Lever Action: Essays on Liberty [L
Almost a generation before Washington, Henry, and Jefferson were even born, two Englishmen, concealing their identities with the honored ancient name of Cato, wrote newspaper articles condemning tyranny and advancing principles of liberty that immensely influenced American colonists. The Englishmen were John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon. Their prototype was Cato the Younger (95–46 B.C.), the implacable foe of Julius Caesar and a champion of liberty and republican principles. Their 144 essays were published from 1720 to 1723, originally in the later in the . Subsequently collected as these "Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious" became, as Clinton Rossiter has remarked, "the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period."
Liberty is the new and expanded edition of Isaiah Berlin's Four Essays on Liberty, a modern classic of liberalism. These essays, of which the best known is ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, do not offer a systematic account of liberalism, but instead deploy a view of being, knowledge, and value which was calculated by Berlin to rule totalitarian thinking out of court. The new edition adds to the four, ‘From Hope and Fear set free’, which reinforces Berlin's argument and which he wanted to include in the original edition. Three further essays, and three autobiographical appendices have been included, so that all Berlin's principal statements on liberty are gathered together. The whole is introduced by Berlin's editor, Henry Hardy.
Although Berlin did not originate the distinction between negative and positive liberty (or the terms used to describe this distinction), his influential essay played a major role in sparking a protracted debate about the distinction among modern philosophers. Ironically perhaps, Berlin’s defense of negative liberty and his criticism of positive liberty led some critics to suppose that Berlin was defending laissez-faire capitalism, so Berlin set the record straight in his 1969 introduction to Four Essays on Liberty.The Editor's Tale
Five Essays on Liberty
Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century
Two Concepts of Liberty
John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life
From Hope and Fear Set Free
Other Writings on Liberty
The Birth of Greek Individualism
The Purpose Justifies the Ways
A Letter to George Kennan
Notes on Prejudice
Berlin and his Critics by Ian Harris
Index Liberty is a revised and expanded edition of the book that Isaiah Berlin regarded as his most important--Four Essays on Liberty, a standard text of liberalism, constantly in demand and constantly discussed since it was first published in 1969. Writing in Harper's, Irving Howe described it as "an exhilarating performance--this, one tells oneself, is what the life of the mind can be."
Berlin's editor Henry Hardy has revised the text, incorporating a fifth essay that Berlin himself had wanted to include. He has also added further pieces that bear on the same topic, so that Berlin's principal statements on liberty are at last available together in one volume. Finally, in an extended preface and in appendices drawn from Berlin's unpublished writings, he exhibits some of the biographical sources of Berlin's lifelong preoccupation with liberalism. These additions help us to grasp the nature of Berlin's "inner citadel," as he called it--the core of personal conviction from which some of his most influential writing sprung.