Frederic Bastiat was a French political economist who wrote several famous essays in the 1840’s.

Bastiat asserted that the only purpose of government is to defend the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property.[7] From this definition, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty and property if it promotes socialist policies inherently opposed to these very things. In this way, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the thing it is supposed to defend.[7]

You can see a few reviews of his essays here:

The essays are available individually or in collected sets.

One of his most famous essays, The Law, is available online, here:
This essay is required reading in some high schools.

Other Bastiat essays may be found at the above website ( by typing “Bastiat” in the search window. (Some of them are very short.)