The Reading Room

The Best of the OLL No. 57: John Stuart Mill, “The Spirit of the Age” (1831)

This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. This extract includes the first and fifth parts of a long essay which appeared in The Examiner between January and May 1831. Mill believed that English society had entered an “age of transition” in which the ideas and the ruling elites of the old society were no longer able to provide the direction the country needed. New ideas and new men were about to step forward and introduce “one of the greatest revolutions of which history has preserved remembrance.”