John Stuart Mill “The Subjection of Women” (1869)

MillIn 1869, four years after the conclusion of the American Civil War and, on the other side of the Atlantic, a year after John Stuart Mill finished his tenure as a member of the British Parliament, Mill published The Subjection of Women, a philosophical volley and contribution to the history of ideas for the ages, specifically those toward individual human rights. To be short, Mill knew his languages and philosophers as well. In his opening remarks of his polemic that speaks toward the rights of women, he said,

…I have held from the very earliest period when I had formed any opinions at all on social or political matters, and which, instead of being weakened or modified, has been constantly growing stronger by the progress of reflection and the experience of life: That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes — the legal subordination of one sex to the other — is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.

 


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