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The OLL Reader

The OLL Reader: An Anthology of the Best of the Online Library of Liberty

[Updated January 26, 2016 - 77 extracts. This anthology is a work in progress which will be added to over the coming months.]

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[From left to right: John Milton, John Locke, Adam Smith, Richard Cobden, Frédéric Bastiat, J.S. Mill, Benjamin Constant, Alexis de Tocqueville, Ludwig von Mises]

This Anthology is a selection of chapters and extracts taken from the most important and influential books in the OLL. They are available in a variety of eBook formats - ePub, text PDF, and Kindle - and we are working on creating a stand-alone HTML version as well. We also provide a link back to the original book from which the extract was taken ("Source").

We have arranged the collection here into themes in order to illustrate the breadth and depth of the classical liberal and free market tradition. It should serve as a useful guide to those who would like to explore this tradition further. Each extract is preceded by a brief biography of the author and some explanation of why the text is important, and followed by links to other related material in the OLL.

From time to time we publish the entire collection as one file. The most recent edition is:

  • The Best of the OLL: A Reader on Individual, Economic, and Political Liberty (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2014). It contains 69 items </titles/2636>

There is additional material in the collection of over 500 Quotations about Liberty and Power one of which is featured on the home page every week. They are categorized thematically so the reader can more easily explore the contents in the OLL:

Colonies, Slavery & Abolition | Economics | Education | Food & Drink | Free Trade | Freedom of Speech | Law | Liberty | Literature & Music | Money & Banking | Natural Rights | Odds & Ends | Origin of Government | Parties & Elections | Philosophy | Politics & Liberty | Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots | Property Rights | Religion & Toleration | Revolution | Science | Socialism & Interventionism | Sport and Liberty | Taxation | The State | War & Peace | Women’s Rights

Table of Contents

The Reader is divided into the following sections:

 

PART I: SCEPTICISM ABOUT POWER

  1. No. 31: Samuel anoints Saul the First King of Israel (c. 1,000 B.C.)
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  2. No. 25: Estienne de la Boétie, “Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (1552)
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  3. No. 60: Thomas Gordon, “On the Nature of Power” (1721)
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  4. No. 61: John Trenchard, “On the Nature of Political Parties” (1721)
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  5. No. 6: David Hume, “On Government” (1777)
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  6. No. 34: James Mill, “The State of the Nation” (1835)
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  7. Best of Bastiat 2.1: Frédéric Bastiat, “The State” (1848)
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  8. No. 22: Herbert Spencer, “The Right to Ignore the State” (1851)
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  9. No. 5: John Stuart Mill, “Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual” (1859)
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  10. No. 10: James M. Buchanan, “The Threat of Leviathan” (1975)
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  11. No. 15: Anthony de Jasay, “Liberalism and Democracy” (1985)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topics of: Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots | Parties & Elections | Taxation

PART II: THE BASIC PRINCIPLES

  1. No. 56: Hugo Grotius “The Preliminary Discourse Concerning the Certainty of Right” (1625)
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  2. No. 1: John Locke, “Of Property” (1698)
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  3. No. 9: Sir William Blackstone, “Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals” (1766)
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  4. No. 13: Immanuel Kant, “The Principles of Political Right” (1791)
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  5. No. 8: Jean-Baptiste Say, “Of the Right of Property” (1819)
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  6. No. 21: Jeremy Bentham, “The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number” (1830)
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  7. No. 58: Léon Faucher,“Property I” (1852)
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  8. No. 48: John Stuart Mill, “Utilitarianism” (1863)
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  9. No. 59: Louis Wolowski and Émile Levasseur,“Property II” (1864)
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  10. No. 71: Lysander Spooner, "Natural Law; or the Science of Justice" (1882)
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  11. No. 4: Ludwig von Mises, “Liberty and Property” (1958)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topic of: Natural Rights | Property Rights | Philosophy

PART III: POLITICAL LIBERTY

  1. No. 26: Lao Tzu, “The Tao of Governing” (6thC BC)
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  2. No. 63: John Milton, “For the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing” (1664)
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  3. No. 37: Montesquieu, “Of the Constitution of England” (1748)
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  4. No. 35: James Madison, “The Utility of the Union As a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection” (1788)
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  5. No. 50: Condorcet and Olympe de Gouges, “The Rights of Women” (1790–91)
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  6. No. 73: Benjamin Constant, "On Freedom of Thought" (1815)
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  7. No. 64: James Mill, “Liberty of the Press” (1825)
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  8. No. 62: J. S. Mill, “On Representative Government” (1861)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topics of : Freedom of Speech | Law | Liberty | Religion & Toleration | Politics & Liberty | Revolution | Education

PART IV: ECONOMIC LIBERTY

  1. No. 7: Adam Smith, “On Free Trade” (1776)
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  2. No. 23: Abbé de Condillac, “On Value and Trade” (1776)
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  3. No. 65: Destutt de Tracy, “Of Society” (1817)
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  4. No. 20: Jean-Baptiste Say, “Of the Demand or Market for Products” (1819)
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  5. Best of Bastiat 3.1: Frédéric Bastiat, “The Petition of the Manufacturers of Candles” (October 1845)
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  6. No. 30: Richard Cobden, “On the Total and Immediate Repeal of the Corn Laws” (January 1846)
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  7. Best of Bastiat 3.2: Frédéric Bastiat, “The Broken Window” (July 1850)
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  8. No. 12: F.A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945)
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  9. No. 16: Leland Yeager, “The Positive Case for Free Trade” (1954)
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  10. No. 17: Milton Friedman, “Capitalism and Freedom” (1961)
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  11. No. 19: Israel Kirzner, “Entrepreneurial Activity and the General Market Process” (1963)
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  12. No. 27: Israel Kirzner, “Efficiency, Coordination, and the Market Economy” (1963)
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  13. No. 18: Friedrich Hayek, “Kinds of Order in Society” (1964)
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  14. No. 28: Norman Barry, “Hayek’s Theory of Spontaneous Order I: Economic Orders” (1982)
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  15. No. 29: Norman Barry, “Hayek’s Theory of Spontaneous Order II: Legal Orders” (1982)
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  16. No. 14: Paul Heyne, “Economics Is a Way of Thinking” (1995)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topics of: Colonies, Slavery & Abolition | Economics | Free Trade | Money & Banking

PART V: INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY

  1. No. 32: Richard Overton, “An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny” (October, 1646
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  2. No. 39: Adam Smith, “Of the Character of Virtue” (1759)
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  3. No. 47: Wilhelm von Humboldt, “Of the Individual Man” (1792)
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  4. No. 33: Mary Wollstonecraft, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (1792)
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  5. No. 24: Lysander Spooner, “Vices are Not Crimes” (1875)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topic of: Liberty | Women’s Rights

PART VI: WAR & PEACE

  1. No. 2: Vicesimus Knox, “The Prospect of Perpetual and Universal Peace” (1793)
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  2. No. 38: Daniel Webster, “Speech on the Draft” (1814)
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  3. No. 11: William Graham Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain” (1898)
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  4. No. 3: Ludwig von Mises, “The Economics of War” (1949)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topic of: War & Peace

PART VII: KEY LEGAL & POLITICAL DOCUMENTS

  1. No. 41: “Magna Carta” (The Great Charter) (1215)
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  2. No. 42: Sir Edward Coke, “Petition of Right” (1628)
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  3. No. 72: "Three Agreements of the People" (1647-49)
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  4. No. 43: “The Habeas Corpus Act” (1679)
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  5. No. 44: “The English Bill of Rights” (1689)
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  6. No. 45: [George Mason], “The Virginia Bill of Rights” (June, 1776)
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  7. No. 40: Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence” (July, 1776)
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  8. No. 49: “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” (August, 1789)
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Also see the collection of Key Documents of Liberty in which there are 100 documents stretching back to the Code of Hammurabi.

PART VIII: THE HISTORY OF LIBERTY & POWER

  1. No. 46: David Hume, “The Progress of English Liberty” (1761)
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  2. No. 36: Lord Acton, “Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History” (1895)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topics of: Origin of Government | The State

PART IX: THE LITERATURE OF LIBERTY

  1. No. 69: John Thelwall, "Political Songs" (1795)
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  2. No. 51: Percy Bysshe Shelley, “On Liberty” (1810–22)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topic of: Literature & Music

PART X: THE CRITIQUE OF SOCIALISM AND INTERVENTIONISM

  1. No. 66: Alexis de Tocqueville, “On Socialism” (1848)
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  2. No. 67: John Stuart Mill "The Difficulties of Socialism" (1879)
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  3. No. 68: Ludwig von Mises, "Economic Calculation under Socialism" (1922)
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Also see the collection of Quotations about Liberty and Power on the topic of: Socialism & Interventionism

PART XI: VISIONS OF THE FUTURE

  1. No. 54: James Harrington, “The Commonwealth of Oceana” (1656)
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  2. No. 70: David Hume, "Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth" (1777)
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  3. No. 52: Marquis de Condorcet, “Tenth Epoch. Future Progress of Mankind” (1794)
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  4. No. 57: John Stuart Mill, “The Spirit of the Age” (1831)
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  5. Best of Bastiat 3.3: Frédéric Bastiat, “The Utopian” (1847)
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  6. No. 53: Gustave de Molinari, “Of the Liberty of Government” (1849)
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  7. No. 55: Herbert Spencer, “Political Retrospect and Prospect” (1882)
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Last modified December 02, 2016