Chapter 12-Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill
-After the death of Taylor, Mill wrote his autobiography and of her major influence on his work.
Most people thought this was just conjecture but many realised, some before the autobiography
publication, that she radically changed and influenced Mill.
-Taylor married young to a man who shared her Unitarian dissenter religion and give asylum to
foreign refugees from tyrannical London.
-Taylor, through her husband, became part of the elite circle headed by William John Fox the
most prominent of Unitarians who wrote for/owned the Monthly Repository.
-After recovering from the birth of her second son Taylor spoke to Fox about philosophical
issues. Fox then introduced Taylor to Mill who shared Taylors views and understood her
-After her 3 child Taylor began writing regularly for the Monthly Repository as well as Mill.
Mill was her teacher and they both focused on how people thought no the particular content.
-Taylor inspired Mills The Subjection of Women and On Liberty and he gave her full credit for
-Taylor helped revise Mills Political Economy. She noted that he seemed to support the
bourgeois in that they could have mansions the poor could never dream to reach. She suggested a
chapter on self-enhancement for the poor which Mill wrote verbatim in his book.
-Mill tried to dedicate Political Economy to Taylor but her husband didnt really like that. When
Mr. Taylor died Taylor married Mill and he felt inadequate intellectually.
-Mill and Taylor both suffered from TB and upon their pending death wrote a series of essays
and of most importance The Autobiography which would be the first piece with both their names
on even though Taylor dictated, some parts, and revised all of Mills famous works.
The Subjection of Women
-Basically wanted to logically argue for the equality of both sexes.
-Theory of subjection of women is based on might is right and that women are a primitive
form of slaves and that when slavery was abolished it was simply the slavery of man.
-Overcoming oppression has always required resistance and rebellion.
-Women are worse off than other slaves because they are not kept inferior because of fear but
they are expected to be willing slaves. Women from an early age are conditioned to be weak,
submissive and connected to their man.
-The democratic society allowed men to move into high positions but kept women in the home.
Mills argued that we could never devise what is natural for the sexes until women and men were
-Marriage is the meeting of two equals and should be based on mutual love and respect not the
domination and obedience of one Mills believed. But sadly real life left men with all the legal
power and women with none.
-It was believed that if women naturally could not do something no amount of freedom could
help them. Mills believed women should be allowed any occupation because they were shown to
use social institutions to the same capacity of men.
-Women were underrepresented in areas they had been allowed e.g. arts so do that mean women
were inferior? Mo they just didnt have a chance to establish themselves yet. Women writers felt
the need to write under male pseudonyms.On Liberty
-To prevent the stronger members of society from preying on the weaker a ruler must be set in
place. Liberty is defined as the limitation of the rulers power by noble elites.
-Terms such as self-government do not reflect reality but that the will of the majority this is a
problem for minorities.
-Collectivist was valued over the individual. Mills said that it was unjust to silence one
-Liberty is not just the free expression of opinion but also the freedom to act upon the opinions.
However, actions that harm others it is justified to interfere.
-Idea that as people develop their individuality they become more valuable to themselves and
thus to others. Women included.
-Objections to government interference; 1) Something needs to be done for the benefit of
themselves it is best to be done by the individual, 2)This strengthens their own mental education
if they do it themselves, 3)letting the government do it adds unnecessary power to them.
Excerpt from the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
-The State rises in response to keep classes in check but at the same time this happens the state
exploits the lower classes.
-Sometimes it happens that each class becomes equally balanced that the two competing classes
become independent of the state. Monarchy of the 17 and 18 century was in such a balance
and put the proletariat against the bourgeoisie with the state being pretty much removed.
-The state is the possessing classs puppets and are used as a protection against the non-
possessing class. Possession is often based on property