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19th Century Natural Rights Theorists

Up until the 19th century the dominant grounds for defending individual liberty had been that of natural rights. Bentham and his followers in the first half of the 19th century shifted the grounds to that of utility, viz. that which maximized the greatest happiness of the greatest number. In spite of this shift, a number of classical liberals continued to use natural rights as the basis of their defense of individual liberty throughout the 19th century. This group was larger in France but had some significant followers in Britain.

For more information see:

  • Brian Tierney, The Idea of Natural Rights (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2001).
  • Stephen Buckle, Natural Law and the Theory of Property: Grotius to Hume (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1991).
  • Roscoe Pound, The Ideal Element in Law (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
  • Heinrich A. Rommen, The Natural Law: A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy, trans. Thomas R. Hanley. Introduction and Bibliography by Russell Hittinger (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998).
  • Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1982)

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