The Digital Library of Liberty & Power

A Collection of Texts on the Intellectual Battle between Individual Liberty and Political Power


[Updated: 30 November, 2021]


David Hart is an historian and a libertarian with interests in the history of the classical liberal tradition (especially the Levellers and the French political economists), war and culture, libertarian class theory, and film. He has a PhD from King's College, Cambridge, a masters from Stanford University, and a BA Honours degree from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He taught in the Department of History at the University of Adelaide in South Australia for 15 years before moving to the US where he designed, built and managed the award-winning website "The Online Liberty of Liberty" for a non-profit educational foundation between 2001 and 2019. He is now an independent scholar and a keen observer of a large recreational waterway in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney (map from 1802 below [larger size]; Google map of it now; other maps).
[Brief Bio] [A Bit More] [Current CV HTML or PDF] [Areas of Expertise and Scholarly Activity (PDF)]





Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

"Comme toi j’aime toutes les libertés et, parmi elles, la plus universellement utile à tous les hommes, celle dont on jouit à chaque instant du jour et dans toutes les circonstances de la vie, — la liberté du travail et de l’échange. Je sais que l’appropriation est le pivot de la société et même de la vie humaine. Je sais que l’échange est impliqué dans la propriété ; que restreindre l’un, c’est ébranler les fondements de l’autre. Je t’approuve de te dévouer à la défense de cette liberté, dont le triomphe doit amener le règne de la justice internationale et, par suite, l’extinction des haines, des préventions de peuple à peuple et des guerres qui en sont la suite."

[OC7, 73. “Projet de préface pour les Harmonies”]

"Like you I love all forms of freedom; and among these, the one that is the most universally useful to mankind, the one you enjoy at each moment of the day and in all of life’s circumstances, is the freedom to work and to trade. I know that making things one’s own is the fulcrum of society and even of human life. I know that trade is intrinsic to property and that to restrict the one is to shake the foundations of the other. I approve of your devoting yourself to the defense of this freedom whose triumph will inevitably usher in the reign of international justice and consequently the extinction of hatred, prejudices between one people and another, and the wars that come in their wake."

["Draft Preface" to Economic Harmonies (1847)]

[Sisyphus pushing the Boulder of Liberty up the Mountain of Statism. See blogpost on this: The Work of Sisyphus: the Urgent Need for Intellectual Change (25 April, 2020)]

[The "Liberty" or "Phrygian Cap" worn by freed slaves in ancient Rome. It became a commonly used symbol during the French Revolution.]

Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books (1704)

What's in the Library

A list of recent additions in the form of a diary as things are added as they strike my fancy. These are organised thematically elsewhere in the library.

I have a blog "Reflections on Liberty and Power" where I offer my musings about the state of the world and my place in it.

Soime of my books, articles, papers, and talks.

Some Themes: Classical Liberalism (French) | The Levellers | Class Analysis | The Great Books (WT - Liberty) | Socialism | Strategy

Classical Liberalism

An introduction to the CL tradition - [Intro] - [Essay]

By country/language

By theme/topic

Anti-liberal thinkers (a growing list! to do)

The Great Books

  • the Great Books of Liberty - [Intro]
  • the Great Books of the Western Tradition - [Intro] - [Essay]

Strategy for Change

On strategies for achieiving radical change - [Intro] - [Essay] - [Recent Additions]

Papers and Talks

Other Topics

["Liberty who has overturned the hydra of tyranny and smashed the yoke of despotism" (1793)]

[The Seal of Florence:
"Peace & the Defence of Liberty"]

[John Bull as the British Atlas supporting the Establishment]

Some Predecessors

In constructing this online library I have had in mind a few notable predecessors whose printed collections did much to spread the idea of individual liberty:

  1. that of the English author and publisher Thomas Hollis (1720-1774) who published beautiful leather bound volumes of the great works of liberty with images of the authors surrounded by a laurel wreath (befitting their heroic status) and emblazoned with icons of liberty such as the Phrygian cap and the dagger (used to kill the tyrant Caesar). [at left].
  2. that of the 19th century French bookseller and publisher Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin (1801-64) whose bookshop and publishing firm was the focal point for the liberal movement in France for nearly three quarters of a century. [At right: an image of “Les Lois” (The Laws), a crown, and symbols of state power and justice, sitting on top of a collection of books, presumbably published by Guillaumin.]
  3. the publishing arm of the old Liberty Fund (1971-2019) before it was gutted. Interestingly, one of its imprints was called the "Hollis Library."