Front Page Titles (by Subject) Mill on Class and Ideology - Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1982, vol. 5, No. 3
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Mill on Class and Ideology - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1982, vol. 5, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Mill on Class and Ideology
“A Note on the Importance of Class in the Political Theory of John Stuart Mill.” Political Theory 9 (May 1981): 248–256.
The standard view of Mill, and of liberals generally, is that they assign the crucial historical role to ideas and ideology rather than to class interests. Sullivan argues that Mill always recognizes the crucial importance of class in historical interpretation and that over time he develops an increasingly sophisticated position on the relationship between class and ideology. The author supports her argument by analyzing Mill's articles on the liberal parties in France and England through the decade of the 1830s when he was the chief correspondent on French politics for the English radical press.
“Mill always regards a socially and economically powerful middle class as the necessary base for a successful liberal party. Over the course of his studies, Mill is forced to clarify his definition of this middle class and to recognize that the consciousness or ideology of the middle class does not always follow from its objective class position and interests. He is forced to conclude that there are two independent preconditions of liberal party success: a powerful middle class which is also aware of itself and of its interests.”
Mill defines the middle class, unlike Marx, by the amount rather than the source of income. The liberal constituency possesses moderate wealth (whether industrial, landed, or commercial) as against both its class enemy, the wealthy ruling minority, and its potential class ally, the working class. In his early thought Mill imagined that ideology follows from class position, and he was accordingly more sanguine about a liberal political victory in France than in England. The conservative wealthy minority, however, triumphed in France in 1830 contrary to Mill's analysis.
To explain the middle class' political victories in England as opposed to that same class' defeat in France, Mill revised his position. He now contended that “despite its important social and economic position, the French middle class is not sufficiently class conscious, is not sufficiently aware of itself as a separate group with distinct interests.” By contrast, Mill traces the success of the English liberals to both the socioeconomic class power and the correct understanding (ideology) of their middle class constituency. Class ideology does not necessarily follow from class position, but depends also on the political traditions and institutions within which a class develops.