The United States Civil War: Marx versus John Stuart Mill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The 1848–1849 revolutions, specifically the French theatre, also captured the attention of John Stuart Mill, arguably England’s foremost nineteenth-century intellectual and leading champion of liberalism and one-time friend of Tocqueville. Two decades earlier, he was enticed to breathe the air of revolution for the first time when France exploded in 1830. Not surprising, therefore, that he would be tempted to do the same when revolutionary whiffs blew anew from the same place at mid-century. But his response to France’s edition of the European Spring contrasted strikingly to that of Marx and Engels. It anticipated their different responses a decade later to the most consequential struggle of the century for the democratic quest, the Civil War in the United States—the centerpiece of this chapter. While Marx, Engels and Mill were all on the same political page about the need to overthrow the slavocracy, their actions in the realization of that goal, particularly Marx vis-à-vis Mill, also stood in stark contrast. Glaringly on display, in terms of who to look to for victory for the North and how much time and energy to expend to realize that end, were the implications of their more fundamental political differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMarx, Engels, and Marxisms
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages56
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameMarx, Engels, and Marxisms
ISSN (Print)2524-7123
ISSN (Electronic)2524-7131

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Palgrave Macmillan. All rights reserved.


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