representatives, they do not get elected, instead we have to choose the representatives of the party who choose them.
  • He believed that representative democracy is not a suitable polity for African and Asian countries.
  • The interest of the society is considered to be more important than the interest of the individual, so he told about what would be the morality and for the benefit of the society, the individual could be obstructed, he believed that.

Critical Analysis of John Stuart Mill’s Philosophy –

  • He first tried to defend Bentham’s suitability and later modified it, in a way that he rejected outright views of what he considered ideal.
  • John Stuart Mill was a feminist, but his views only discussed about the rights of upper class women, he did not say anything about the rights of other women of the society, it was believed by many intellectuals.
  • Modern feminists see a flaw in their feminism, in which women should be given equal attention both at home and outside, this idea is not consistent with equality.
  • He has been an opponent of this principle, one vote, one value, he believed that society which is not civilized like European countries, this principle cannot run in such countries, so socialist thinkers criticize him a lot.
  • His political economics is in line with capitalist ideology.
  • Critics believed that he only keeps his views for the rights of the intellectual minority people.

Literature of John Stuart Mill –

  • Consideration on Representative Government (1861)
  • Essay on some Unsettled questions of Political Economy (1844)
  • On Liberty (1859)
  • Principles of Political Economy (1848)
  • A System of Logic (1843)
  • Three Essays on Religions (1874)
  • Utilitarianism (1863)

John Stuart Mill – Famous Quote of John Stuart Mill –

  • A person can harm another without doing the work, bad behavior as harmful as it is, not doing anything and keeping silent is responsible for any damage it may cause.
  • I have learned to limit my desires, not to fulfill all my desires.
  • If any Religion is in majority, but wrong and some Religion is in minority, but right, then we should choose the truth according to that for the good of the society and not the truth according to the numbers.
  • Society should have the right to criticize openly whether it is right or wrong, it benefits the society and not harm.
  • The desire of the people is strong, that’s why they do bad things, it’s not like that, that person’s conscience is weak, that’s why he does bad things.
  • The Reformist Party and the Monopolist Party in political power are the hallmarks of it being a health state.
    No one can be considered a great thinker unless he bases his thoughts on the reason.

Conclusion –

In this way we have seen the influence of John Stuart Mill on European politics and economics. We have seen here all the theories of John Stuart Mill and tried to analyze them. We have also seen the criticism of the ideas of John Stuart Mill and in a way we have seen the flaws in his philosophy.

Many of his ideas were very controversial, in which the most important idea was that he could not establish democracy in India, for this a civilized society is needed. In India this number is very less and people do not even know what democracy is, so the chances of wrong people taking power in their hands are high.

He believed that only European developed countries were capable of running a representative democracy. We have tried to present his literature for you. We have given here for you the famous quotes said by him, which makes his thoughts mainly understandable for you.


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