Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

An English jurist, philosopher and legal and social reformer, he was a political radical and leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law. He is best known as an early advocate of utilitarianism and fair treatment of animals who influenced the development of liberalism.

He argued in favour of individual and economic freedom, including:

  • Separation of church and state
  • Freedom of expression
  • Equal rights for women
  • Animal welfare
  • Abolition of slavery
  • Abolition of physical punishment (including that of children)
  • The legal right to divorce
  • Free trade
  • The defence of usury (interest on loans)
  • The decriminalisation of homosexuality

He supported:

  • Inheritance tax
  • Restrictions on monopoly power
  • Pensions
  • Health insurance.