The Subjection of Women is an essay by English philosopher, political economist and civil servant John Stuart Mill published in 1869, with ideas he developed jointly with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill. Mill submitted the finished manuscript of their collaborative work On Liberty (1859) soon after her untimely death in late 1858, and then continued work on The Subjection of Women until its completion in 1861. At the time of its publication, the essay's argument for equality between the sexes was an affront to European conventional norms regarding the status of men and women.
While scholars generally agree that John Stuart Mill was the sole author, it is also noted that some of the arguments are similar to Harriet Taylor Mill's essay The Enfranchisement of Women, which was published in 1851.
Mill was convinced that the moral and intellectual advancement of humankind would result in greater happiness for everybody. He asserted that the higher pleasures of the intellect yielded far greater happiness than the lower pleasure of the senses. He conceived of human beings as morally and intellectually capable of being educated and civilised. Mill believed everyone should have the right to vote, with the only exceptions being barbarians and uneducated people.
Mill argues that people should be able to vote to defend their own rights and to learn to stand on their two feet, morally and intellectually. This argument is applied to both men and women. Mill often used his position as a member of Parliament to demand the vote for women, a controversial position for the time.
In Mill's time a woman was generally subject to the whims of her husband or father due to social norms which said women were both physically and mentally less able than men and therefore needed to be "taken care of". Contributing to this view were both hierarchical religious views of men and women within the family and social theories based on biological determinism. The archetype of the ideal woman as mother, wife and homemaker was a powerful idea in 19th century society.
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, political economist, Member of Parliament, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical...More about John Stuart Mill
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