I enjoy conversations about historical figures, particularly those whose lives were dedicated to the cause of liberty. So many people today claim to be interested in the cause, but few actually live for it.  Its probably for this reason that I’ve often felt more at home studying the lives of those who have gone before me than in the company of those who make it a common practice to only talk of freedom.

The following list is my “Top 25” list of the most prominent individuals influencing my learning and development related to the cause of liberty. I have only included those individuals who are no longer living and while it was my privilege to be personal friends with only two on the list, I feel like I know each of them individually. There are, of course, many disagreements in philosophy among those on the list, however their ideas and attitudes towards government, church, and their fellow men harmonize quite consistently in the battle for liberty and freedom.

I’ve compiled the list in chronological order, as opposed to order of influence. I could list many others who have had a serious influence on me personally but have carefully selected these individuals for this list and have placed an asterisks next to the names of those I consider the “Top 5” most influential to me and my intellectual development. I’m certain that as I continue to study additional individuals I might want to re-organize my list which is a prospect I happily anticipate.

1. Francis Bacon, 01/22/1561 to 04/09/1626, Philosopher/Statesman
2. John Locke, 08/29/1632 to 10/28/1704, Philosopher
3. Isaac Newton, 01/04/1643 to 03/31/1727, Intellectual, Physicist
4. Benjamin Franklin, 01/17/1706 to 04/17/1790, Polymath/Statesman
5. Adam Smith, 06/05/1723 to 07/17/1790, Moral Philosopher
6. George Washington, 02/22/1732 to 12/14/1799, Military/Political
7. John Adams, 10/30/1735 to 07/04/1826, Political Leader
8. Thomas Paine, 01/29/1737 to 06/08/1809, Intellectual
9. Thomas Jefferson, 04/13/1743 to 07/04/1826, Polymath/Statesman *
10. James Madison, 03/16/1751 to 06/28/1836, Political Leader
11. Brigham Young, 06/01/1801 to 08/29/1877, Religious/Political *
12. Frederic Bastiat, 06/30/1801 to 12/24/1850, Theorist/Political Economist
13. Joseph Smith, 12/23/1805 to 06/27/1844, Religious/Political *
14. Abraham Lincoln, 02/12/1809 to 04/15/1865, Political Leader
15. Susan B. Anthony, 02/15/1820 to 03/13/1906, Civil Rights Leader
16. J. Rueben Clark, 09/01/1871 to 10/06/1961, Legal/Religious
17. David O McKay, 09/08/1873 to 01/18/1970, Education/Religious
18. Ludwig Von Mises, 09/29/1881 to 10/10/1973, Economist/Philosopher
19. Napoleon Hill, 10/26/1883 to 11/08/1970, Author
20. Ezra Taft Benson, 08/04/1899 to 05/30/1994, Religious/Political Leader
21. Ayn Rand, 02/02/1905 to 03/06/1982, Author / Philosopher *
22. Ronald Reagan, 02/06/1911 to 06/05/2004, Political Leader
23. W. Cleon Skousen, 01/20/1913 to 01/09/2006, Author Legal/Political *
24. Milton Friedman, 07/31/1912 to 11/16/2006, Economics
25. Les McGuire, 12/07/1970 to 06/08/2006, Philosopher/Business

For those who want to learn more about the cause of individual liberty, who want to learn more about the FreeCapitalist Project, and for those who are looking for a “starting point” to initiate their own personal study, I highly endorse and recommend the study of these individuals. Additionally, I consider the following twenty publications, by these same authors, as essential primers for personal study regarding capitalism and freedom.

1. The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon – 1627
2. Two Treatises of Government, by John Locke – 1689
3. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, by Adam Smith – 1759
4. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin – 1771
5. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith – 1776
6. Common Sense, by Thomas Paine – 1776
7. The Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine – 1791
8. The Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine – 1793
9. The Book of Mormon, published by Joseph Smith originally in 1830
10. The Law, by Frederic Bastiat – 1849
11. The Laws of Success, by Napoleon Hill – 1929
12. Human Action, by Ludwig Von Mises – 1949
13. Atlast Shrugged, by Ayn Rand – 1957
14. The Naked Communist, by W. Cleon Skousen – 1958
15. For the New Intellectual, by Ayn Rand – 1961
16. Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman – 1962
17. Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand – 1966
18. The Proper Role of Government, by Ezra Taft Benson – 1968
19. Making of America, by W. Cleon Skousen – 1985
20. An Enemy Hath Done This, by Ezra Taft Benson – 1992