Welcome to the Online Library of Liberty

The OLL brings books and ideas together so they can converse with each other and with you. We’ve gathered together collections of texts from historical movements and about big ideas that have changed the world to make it easier to allow our texts to “talk” to each other.

Featured Titles

Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays

Joseph Addison (author)

First produced in 1713, Cato, A Tragedy inspired generations toward a pursuit of liberty. Liberty Fund’s new edition of Cato: A Tragedy, and Selected Essays brings together Addison’s dramatic masterpiece along with a selection of his…

Cato’s Letters, vol. 4 (1737 ed.)

Thomas Gordon (author)

A facsimile of the 1737 edition. Volume 4 (December 1722 to December 1723) of a four volume set. Almost a generation before Washington, Henry, and Jefferson were even born, two Englishmen, concealing their identities with the honored…

Fifteen Sonnets of Petrarch

Francesco Petrarch (author)

A collection of Petrarch’s sonnets translated by Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

“Are Economists Basically Immoral?” and Other Essays on Economics, Ethics, and Religion

Paul Heyne (author)

Heyne’s writings are unique in that he takes the critics of the free market order seriously and addresses their arguments directly, showing how they are defective in their understanding of economics and in their ethical and…

The Reading Room

The OLL blog explores the fascinating, vital, and often surprising texts and people that fill our library. Come talk in our library!

A Goodbye to a Good Man

The movement for human freedom just lost one of its great champions. The Cato Institute’s “North Star,” David Boaz, passed away on June 7, 2024, at the age of 70. I commend you to read the many heartfelt remembrances already published about this intellectual giant.
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Liberty Matters

The OLL brings people together to debate and discuss important texts and big ideas about liberty.

The Rebirth of the Austrian School and the South Royalton Conference: Marking the Fifty-Year Anniversary (June 2024)

The first Austrian Economics conference was held fifty years ago in 1974 in South Royalton, Vermont. In this Liberty Matters online discussion the authors share their recollections, thoughts on the fifty years since, and their hopes for the future of Austrian economics. Richard Ebeling leads the…
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Philosophy

Love is an affection which carries the attention of the mind beyond itself, and is the sense of a relation to some fellow-creature as to its object. Being a complacency and a continued satisfaction in this object, it has, independent…

Adam Ferguson

Economics

In the payment of the interest of the publick debt, it has been said, it is the right hand which pays the left. [52] The money does not go out of the country. It is only a part of the revenue of one set of the inhabitants which is…

Adam Smith

Taxation

Under the auspices of tyranny the life of the subject is often sported with, and the fruits of his daily toil are consumed in oppressive taxes, that serve to gratify the ambition, avarice, and lusts of his superiors. Every court…

Alexander Hamilton

References and Guides

Mandeville: His Life and Work

Related Links:

Works by Bernard de Mandevile

Source: Editor's Introduction to Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, 2 vols. With a Commentary Critical, Historical, and Explanatory by F.B. Kaye (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988). Vol. 1.

INTRODUCTION

I. LIFE…

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Kalidasa: Life and Works

Source: Introduction to Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works, by Arthur W. Ryder (London: J.M. Dent, 1920).

INTRODUCTION . KALIDASA—HIS LIFE AND WRITINGS

Kalidasa probably lived in the fifth century of the Christian era. This date, approximate as it is, must yet be given with…

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Chronology: the Life and Times of William Penn

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William Penn Collections: Political Theory Collections: Religious Toleration

Source: In The Political Writings of William Penn, introduction and annotations by Andrew R. Murphy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).

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Emerson on Anti-slavery

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a passionate opponent of slavery. Scattered throughout volume 11 of his collected works are essays and speeches on this topic. Here are a list of them:

Address On Emancipation In the British West Indies (August 1844). Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Works of Ralph Waldo…

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Shakespeare: Liberty and Responsibility

This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “Liberty and Sovereignty in Four Shakespearean Tragedies.”

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John Milton: Liberty in his Prose and Poetry

This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “Liberty in the Poetry and Prose of John Milton.”

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Forgotten Gems

Over the course of time some particularly noteworthy essays, chapters or sections of books are forgotten. This section is an attempt to revive these “forgotten gems”.

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An Introduction to the Major Writings of Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) wrote widely on matters such as highly technical works on monetary theory as well as journalistic pieces designed for a broader audience. Here is an annotated list of some of his major writings which have been…

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Socialism: A Study Guide and Reader

Introduction

This Study Guide examines the long-standing clash between Socialism and Marxism, and Classical Liberalism over the past 200 years or so. It provides a brief history of the tradition, some of its main criticisms of the free market, the classical liberalresponse to these criticisms,…

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