Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • James A. Colaiaco


While sailing homeward to England on the Red Sea in the spring of 1872, and fresh with the experience of India, Fitzjames Stephen began firing. ‘broadsides’ at John Stuart Mill.1 The result was a series of brilliant and penetrating articles written for the Pall Mall Gazette, later collected and published in March 1873 as Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.2 The book is the most comprehensive statement of his thought, illustrating the relationships he understood to exist between politics, law, religion and morality. Leslie Stephen considered it an ‘apologia’ or manifesto of his brother’s deepest convictions.3 Fitzjames later said, somewhat unjustly to himself, that it was ‘little more than the turning of an Indian lantern on European problems’.4 India was where many of the ideas which he had been expounding for more than a decade were fully developed and put to the test of experience. As he noted in the Preface to the first edition, his Indian labours had ‘strongly confirmed the reflections which the book contains, and which had been taking shape gradually in my mind for many years’.5


Human Nature Public Opinion Individual Liberty Universal Suffrage Free Discussion 
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© James A. Colaiaco 1983

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  • James A. Colaiaco

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