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How Liberism Has Evolved During The 20th Century

1065 words - 5 pages

Since the 17th century, liberalism has been one of the sources of political progress in the West. Liberalism is a philosophy based on ideas of liberty and quality. Liberalism is hard to define due to the term being used to describe ideas, parties, movements and practices in different societies and different historical periods. The core values of liberalism are individualism, rationalism, freedom, justice and toleration . Liberalism is one of the most powerful ideologies shaping Western Politics. Early Liberalism showed the goals of the fast rising middle class and this have linked liberalism and capitalism. Liberalism has dominated political ideas for almost two decades since the 1970s but the liberal demand of limiting powers of the state has made it seem more radical. In the mid 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville a historian warned of the dangers of extreme individualism. In this essay, I shall begin by explaining the types of liberalism and close on how they have all changed over the course of the 20th century.
Classical liberalism is a political ideology that advocates the freedom of individuals within a system. This was developed in the 19th century in Western Europe and America, beginning in Spain and France and soon spread to England; it advocated specific kind of society and public policy required as a result of the industrial revolution and urbanization. Notable Classical liberalists include David Ricardo, Jean Baptiste Say and Thomas Malthus. In the 19th century, classical liberalism in the structure of economic liberalism, praise the virtues of the laissez-faire capitalism and condemned all forms of state intervention. Classical liberalism was built on the foundation of the economist Adam Smith and is greatly influence by the works of Thomas Hobbes. Classical liberalism was applied to distinguish earlier 19th century liberalism from the newer social liberalism. This phrase classical liberalism also is used to refer to all the forms of liberalism before the 20th century. Classical liberalism is distinguished by the belief of “minimal” state interference, whose function is mostly only to maintain domestic order and personal security.
In the late 19th Century, classical liberalism was developed into neo-liberalism. This argued that the government has to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of personal freedom. Being an economic doctrine, classical liberalism shows the merits of having a self-regulating market in which the state intervention is seen as both unnecessary and damaging for the society.
This argues for the extensive state regulation and partial intervention in a capitalist background. It is in opposition to the classical liberalism. Between 1906 and 1914 the Liberal party put forward reforms without precedent in the 19th century and without equal until 1945. In the 1880s and the 90s, the liberals began to see the need for greater state intervention and more...

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