Who is John Stuart Mill?
John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806, in London, England. He was mostly known for his radical views. For example, he preached sexual equality, divorce, universal suffrage, free speech, and proportional representation. He had many works of writings such as Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, The Subjections of Women, and the Three Essays of Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, and Theism.
John Mill was the eldest son of James Mill who was a philosopher, economist and a senior official in the East India Company. James educated John when he was young. His father taught him discipline, Greek at the age of three, history, languages, calculus, logic, political economy, geography, psychology, and rhetoric. At the age of twelve he was a competent logician and by the age of sixteen a well trained economist. (http://www.utilitarianism.com/jsmill.htm) His father believed that teaching children while they were young would have an ever lasting effect on them. The purpose of this push of education at a young age is because James thought that teaching John would have the chance of becoming a prophet of the utilitarian gospel. John had to eventually take his learning from his father and teach his eight younger brother and sisters the same material.
Around the age of sixteen, John created a Utilitarian Society, which had the goal of bringing happiness to the greatest number of people, where he was one of a “small knot of young men” who practiced his father’s political and philosophical views. (http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/milljs.htm) At the age of twenty-one he suffered a mental breakdown, which resulted from severe strain from his earlier years. In his own autobiography, which was later published after his death, he wrote, that he was in a “dull state of nerves”; and that he had lost his charm. He said he had “no delight in virtue, or the general good, but also just as little in anything else.” After several months he realized that his emotions where not dried up and “the cloud gradually drew off.” In 1823 John took a clerkship position in the Examiner’s Office at the East India Company. Later he eventually headed that department. Harriet Taylor who was a close friend with John co-wrote several pieces of work with him. They met in 1830 and she was the mother of three children. Sharing this intimate relationship and not being able to pursue it because Harriet was married, led to the view of the legal right to divorce shared by both of them. They eventually married in 1851, when her husband died.
During John’s lifetime one of his most controversial works was On Liberty. It was an essay on the feelings he and his wife had, “that they lived in a society where bold and adventurous individuals were becoming all too rare.” (http://www.utilitarianism.com/jsmill.htm) Many critics believed that Mill was way ahead of his time not...