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Biographical

Paine, Thomas (1737-1809)

by David Fitzsimons

Thomas Paine was a political agitator who wrote to empower people to replace their existing tyrannical governments with liberal republics.

Biographical

Paterson, Isabel (1886-1961)

by Stephen Cox

Isabel Paterson was one of the first well-known libertarian women of her era. She wrote in avid support of minimal government and the free economy.

Biographical

Paul, Ron (1935-)

by David Boaz

Ron Paul was the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and is a public figure who has helped bring libertarianism to political attention.

Biographical

Popper, Karl (1902-1994)

by Jeremy Shearmur

Karl Popper’s theory of knowledge and writings on social philosophy helped to shape much of today’s methodology of social science.

Biographical

Posner, Richard A. (1939-)

by Aaron Steelman

Richard A. Posner is a judge and legal theorist whose work was the foundation for the law and economics movement, which approaches law through economics.

Biographical

Pound, Roscoe (1870-1964)

by Stephen B. Presser

Roscoe Pound was an influential legal scholar whose “sociological jurisprudence” approach tried to adjust the law to better match social realities. 

Biographical

Price, Richard (1723-1791)

by Wendy McElroy

Richard Price was a British philosopher who supported American Independence and the French Revolution and whose work focused on reason in ethics.

Biographical

Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1809-1865)

by Aaron Steelman

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, self-described both as an anarchist and as a socialist, contributed several rebukes of government and defenses of individualism.

Biographical

Rand, Ayn (1905-1982)

by Chris Sciabarra

Ayn Rand remains one of the best-known and most influential individualist writers, credited with developing the philosophy of Objectivism.

Biographical

Rawls, John (1921-2002)

by Will Wilkinson

John Rawls was a political theorist who revived interest in the field. Though not libertarian, his work can be interpreted in support of some free-market ideas.

Biographical

Read, Leonard E. (1898-1983)

by Donald J. Boudreaux and Nick Slepko

Leonard E. Read was an activist who founded the Foundation for Economic Education, a free-market and anti-socialist nonprofit and educational organization.

Biographical

Ricardo, David (1772-1823)

by Mark Skousen

David Ricardo was an influential economist whose contributed both important free-market theories and dismal predictions about the value of labor.

Biographical

Rothbard, Murray (1926-1995)

by Brian Doherty

Murray Rothbard’s writings provided a detailed and systematic explanation of politics, society, and economics consistent with libertarian ideas.

Biographical

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

by Jason Kuznicki

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is regarded as a great political philosopher and contractarian, though his ideas for society often rely on a basis of coercive liberty.

Biographical

Röpke, Wilhelm (1899-1966)

by Aaron Steelman

Wilhelm Röpke was a German economist who wrote in favor of a decentralized economy and held a strong anti-Keynesian and conservative position.

Biographical

Say, Jean-Baptiste (1767-1832)

by David Hart

Jean-Baptiste Say was a French political economist whose work anticipated and popularized theories of wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and a free society.

Biographical

Schumpeter, Joseph (1883-1950)

by Thomas M. Humphrey

Joseph Schumpeter was an influential 20th century economist who staunchly defended capitalism and the cycle of innovation and growth it creates.

Biographical

Senior, Nassau William (1790-1864)

by George H. Smith

Nassau William Senior was an important British economist who contributed to theories of utility, political economy, and value.