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Full Context of Liberalism

■ Liberalism is about looking for new ways to improve
the word we live.
■ If a liberalism sees a situation that is less than
optimal, a liberal looks to make changes to improve
outcomes, whereas a conservative looks at the
same issue and either doesn’t see a problem at all
or thinks that the solution is too risky and may cause
more than harm than the original problem against
real, existential threats.
■ Liberalism is about government that uses the
collective wealth of the nation to improve the lives of
common people.
■ Liberalism is about making the world a better place
starting from the bottom with the understanding that
the world is already pretty damn good for those at
the top.
■ Liberalism supports the ideal of a society where
everyone has an equal opportunity to participate.
■ Liberalism believes in a government that takes an
active role in protecting the rights of individuals
against the greed and difference of corporations and
the wealthy
Historical Context of Liberalism
■ Most 18th and 19th century liberal politicians thus
feared popular sovereignty. For a long time,
consequently, they limited suffrage to property
■ In Britain even the important Reform Bill of 1867 did
not completely abolish property qualifications for the
right to vote.
■ In France, despite the ideal of universal male
suffrage proclaimed in 1789 and reaffirmed in the
Revolution of 1830, there were no more than
2000,000 qualified voters in a population of about
30,000,000 during the reign of Louis-Philippe the
“citizen king” who had been installed by the
ascendant bourgeoisie in 1830.
■ In the united states, the brave language of the
Declaration of Independence notwithstanding, it was
not until 1860 that universal male suffrage
prevailed for whites.
■ In most of Europe, universal male suffrage remained
a remote ideal and sexual prejudice also served to
limit the franchise and, in the case of slavery in the
united states, to deprive large numbers of people of
virtually any hope and freedom.
■ Efforts to extend the vote to women met with little
success until the early years of the 20th century
Philosophers of Liberalism

■ Thomas Jefferson’s rhetoric in the Declaration of

Independence and rhetoric in the U.S constitution.
■ Locke is referred to as the “Father of Liberalism”
because of his development of the principles of
human and individual freedom, founded primarily by
■ In the late French Enlightenment, Voltaire argued on
intellectual grounds for the establishment of
constitutional monarchy in France.
■ Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued for a natural
freedom for mankind, and for changes in political
and social arrangement based around the idea that
society can restrain a natural human liberty, but not
obliterate its nature.
■ Rousseau was also instrumental in the development
of a key liberal concept, that of the social contract
the idea that the people give up some rights to a
government in order to receive social order.
■ He asserted that each person knows their own
interested best, and that man is born free, but that
education was sufficient to restrain him within
society, an idea that rocked the monarchical society
of his age.
■ He also asserted , again in contravention of
established political practice, that a nation could
have organic “national will” and a capacity for self
determination which would allow states to exist
without being chained to pre-existing social orders,
such as aristocracy.
■ Thomas Hill Green was an influential liberal
philosopher who in prolegomena to ethics (1884)
established the first major foundation for what later
become known as Positive Liberty and in a few years
his ideas became the official policy of the Liberal
Party in Britain, precipitating the rise of social
liberalism and the modern welfare state.
■ Another major contributing group to the ideas of
Liberalism are those associated with the Scottish
Enlightenment, especially David Hume and Adam
■ Possibly Hume’s most important contribution to
Liberalism was his assertion that the fundamental
rules of human behaviour would eventually
overwhelm any attempts to restrict or regulate them
which also influenced Immanuel Kent’s formulation
of his categorical theory.
■ Adam Smith expounded on the theory that
individuals could structure both moral and economic
life without direction from the state, and that nations
would be strongest when their citizens were free to
follow initiative.
■ In his influential “The Wealth of Nation” of 1776, he
argued that the market, under certain conditions,
would naturally regulate itself and would produce
more than the heavily restricted markets that were
the norm at the time, and he agreed with Hume that
capital, mot gold is the wealth of a nation.
■ In France, the Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
advocate laws restraining even monarchs then a
novel concept, rather than accepting as natural the
mere rule of force and tradition, and France
Physiocrats believers that the wealth of nations was
derived solely from the value of land development
established the idea of “ laissez-faire” economics as
an injunction against government interefence with
■ Much of the intellectual basis for the American
Revolution (1775 – 1783) was framed by Thomas
Paine (1737 – 1809), Thomas Jefferson (1743 -
1826) and John Adams (1735 – 1826 who
encouraged revolt in the name of “life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness” and in favour of
democratic government and individual liberty.
■ In particular, Paine’s widely read pamphlet “common
sense” (1776) and his “ The Rights of Man” (1791)
were highly influential in this process.
■ The goal was to ensure liberty by preventing the
concentration of power in the hands of any one man.
■ The French revolution ( 1789 – 1799) was even
more drastic and less compromising, although in its
first few years the revolution was very much guided
by liberal ideas.
■ However, the transaction from revolt to stability was
to prove more difficult than the similar American
transition, and later, under the leadership of
Maximilien Robespierre (1758 – 1794) and the
■ The French Revolution would go further than the
American Revolution in establishing liberal ideals
with such policies as universal male suffrage,
national citizenship and a far reaching “ Declaration
of the Right of Man an Citizen”.
■ John Stuart Mill popularized and expanded
liberalism ideas in the mid-19th century, grounding
them in the instrumental and the pragmatic,
particularly in this “ On Liberty” of 1859 and other
■ He also propounded a utilitarian justification of
Liberalism, in which the moral worth of the
economic system is determined solely by its
contribution to overall utility in maximizing
happiness or pleasure among all
■ In the 20th century, in the face of the growing relative
inequity of wealth, a theory of Modern Liberalism
was developed to describe how a government could
intervene in the economy to protect liberty while still
avoiding socialism.
■ Among others John Dewey, John Maynard Keynes
(1883 – 1946), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 –
1945) and John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 –2006)
can be singled out as instrumental in this respect.
■ Friedrich Hayek (1899 – 1992), Milton Friedman
(1912 – 2006), and Ludwig von Mises (1881 –
1973) argued phenomena such as the Great
Depression of the 1930’s and the rise of Totalirian
dictatorships were not a result of “laissez-faire”
Capitalism at all, but a result of too much
government intervention and regulation on the
Types of Liberalism

■ Classical Liberalism - Holds that the only real

freedom is freedom from coercion.
■ Economic Liberalism – is the theory of economics in
classical liberalism.
■ American Liberalism – is largely a combination of
social liberalism, social progressivism, and mixed
■ Cultural Liberalism – is a liberal view of society that
stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural
■ Ordoliberalism – is a mid-20th century school of
Liberalism, developed mainly in Germany.
■ Social Liberalism – argues that governments must
take an active role in promoting the freedom of
■ Conservative Liberalism – is a variant of Liberalism
representing the right-wing of the liberal government
and combines liberal values and policies.
■ Paleoliberalism – is a term that has at least a few
distinct, though largely ambiguous, meanings,
including extreme liberalism.
■ Neoliberalism – refers to a program of reducing
trade barriers and internal market restrictions, while
using government power.
■ National Liberalism – is a variant of liberalism
commonly found in several European contries.
Countries who Practice Liberalism

■ New Zealand
■ Switzerland
■ Canada
■ Australia
■ Norway
■ Sweden
■ Luxembourg
■ Finland
■ Netherland
■ Ireland