?FL? John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was one of the profound thinkers and philosophers of the nineteenth century. He wrote extensively on a variety of subjects, and made important contributions to the body of literature concerning economic theory and analysis. Mill is considered to be one of the great classical economists to be produced by the Industrial Revolution.
John Stuart Mill owed his early education, and perhaps much of his motivation, to his father, James Mill. The elder Mill was an intellectual in his own right, and was his son's schoolmaster during the boy's early years. He instructed his son in the art of scientific analysis and theoretical writing by giving him a series of daily lectures and requiring the boy to turn in a written account of the subject the following day. John Stuart had to rewrite his papers, over and over, until he achieved a degree of clarity and precision that was acceptable to his father.
By the age of thirteen, John Stuart Mill was receiving an extensive education in the fields of logic and political economy. His father presented him with topics and literature, but would not share his own comments and explanations until after his son had struggled with the complexity of the issues. This approach caused John Stuart to discover answers for himself. In his autobography, John Stuart Mill wrote that his father's methods "not only gave me an accurate knowledge of these two great subjects, as far as they were then understood, but made me a thinker on both."?FN1John Stuart Mill, ?MDUL?Autobiography of John Stuart Mill?MDNM? (New York: Columbia University Press, 1924) p. 20.
John Stuart Mill's education in economics was focused on the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Smith had laid down the theoretical foundations for explaining the workings of laissez faire capitalism during the 1700s, and Mill was challenged by his father to find the weakness...