What are the best John Stuart Mill quotes?

Accurate and famous quotes by John Stuart Mill about individuality, pleasure, person, moral, happiness. John Stuart Mill is well-known English philosopher with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best John Stuart Mill sayings with your friends and family.


  1. I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.


  2. There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.


  3. Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.


  4. One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests.




  5. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.


  6. To understand one woman is not necessarily to understand any other woman.


  7. Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.

    • happiness

  8. The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.


  9. Originality is the one thing unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.


  10. A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.


  11. Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true, but seldom or never the whole truth.


  12. A great statesman is he who knows when to depart from traditions, as well as when to adhere to them.


  13. The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.


  14. The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power.


  15. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.


  16. Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered and protected can never experience.


  17. A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.


  18. All desirable things... are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as a means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.


  19. What ever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called.

    • individuality

  20. The disease which inflicts bureaucracy and what they usually die from is routine.


  21. He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.


  22. All that makes existence valuable to any one depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people.


  23. The most important thing women have to do is to stir up the zeal of women themselves.


  24. We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.


  25. We have a right, also, in various ways, to act upon our unfavorable opinion of anyone, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours.


  26. No one can be a great thinker who does not recognize that as a thinker it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead.


  27. The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.


  28. That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.


  29. The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.


  30. Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.



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What are the best individuality quotes by John Stuart Mill?


    That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

    • individuality

    What ever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called.

    • individuality

    We have a right, also, in various ways, to act upon our unfavorable opinion of anyone, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours.

    • act

    But society has now fairly got the better of individuality; and the danger which threatens human nature is not the excess, but the deficiency, of personal Impulses and preferences.

    • individuality

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.


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What are the best pleasure quotes by John Stuart Mill?


    All desirable things... are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as a means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.

    • desirable

    Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.


    Of two pleasures, if there be one which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure.


    Pleasure and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends.

    • desirable

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What are the best person quotes by John Stuart Mill?


    One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests.

    • belief

    A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

    • accountable

    The individual is not accountable to society for his actions in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself.

    • accountable

    The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    • politics

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What are the best moral quotes by John Stuart Mill?


    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.

    • war

    All political revolutions, not affected by foreign conquest, originate in moral revolutions. The subversion of established institutions is merely one consequence of the previous subversion of established opinions.


    The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.


    Of two pleasures, if there be one which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure.

    • almost

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What are the best happiness quotes by John Stuart Mill?


    I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.

    • happiness

    Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.

    • happiness

    Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.

    • absence

    Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.

    • happiness

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More quotes by John Stuart Mill

Want some more good quotations by John Stuart Mill? Explore the rest of 80 sayings by John Stuart Mill.


The only power deserving the name is that of masses, and of governments while they make themselves the organ of the tendencies and instincts of masses.


The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar, particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England.


Pleasure and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends.

  • desirable

There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.




All action is for the sake of some end; and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and color from the end to which they are subservient.


What a country wants to make it richer is never consumption, but production. Where there is the latter, we may be sure that there is no want of the former. To produce, implies that the producer de_sires to consume; why else should he give himself useless labor? He may not wish to consume what he himself produces, but his motive for producing and selling is the desire to buy. Therefore, if the producers generally produce and sell more and more, they certainly also buy more and more.


The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.

  • power

Men might as well be imprisoned, as excluded from the means of earning their bread.


The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.


Foresight of phenomenon and power over them depend on knowledge of their sequences, and not upon any notion we may have formed respecting their origin or inmost nature.


But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.


The idea that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods, which most experience refutes. History is teeming with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not put down forever, it may be set back for centuries.

  • truth

A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.


Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

  • called

We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.


The duty of man is the same in respect to his own nature as in respect to the nature of all other things, namely not to follow it but to amend it.


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.


On completely popular government: Its superiority in reference to present well-being rests upon two principles, of as universal truth and applicability as any general propositions which can be laid down respecting human affairs. The first is, that the rights and interests of every or any person are only secure from being disregarded, when the person interested is himself able, and habitually disposed, to stand up for them. The second is, that the general prosperity attains a greater height, and is more widely diffused, in proportion to the amount and variety of the personal energies enlisted in promoting it.


The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it -- a State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes -- will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.


But society has now fairly got the better of individuality; and the danger which threatens human nature is not the excess, but the deficiency, of personal Impulses and preferences.

  • individuality

If it were felt that the free development of individuality is one of the leading essentials of well-being; that it is not only a coordinate element with all that is designated by the terms civilisation, instruction, education, culture, but is itself a necessary part and condition of all those things; there would be no danger that liberty should be undervalued.


As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.


Of two pleasures, if there be one which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure.

  • almost

All political revolutions, not affected by foreign conquest, originate in moral revolutions. The subversion of established institutions is merely one consequence of the previous subversion of established opinions.

  • affected

Christian morality (so called) has all the characters of a reaction; it is, in great part, a protest against Paganism. Its ideal is negative rather than positive; passive rather than action; innocence rather than Nobleness; Abstinence from Evil, rather than energetic Pursuit of Good: in its precepts (as has been well said) thou shalt not predominates unduly over thou shalt.


It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being.


The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.


I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.


The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

  • politics

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained.


All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.

  • innovation

Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.

  • absence

The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own. And if no real entity answering to the name could be found, men did not for that reason suppose that none existed, but imagined that it was something peculiarly abstruse and mysterious.


The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of the pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes.

  • another

The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing when it is no longer doubtful is the cause of half their errors.


A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself.


Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained.

  • eccentric

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice,

  • war

In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.


Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.

  • happiness

If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.


When the people are too much attached to savage independence, to be tolerant of the amount of power to which it is for their good that they should be subject, the state of society is not yet ripe for representative government.


The individual is not accountable to society for his actions in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself.

  • accountable

The maxims are, first, that the individual is not accountable to society for his actions, in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself. Advice, instruction, persuasion, and avoidance by other people if thought necessary by them for their own good, are the only measures by which society can justifiably express its dislike or disapprobation of his conduct. Secondly, that for such actions as are prejudicial to the interests of others, the individual is accountable, and may be subjected either to social or to legal punishment, if society is of opinion that the one or the other is requisite for its protection.


The opening of a foreign trade, by making them acquainted with new objects, or tempting them by the easier acquisition of things which they had not previously thought attainable, sometimes works a sort of industrial revolution in a country whose resources were previously undeveloped for want of energy and ambition in the people: inducing those who were satisfied with scanty comforts and little work, to work harder for the gratification of their new tastes, and even to save, and accumulate capital, for the still more complete satisfaction of those tastes at a future time.


Men are men before they are lawyers, or physicians, or merchants, or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men, they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers or physicians.


Though the practice of chivalry fell even more sadly short of its theoretic standard than practice generally falls below theory, it remains one of the most precious monuments of the moral history of our race, as a remarkable instance of a concerted and organized attempt by a most disorganized and distracted society, to raise up and carry into practice a moral ideal greatly in advance of its social condition and institutions; so much so as to have been completely frustrated in the main object, yet never entirely inefficacious, and which has left a most sensible, and for the most part a highly valuable impress on the ideas and feelings of all subsequent times.


As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.


There is one plain rule of life. Try thyself unweariedly till thou findest the highest thing thou art capable of doing, faculties and outward circumstances being both duly considered, and then do it.


No slave is a slave to the same lengths, and in so full a sense of the word, as a wife is.


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When was John Stuart Mill birthday? John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806.

Who is John Stuart Mill? Some facts about John Stuart Mill from biography. John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Benth... Read more about John Stuart Mill on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from John Stuart Mill on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about John Stuart Mill on Amazon to get more reference.

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