Thomas Paine was a political agitator who wrote to empower people to replace their existing tyrannical governments with liberal republics.
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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.
Ron Paul was the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and is a public figure who has helped bring libertarianism to political attention.
Karl Popper’s theory of knowledge and writings on social philosophy helped to shape much of today’s methodology of social science.
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.
Roscoe Pound was an influential legal scholar whose “sociological jurisprudence” approach tried to adjust the law to better match social realities.
Richard Price was a British philosopher who supported American Independence and the French Revolution and whose work focused on reason in ethics.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, self-described both as an anarchist and as a socialist, contributed several rebukes of government and defenses of individualism.
Ayn Rand remains one of the best-known and most influential individualist writers, credited with developing the philosophy of Objectivism.
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.
Leonard E. Read was an activist who founded the Foundation for Economic Education, a free-market and anti-socialist nonprofit and educational organization.
David Ricardo was an influential economist whose contributed both important free-market theories and dismal predictions about the value of labor.
Murray Rothbard’s writings provided a detailed and systematic explanation of politics, society, and economics consistent with libertarian ideas.
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.
Wilhelm Röpke was a German economist who wrote in favor of a decentralized economy and held a strong anti-Keynesian and conservative position.
Jean-Baptiste Say was a French political economist whose work anticipated and popularized theories of wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and a free society.
Joseph Schumpeter was an influential 20th century economist who staunchly defended capitalism and the cycle of innovation and growth it creates.
Nassau William Senior was an important British economist who contributed to theories of utility, political economy, and value.