There is little doubt that the majority of Mr. Mill’s supporters in 1865 did not know what his political opinions were, and that they voted for him simply on his reputation as a great thinker.
If, however, the success of a politician is to be measured by the degree in which he is able personally to influence the course of politics, and attach to himself a school of political thought, then Mr. Mill, in the best meaning of the words, has succeeded.
You can’t work in a steel mill and think small. Giant converters hundreds of feet high. Every night, the sky looked enormous. It was a torrent of flames – of fire. The place that Pittsburgh used to be had such scale.
My mother was an English teacher who decided to become a math teacher, and she used me as a guinea pig at home. My father had been a math teacher and then went to work at a steel mill because, frankly, he could make more money doing that.
Just as radical heirs apparent are said to lay aside all inconvenient revolutionary opinions when they come to the throne, it was believed that Mr. Mill in Parliament would be an entirely different person from Mr. Mill in his study.
I was born and grew up in Fitzgerald, way down in south Georgia. It was a mill town and my family ran the cotton mill. My grandfather was mayor many times and my family felt deeply rooted to that spot.
The assertion of failure coming from such persons does not mean that Mr. Mill failed to promote the practical success of those objects the advocacy of which forms the chief feature of his political writings.
It is almost impossible to imagine that any one could be so insensible to the high morality of Mr. Mill’s character as to suggest to him any course of conduct that was not entirely upright and consistent.
What is true of Mr. Mill’s influence on the women’s-suffrage question is true also of the other political movements in which he took an active interest.