Images of Liberty and Power

The Online Library of Liberty contains many images that testify to the power of art as a force for liberty.


“New” Socialist Ideas in the 1848 Revolution

The French political caricaturist Amédée de Noé mocked the leading socialist figures of the 1848 Revolution in this panel of 6 cartoons. He ridicules their claims that their ideas were new and original by pointing out the true…

A Monument to Frédéric Bastiat (1878)

A monument erected in memory of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) in Mugron (1878); partly destroyed by the Nazis in 1942
[Gabriel-Vital Dubray, "Frédéric Bastiat" (1878)]

This engraving from the magazine Le Monde…

Abraham Lincoln as the “Federal Phoenix” (1864)

Abraham Lincoln as the "Federal Phoenix" rising from the fire of the American Constitution (1864)
John Tenniel, "The Federal Phoenix", Punch, Volume 47, December 3, 1864.

Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of…

Adam Smith and J.B. Say on the Division of Labour

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Collections: The Scotttish Enlightenment Collections: The French Enlightenment Collections: Economics

The Division of Labour: Adam Smith and the Pin-Maker; J.B. Say and the Playing Card Manufacturer

One of the most…

Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) and the Thomas Hollis Library of Liberty

Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) (facing left)
Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) (facing right)
[higher resolution image 3.8 MB 2234x3021 px]
Thomas Hollis's Library of Liberty

This is part of an ongoing series which will…

Althusius’s Schema for Politica

The 17th century German political philosopher Politica included this along with the text.

Drawing deeply from Aristotle and biblical teaching,Politicapresents a unique vision of the commonwealth as a harmonious ordering of natural…

Amagi Symbol: Liberty Fund’s Logo

We believe that the first written reference to the concept of liberty is the ancient Sumerian cuneiform symbol "amagi" which Liberty Fund uses as its logo.

Urukagina, the leader of the Sumerian city-state of Girsu/Lagash, led a…

Ancient Romans

Here is a collection of images of Ancient Roman figures. In the OLL we have a collection of texts concerning a debate about the actions of Brutus in assassinating Caesar. Was he a defender of Roman liberties or just a murderer? The…

Art of the Levellers

The Leveller Tracts had some very interesting title pages which used typography and occasionally woodcuts to add graphical force to the political and economic arguments being made by the authors. The pamphlets were published in their…

Bach, Music, and Liberty

Among the names engraved on the limestone walls of the Luther's Hymns and Bach's Chorals. We exhibit here some of the melodies from those works.

A moving hymn by Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, was put to Johann Sebastian Bach.…

Biblical Figures

The Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh or the “Old Testament”) is an important document in the history of the idea of liberty, as well as the history of religion. This page contains several images of prominent figures in the…

Blackstone on Consanguity and Descent

In William Blackstone's famous Commentaries on the Laws of England (1753), which were used to teach the law to many generations of British and American lawyers, there are two interesting illustrations. One shows a "table of…

Brueghel, Taxes, and the Numeration of the People of Bethlehem (1566)

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569)

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569) was a Flemish painter famous for his landscapes and depictions of peasant life. In this painting, "The Numeration (Census) of the People of…

Cato and Republican Liberty

This images comes from the first edition (1713) of Joseph Addison's play "Cato. A Tragedy" which was so influential in the decades leading up to the American Revolution with its story of the courageous Cato the Younger defying…

Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League

Richard Cobden (1804-1865)

These illustrations about Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League (ACLL) (1838-1846) accompany the Liberty Matters online discussion "Richard Cobden: Ideas and Strategies in…

Coke’s Crest and Motto

In vol. 1 of the Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, the editor discusses the crest and mottoes of Coke. The inscription on rings, which Edward Coke distributed according to custom to commemorate his being called to become…

Darwin’s diagram showing descent

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Subject Area: Science

Source: Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life, with additions and corrections from the sixth and…

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen de 1789 [Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (August 1789] by Jean-Jacques François Le Barbier (1738-1826)
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Georg Jellinek, The Declaration of the Rights…

Emancipation Proclamation

This decorative print of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was produced in 1864 by engraver W. Roberts, and the printer, C.A. Alvord. The print does far more than just record the text of the proclamation. It provides an…

Encyclopedic Liberty and Industry

This illustrated essay explores some images of "liberty" and "industry" from Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts,…

Engraving of John Toland

engraving (scroll to bottom of the page). It shows a seated figure with a sceptre under pictures of important law givers and defenders of liberty (from top left to right): Moses, Solon, Confucius, Lycurgus, Numa, Brutus and…

Eugène Delacroix on Press Censorship during the Restoration (1814-1822)

Detail from Anon. "Les Journaux en mai 1815"
(Newspapers in May 1815)
Detail from Anon. "Les Journaux", Le Nain jaune (1814)
Frederick Douglass and Abolition

There are numerous illustrations in the British edition of the Frederick Douglass autobiography. They are of three types: pictures of famous abolitionists, Douglass visiting graves and memorials of those who had struggled…

Hobbes' Leviathan

In a mid-19th century edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes is reprinted the famous Hobbes's best known work of political philosophy Leviathan in which the all-powerful absolute monarch is depicted with sword and sceptre…

Images of the British Abolitionist Movement

Images used by the British Abolitionist Movement in the 1780s
"Am I not a Man and a Brother?"
Official Medallion and Motto of the British Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1787)
Jacques Callot, Hugo Grotius, and the Miseries of War in the 17th Century

Top:1. Title Page of "The Miseries and Misfortunes of War" (1633)
[See a larger version of this image (1275 px)]

Bottom: 7. Plundering and Burning a Village (1633)
[See a larger version of this image (1368 px)]
James Gillray on War and Taxes during the War against Napoleon

In this essay we wish to examine 5 prints drawn by James Gillray in the 1790s and 1800s which explore the theme of the suffering of the British people (“John Bull”) under the heavy taxation and national debt which the British…

Liberty slaying the Monsters of Tyranny and Oppression

W.D. Cooper, "America Trampling on Oppression" (1789)
Source: Library of Congress
Pierre Paul Prud'hon et Jacques Louis Copia, "Liberty overthrowing the Hydra of Tyranny" (1793)
Source: Bibliothèque nationale de…
Lilburne quoting Coke on English Liberties at his treason trial (1649)

John Lilburne reading from Coke's Institutes at his Treason Trial (1649)
[See a larger version of this image 250 KB JPG]
Image Source

From The Triall of Lieut. Collonell J. Lilburne by an extraordinary Commission of…

Ludwig von Mises on Rationing in WW2

During the war years the Austrian-American free market economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) wrote a number of books which criticised government intervention and control of the economy, especially price controls, rationing, policies…

Mises on Gresham’s Law and Ancient Greek Silver Coins

In an Appendix to his The Theory of Money and Credit (1912) the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) discussed the value of a silver coin issued by Gelon the King of Syracuse in 480 BC. A picture of the coin was used on…

Mises on Rationing and Price Controls in WW2

The Austrian-American free market economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) left Switzerland for the United States in August 1940. During the war years he wrote a number of books which criticised government intervention and control of…

Monuments to Free Trade: Bastiat and Cobden

Many statues and monuments are erected in public places to military leaders, kings, emperors, and presidents who take their countries to war, raise taxes, increase economic regulation of the economy, and violate civil liberties. Far…

New Picture of Tocqueville in 1848

This lithograph ofAlexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville, better known as Alexis de Tocqueville, was created byLeon Noël in 1848. That year Tocqueville was elected to France’s Chamber of Deputies, and on September 12, 1848…

New Playing Cards for the French Republic (1793-94)

The Spirit of Peace
Motto: "Prosperity"
[See larger image 600px]
The Spirit of Commerce
Motto: "Wealth"
[See larger image 600px]
Ngrams and the Changing Vocabulary of Class Analysis in 19th Century Classical Liberal Thought

Honoré Daumier, "The Army Hierarchy" (1850s)
[See higher resolution image]
What are Ngrams?

According to the Wikipedia article on The Google Ngram Viewer:

The Google Ngram Viewer or Google Books Ngram Viewer is an online…

Presidents Day and the Apotheosis of Washington

John James Barralet, "The Apotheosis of Washington" (1802-1816)
[See a larger version of the image as an engraved print for more details].

Unknown, "The Apotheosis of Washington and Lincoln" (1865)

The first president…

Pufendorf and the Geometry of Morality

In Chapter XVIII of his Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Samuel Pufendorf makes an argument about the "geometry of moral actions", comparing them to the arc of a circle made by moving radii. In his own words:

Representative Women: An Image of Several Suffragists (1870)

Created circa 1870 by the artist L. Schamer, “Representative Women” is a combinative portrait of seven influential suffragists who were popular on the lyceum lecture circuit from about 1860-1880. The popularity of this style of…

Roman Virtues

These four depictions from a much larger collection of etchings, come from an illustrated work of ancient coins compiled by the famed cartographer and geographer of the Netherlands, Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598). They depict a number…

Samuel warns the Israelites of the Dangers of Kings

"Saul is ordered to destroy all the Amalekites and their livestock,"
[page 24 verso, lower panel]
The Morgan Picture Bible (c. 1250)

Many Christians in 17th century England and 17th and 18th century North America were…

Shaftesbury’s Illustrations

Anthony Ashley Cooper, more commonly known as the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), wrote one of the most influential books of the 18th century:Characteristicsof Men, Manners, Opinions, Times.This work contains…

Shaftesbury’s Illustrations for Characteristicks (1732)

Anthony Ashley Cooper, more commonly known as the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), wrote one of the most influential books of the 18th century:Characteristicsof Men, Manners, Opinions, Times.This work contains numerous…


Shakespeare is one of the authors whose name is inscribed on the walls of the King Henry IV, King Lear, and the Tempest.

Shays’s Rebellion

In 1786, the United States government was young in its development and still finding its way. The country was governed by the Articles of Confederation, its first constitution, which many felt wasn’t strong enough. Shays's…

The Divine Right of Kings or Regal Tyranny? (Hobbes and Lilburne)

The Divine Right of Kings or Regal Tyranny? Thomas Hobbes (1651) vs. John Lilburne (1647)

During the upheavals of the English Civil War when the divine right of the English monarchy was challenged by Parliament, the king executed,…

The First Colored Senator and Representatives

Created circa 1872 by the Currier & Ives Lithography Company, “The First Colored Senator and Representatives” is a combined portrait of the African-Americans that were elected to serve in Congress following the Civil War. They…

The Gold Standard vs. Fiat Paper Money

Top: a 20 Mark Gold Coin - Deutsches Reich, Wilhelm II German Emperor and King of Prussia (1900)
Bottom: a 10 Billion Mark German banknote (October 1923)

As the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

The People and the Ruling Elite in Caricatures (Wade and Daumier)


John Wade (1788-1875) was active in British reform circles throughout the 1820s. This group included people such as James Milland other “Philosophical Radicals”. One of their key demands was to enlarge the franchise to…

The Seal of Florence

In early 16th century Florence, when Machiavelli 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…

The Spanish-American War and the Anti-Imperialism League (1902)

"Expansion: The Water-Cure method of extorting from Uncle Sam the confession that an Empire is better than a Republic."
"Expansion" The Public (January 31, 1902)
The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1416)


We have selected an appropriate quotation from the works of members of the Scottish Enlightenment to go with the following illustrations from the Très Riches Heures. We have done this because the Très Riches Heures is a…

The Virtues

Here we have a collection of images depicting the Seven Virtues of charity, faith, fortitude, hope, justice, prudence, and temperance.

Thomas Clarkson and the Abolition of the Slave Trade

One of the great movements for liberty was the abolitionist movement in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It was led by figures like the Quaker Thomas Clarkson who successfully agitated for the abolition of the slave trade in…

Thomas Jefferson in the Cyclopedia

Images of Thomas Jefferson in the Jeffersonian Cyclopedia (1900)

The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson. Classified and Arranged in Alphabetical Order Under Nine Thousand Titles,…

Tocqueville and Bastiat on the 1848 Revolution in Paris

This very nice image of Alexis de Tocqueville (with signature) comes from a 1896 translation of his memoir or "recollection"' of the 1848 Revolution in France. It is described as a "heliogravure" which is a form of photogravure…
Washington and Napoleon in their Study


There are some striking parallels in the lives of George Washington (1732-1799) and Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821): both were military leaders who helped their countries during a revolution and both came to power as head…

William Blake: An Introduction

Related Links in the Goodrich Seminar Room:


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William Blake Collections: Religion Collections: Art

Source: William Blake, Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job. With Descriptive Letterpress, and A Sketch of…

Political, economic, and philosophical ideas are often expressed through works of art. The images collected in the OLL gives us another way to explore the history of the idea of liberty--a history written with etchings, paints, pastels, and even carvings in stone.