Analysis Of John Stuart Mill 's On Liberty Essay

1516 Words Dec 8th, 2016 7 Pages
In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill outlines his unique political theory based on the liberty of men in society. His argument stands out because it is not typical social contract theory. It does not begin by examining men in the state of nature, it does not outline an ideal government structure, and the contract itself is vague, though not without a purpose. Mill establishes a social contract through the unconventional means of the “harm principle.” Through it he creates an agreement among men in a society to not harm each other in pursuit of their liberties. It binds citizens together to work for the greater good by pursuing their own interests. This principle applies to the harms seen among women in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In her account, she describes the applied weakness of women by the men in society. In this case, the “harm principle” is not in place between the sexes, so women gain none of its benefits. Mill’s “harm principle” provides a social contract in a society that would ease the harms done to women described by Wollstonecraft. The “harm principle” defined by Mill does not follow the same structure of the established social contract theories. He does not take the time to explain inequality or equality among men and his opinions on their reasons. He does not outline an ideal government for the benefit of his society, though he does seem to approve of the system in the United States. Mill leaves room for interpretation and for…

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