Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, contributed some of the most important ideas to early US political theory.
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A respected French political philosopher, Bertrand de Jouvenel examined a number of topics to do with power and the role of the state.
Immanuel Kant provided a systematic treatise of morality that, among other things, relied on reason, noninterference both of government and individuals, and peace.
Israel M. Kirzner is a noted economist of the Austrian School known most for his work on the role of entrepreneur in the market.
Frank H. Knight was an economist whose skeptical writings on economic planning and limited government informed the work of the Chicago School.
Étienne de La Boétie’s essay, the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, called for widespread civil disobedience and remains an influence on anarchism.
Rose Wilder Lane was an author and reporter who became one of the most prominent libertarian women writing in the 20th century.
Lao Tzu’s anticipatory work argued that a harmonious and prosperous society was one in which people could make their own economic and personal decisions.
Bartolome de Las Casas wrote detailed, sometimes propagandist, accounts of Spanish colonization of the Americas and fought for the rights of American Indians.
Robert LeFevre established educational programs and supported publications that aimed to spread and popularize libertarian ideas.
In his writings, William Leggett attacked government regulation of commerce and the rent-seeking behaviors of business.
John Locke’s work on natural rights, property, and the limits of just governments makes him a central philosopher among classical liberals.
Thomas Babington Macaulay was a powerful voice for classical liberal ideas, writing great historical volumes and political essays on individual freedoms.
With his electoral vote in 1972 and presidential campaign in 1976, Roger Lea MacBride expanded the influence of the Libertarian Party.
James Madison was instrumental in creating the values behind the United States Constitution, both as one of its primary authors and in his own writings.
Henry Sumner Maine was a legal scholar of the 1800s. His best-known work, Ancient Law, explained development of societal structure.
Bernard Mandeville’s controversial essays and allegories raised questions about justice and socially or morally virtuous actions.
George Mason was a Virginian statesman who decried the centralization of government authority and was one of the major supporters of a written Bill of Rights.