Mill is probably the most influential liberal writer and speaker of the 19th century. Throughout his life, he tried to persuade the British public of the necessity of a scientific approach to understanding social, political and economic change. .
In his book On Liberty, he tacked the opinion presented in Tocqueville Democracy in America that, America was a prosperous middle-class society. Mill wanted to present the idea that he thought it was also a society that cared nothing for individual liberty.
His book Utilitarianism communicates his idea that we ought to aim at maximizing the welfare of all living creatures, and that their welfare consists of their happiness. In other words, Mill believed that we should find a way to cater to individuals and make them happy. One important way of doing so is to not infringe on his rights.
What, then, is the rightful limit to the sovereignty of the individual over himself? It depends. Is the person performing the action affecting anyone else with his behavior? The individual behavior can be widely debated upon asking what is acceptable and what is not. One who lives in society and uses it resources should treat this particular society with respect. It is an understood concept. A person who is a guest in any situation, perhaps staying at a friend home, will be sure to treat his surroundings with the utmost regard. In this respect, this person should also treat those in society around him with the same esteem. .
A contemporary problem in modern America is regulation and public policy concerning tobacco and its users. Coalitions have been formed promoting and opposing strict regulations of tobacco. John Stuart Mill, a liberal speaks adamantly about individual rights in his book On Liberty. After reviewing his political ideology throughout the book, it is apparent what his stance on tobacco policy would be had he written about it specifically.
Although Mill is a passionate supporter of the rights of the individual to make their own choices, he is quoted as soon as any part of a person conduct affects prejudicially the interests of others, society has jurisdiction over it (Mill, 73).