James Burgh was a British Whig politician whose book Political Disquisitions set out an early case for free speech and universal suffrage: In it, he writes, "All lawful authority, legislative, and executive, originates from the people." He has been judged "one of England's foremost propagandists for radical reform".
Burgh also ran a dissenting academy and wrote on subjects such as educational reform. One of his first books was Thoughts on Education. His widow acted as fairy godmother to early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, then a young and unpublished schoolmistress, who titled her first book Thoughts on the Education of Daughters. The title alludes to Burgh's Thoughts on Education which in turn alludes to John Locke's 1693 work, Some Thoughts Concerning Education.