Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

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About Liberty Matters



"Liberty Matters" is devoted to the discussion of ideas pertaining to liberty. We have asked leading scholars and invited guest commentators to reflect upon how some of the authors whose works are part of the Online Library of Liberty have defended individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace over the past 300 years. The OLL has many scholarly collections which can be drawn upon for this purpose. See below for details about our collections of the works of key figures and the founders of the American Republic. For a sampling of what some of the authors in the OLL collection have thought about important topics see our collection of quotations which have been organized thematically.

Each discussion will be based upon a "Lead Essay" written by a leading scholar in the field to which other scholars will respond in shorter essays, critiques, and comments. The Lead Essay will be posted in the first week of every second month beginning in January 2013. The "Response Essays" will be posted a week later and then the authors will be able to reply to each other's posts in the weeks that follow. Wherever possible we will link the discussion to the books, biographies, bibliographies, essays, and other material in the OLL collection. This is especially the case when the scholars refer to actual passages in the book under discussion. We will provide a link from each quoted passage to the paragraph in the original book where this can be found. This is to enable and encourage readers to read the book for themselves and make their own assessment of the validity of the points being made in the discussion. We hope teachers and students will make use of this material in the classroom.

Each "Liberty Matters" discussion will be posted as one file in order to make it possible for teachers and students to print it for classroom or private use. At the beginning of the month the page will appear online with empty place-holders for what is to follow later in the month. These will be filled in as the discussion and conversation progresses over the course of the month.

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The images in our banner have a special meaning for us. The one on the left is the "amagi" symbol which is the logo of Liberty Fund. It is the cuneiform script which is believed to be the first written expression of the word "liberty." It appears in a reform of a legal code by the Sumerian King Urukagina in about 2,350 BC. The image on the right is the Seal of the Magistrates of the Ten of Liberty and Peace of the city of Florence. In early 16th century Florence, when Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was working as a diplomat for the city state, the seal of the Magistrates of the Ten of Liberty and Peace was an image of a dove holding an olive branch in its beak with the following Latin motto "S. Pax et Defensio Libertatis" (Peace and the Defence of Liberty). It can be found in volume 3 of Machiavelli's Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings.

Copyright & Fair Use Statement

"Liberty Matters" is the copyright of Liberty Fund, Inc. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. These essays and responses may be quoted and otherwise used under "fair use" provisions for educational and academic purposes. To reprint these essays in course booklets requires the prior permission of Liberty Fund, Inc. Please contact the OLL Editor if you have any questions.


Possible Authors and Topics for Future "Liberty Matters" Discussions

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The collected works of key figures such as:

  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
  • John Milton (1608-1674)
  • John Locke (1632-1704)
  • The Natural Law & Enlightenment Series
  • Voltaire (1694-1778)
  • Adam Smith (1723-1790)
  • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
  • David Ricardo (1772-1823)
  • Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)
  • Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
  • Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
  • John S. Mill (1806-1873)
  • Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)
  • Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
  • Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)
Related Links:

The Founders of the American Republic:

  • George Washington (1732-1799)
  • John Adams (1735-1826)
  • Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
  • James Wilson (1742-1798)
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
  • John Jay (1745-1829)
  • James Madison (1751-1836)
  • Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)
  • Key Documents of Liberty
  • LF's edition of The Federalist Papers
  • The Founders' Constitution

For a sampling of what some of the authors in the OLL collection have thought about important topics see our collection of quotations which have been organized by the following themes:

  • Colonies, Slavery & Abolition
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Free Trade
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Law
  • Liberty
  • Money & Banking
  • Natural Rights
  • Origin of Government
  • Parties & Elections
  • Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots
  • Property Rights
  • Religion & Toleration
  • Socialism & Interventionism
  • Taxation
  • The State
  • War & Peace
  • Women's Rights

Last modified April 13, 2016