John Stuart Mill Imperialism Analysis

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John Stuart Mill (1801-1856) was the British philosopher, political theorist and economist whose works have influenced the social and political context significantly. He has been one of the prominent thinkers on liberal philosophy and is still regarded as a distinguished identity within the liberal school of thought. His ideas have given a new dimension to the already established by his predecessors like Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism. His prominent works include, On Liberty, Representative Government, Principles of Political Economy, A System of Logic, Utilitarianism, Three essays on Religion, The Subjection of Women and his Autobiography. Apart from these significant works, many of his writings, letters and newspaper articles also form…show more content…
Mill basically inherited the anti-imperialist views from his predecessor liberal thinkers like Bentham, James Mill and Adam Smith (Sullivan, 1983). Bentham, James Mill and Smith have argued against imperialism and have negated the idea that it serves any economic profit to England. Instead they believed that colonisation led to disproportionate capital flow to colonies. They also negated the argument of colonies being an outlet for capital surplus. They maintained that colonisation can only be a remedy for capital surplus if greater amount of England’s capital is not invested in governance of colonies which they regarded is the case with most of the England’s colonies. Though, English liberals kept India at exception to these arguments against imperialism. Smith maintained somewhat flexible position through his argument of free trade and India being one of the free-trading partners of England if trading monopoly of East India Company were removed. Bentham and James Mill regarded England’s imperialist relations with India only for the betterment of Indians and their civilisation and not for England since it led to large pooling off of money in India’s…show more content…
These systems initiated the whole process of landlordism which was closely inspired from principles of individualism which marks the liberal ideas as promoted by Bentham, James Mill, Ricardo and later by J S Mill. This individualism deeply rooted in the idea of individual rights, which were secured through legislations strengthened the western liberal values which Mill envisaged for the development of traditional societies. This individualism through ownership of land holdings created a class of natives who supported and strengthened British rule in India. This is in particular with Permanent settlement, where class of landowners initiated the process of capital accumulation which led to initiation of industrial growth and emergence of class of middlemen who whole heartedly supported British rule in India. Mill himself while explaining the land settlement in Punjab explains that the process led to the “peace and security never before known in the province; a rapid increase of cultivation and production; and a contentment with our rule, which has enabled this newly-conquered territory, inhabited by the most warlike population of India, to become the base of our operations for the recovery of our older territories, and has made the Sikhs, so lately in arms against us, an important
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