A guide to books on the history of liberty and libertarianism.
Raised from a young age to continue the philosophical tradition of Benthamite utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill contributed to philosophy of science and ethics.
H. L. Mencken, the “Sage of Baltimore,” was a journalist, satirist, and iconoclast.
Smith begins his in-depth examination of Spencer’s fundamental objection to the private ownership of land.
John Locke was an Enlightenment philosopher who developed a social contract theory of natural rights and government.
In this excerpt from Libertarianism: A Primer, Boaz tells the history of the movement for liberty, from to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu through the 20th century.
Rose Wilder Lane, journalist and author, was one of the founding mothers of modern American libertarianism.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a prominent activist in the civil rights movement, a spectacular orator, and a practitioner of nonviolent resistance.
Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States.
Robert A. Heinlein wrote great science fiction stories with libertarian themes.
Hugo Grotius, a 17th century Dutch legal scholar and philosopher, was the father of modern international law and a staunch opponent of war.
William Lloyd Garrison was America’s most prominent abolitionist.
Milton Friedman was an economist, public intellectual, and activist. He was one of the 20th century’s leading voices for liberty.
Founding father, scientist, businessman, diplomat—Franklin was America’s original “self-made man.”
Charles James Fox was a member of Parliament and champion of the cause of liberty.
Lord Acton was a 19th century politician, historian, and writer best remembered for his commentary on the corrupting influence of power.
Smith discusses some criticisms by Auberon Herbert and Thomas Hodgskin of Spencer’s position on land.
In this essay, collected in What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1911), Sumner denounces busybody social reformers who want to run other people’s lives.
In this piece, collected in Sumner argues that democracy is especially vulnerable to plutocratic influence. Originally published in The Independent.
Sumner defines and distinguishes the concepts of democracy and plutocracy. Originally published in The Independent.
Smith explains and criticizes two more of Spencer’s arguments against private property in land.
Goldman continues describing the individual’s relation to the state, and examines the rise of totalitarian governments in the wake of the Great Depression.
In this excerpt from an 1883 speech, Sumner discusses the nature of liberty and the implications of the transition from a status-based society to one based on contract.
Smith explains Herbert Spencer’s fundamental objection to the private ownership of land.
Smith discusses the mutual misunderstandings of Spencer and George, and George’s effective criticism of Spencer’s weak defense of private property.