John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was born on May 20th 1806 in Pentonville, London as the eldest of 9 children and died on May 8th 18731 . He was a philosopher, economist, civil servant and contributor in various fields ranging from political and social theories to women's rights3. Most notably, he was considered as "one of the most influential English speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century"2. Which begs the question: how did Mill gain such a legacy?
First of all, James Mill (John Mill's father) was arguably one of the biggest influences on Mill. From a young age, Mill was given a very stressful academic upbringing by his father. The intent of his father was to make Mill a well rounded genius that would in turn teach his siblings. As a result, Mill started studying Greek at the age of 3 and Latin by the age of 82. (Most of which was taught by his father.) Within a couple years, Mills was fluent in both languages. On top of that, by that age of 14, he had already mastered the basics of economics and studied world history, logic and mathematics2. (Obviously, his father had some expectations of him.)However, the cost of gaining that knowledge will prove to haunt Mills later in his life.
During this process, Mill's father met Jeremy Bentham in 18081. Bentham was the father of Utilitarianism, which was a moral theory that revolved around "The greatest good for the greatest many"3. Both Mill's father and Bentham shared similar political views and built a relationship around their common beliefs. Of course, Mill began to adopt some of these ideas, including Utilitarianism.
At this point, Mill's constant pressure to excel in his academic life was taking a toll on him. In 1826 (at the age of 20), Mill experienced what he would later call a "mental crisis" followed with a deep depression3. Eventually, his depression subsided with the help of William Wordsworth's poetry which he started reading. During this time, Mill began to...