Historic Liberty Leaders

The Icons of Liberty in History

Mary Wollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft was an English author who rose to prominence with a very quick response to Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. She extended her analysis two years later to defend the ide

James Wilson

James Wilson (1742-1798) signed the Declaration of Independence and was twice elected to the Continental Congress. He played a leading role in the drafting of the US Constitution and eventually became

George Washington

George Washington (1732-1799) was the military leader of the American revolutionary armies and became the first president of the United States of America.


Voltaire (1694-1778) was one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment. He first made a name for himself as a poet and playwright before turning to political philosophy, history, religious cr

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was an enormously influential French political philosopher, politician, and historian. After a trip to the U.S. in 1831 to observe the penal system he wrote Democracy

Harriet Taylor

Harriet Taylor was the long-time companion and eventually the wife of John Stuart Mill. She had a great influence on his thinking about the situation of women in Victorian Britain and co-wrote some ar

Germaine de Staël

Madame Germaine de Staël (née Necker) (1766-1817) was the daughter of the last Controller-General of France before the Revolution and was famous for her novels, social analysis, and history writing.

Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) was a legal theorist, abolitionist, and radical individualist who started his own mail company in order to challenge the monopoly held by the US government. He wrote on th

Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was one of the leading 19th century English radical individualists. He began working as a journalist for the laissez-faire magazine The Economist in the 1850s. Much of the

Adam Smith

Adam Smith (1723-1790) is commonly regarded as the first modern economist with the publication in 1776 of The Wealth of Nations. He wrote in a wide range of disciplines: moral philosophy, jurisprudenc

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) was the grandson of a founder and leader of the English Whigs, and was tutored by John Locke. Shaftesbury rote one of the most intellec

Nassau William Senior

Nassau W. Senior (1790-1864) was a British economist who taught at Oxford University and worked on the marginal aspects of inputs to production. He argued that capital accumulation is a cost of produc