When most Westerners think of Liberalism they think of a large government that enforces such rights as Social Security, a Mixed Market Economy,
Affirmative Action, Universal Healthcare and a strong role for the state. But little do people know there are two forms of Liberalism; Classical and
Let us begin with the core principles of all Liberalism which are Liberty and Equality. Generally Liberals support policies that encourage and promote
freedom such as Constitution, Liberal democracy, Elections, Human Rights, Capitalism, Free Trade and Separation of Church and State. While other
policies can be debated between Classical and Social liberals, they agree on the premise of all of them policies.
Liberalism became powerful during the Age of Enlightenment across Western Europe and North America. It was especially strong in France and the United
States. Liberalism struggled to gain the power in France since Monarchy and Aristocracy were powerful and held a strong foothold in society. In the
United States Liberalism had an easy way to gain power since it had little opposition.
The philosopher John Locke
had a very profound role in making Liberalism a distinct ideology.
Natural Rights and Social Contract were the core beliefs of how government should govern with the Rule of Law, replacing Absolutism. The rights
created and espoused by Liberals was the belief in the right to Life, Liberty and Property.
Both the French and American Revolutions were justified by using Liberalism as their reason for Revolution. Liberalism has consistently won against
all other foreign ideologies such as Fascism and Communism, but it continues to fight against Conservatism, Fundamentalism and Military Dictatorship.
Liberalism today continues to spread around the world creating and enforcing Republics, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, Welfare State, Religious
toleration, Religious freedom and Globalization.
The two documents from the 18th century summed up the beliefs of Liberalism for the time, known as Classical Liberalism. These documents;
United States Bill of Rights
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Classical liberalism is most similar to Libertarianism, it espouses particular beliefs relating to small government, liberty and civil rights.
Particularly emphasizing Limited Government, Individual Liberty, also including Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly and Markets. These values
influenced both political parties in the United States.
Classical liberalism drew heavily from the work of Adam Smith
, some of his works include: The
Theory of Moral Sentiments
and The Wealth of Nations
Social Liberalism in its simplest form is the adaption of Liberalism with a belief in Social Justice. It splits from Classical Liberalism in its
belief in the role of the state in society to alleviate inequality, unemployment, poverty and provide welfare, health care and other public
The core principles of Social Liberalism are a belief in Human Rights, Elections, Multiparty democracy, Social Justice, Tolerance, Social Market
Economy, Free Trade, Sustainability and International Solidarity. While Social Liberalism differs with Classical Liberalism on many issues,
particularly pertaining to the role of the state, they continue to share their belief in liberty and equality above all else.
Social Liberals draw much of the work from a wide variety of people, but one who stands out the most is
John Maynard Keynes
. He contributed greatly to Social Liberalism and Socialism, developing
his economic theory known today as Keynesian Economics
It is in my opinion that Liberalism has been the greatest political philosophy in human history. With Liberalism we have developed democracy,
republicanism, secularism and liberty. Liberalism almost single-handedly dismantled the Aristocracy, Monarchy and established religions while at the
same time making society more Egalitarian, Entrepreneurial, Educated, Enlightened, Secular and Wealthy.
But the major divisions, while they may not be so known now, are starting to return. With a surge in Libertarian political thought, which is simply a
new word for Classical Liberalism, we are seeing those whom use to be Socialist turning more towards Social Liberalism. Liberalism is making its
return to the global stage as simply the strongest political force, but it now has two strong opponents to face after the death of Fascism and
Communism and the drop in Socialism, these opponents have been around for centuries, ever since the beginning of political debate; Conservatism and