On Liberty is an essay written by John Stuart Mill and published in 1859. Mill described On Liberty as being about "the importance, to man and society, of a large variety in types of character, and of giving full freedom to human nature to expand itself in innumerable and conflicting directions." This celebration of individuality and spurning for conformity runs throughout the essay. Mill rejects attempts to coerce people's opinions and behavior—saying that society should treat diversity with respect while arguing that the only time coercion is acceptable is when an individual’s behavior harms other people.


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