Swartz felt that since taxpayer money funded many of the articles in these journals, the taxpayers were entitled to read them without having to access them behind a firewall and/or pay a fee.
He was one of the foremost defenders of Internet freedom, and helped co-found several organizations dedicated to keeping government interference to a minimum.
He spearheaded efforts to fight bills which would have restricted that freedom or given the government more oversight over what you could see.
His death is a major blow to those who wanted to restrict government; and, as usual
the best coverage of this is in the British newspapers, not the American ones.