Classical liberalism is a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.
Classical liberalism developed in the 19th century in Western Europe, and the Americas. Although classical liberalism built on ideas that had already developed by the end of the 18th century, it advocated a specific kind of society, government and public policy required as a result of the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Notable individuals who have contributed to classical liberalism include Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the economics of Adam Smith, a psychological understanding of individual liberty, natural law and utilitarianism, and a belief in progress. Classical liberals established political parties that were called "liberal", although in the United States classical liberalism came to dominate both existing major political parties. There was a revival of interest in classical liberalism in the 20th century led by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom. In its most extreme form, it advocated Social Darwinism. Libertarianism is a modern form of neo-classical liberalism.
The term classical liberalism was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism. The phrase classical liberalism is also sometimes used to refer to all forms of liberalism before the 20th century, and some conservatives and libertarians use the term classical liberalism to describe their belief in the primacy of economic freedom and minimal government. It is not always clear which meaning is intended.
Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, a bestselling author, and the fourth-place finisher in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.
Originally from the Green Tree suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Gettysburg College in 1957, then studied at Duke University School of Medicine; after his 1961 graduation and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone. He later represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (1976–1977, 1979–1985, and 1997–present). He entered the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican, and placed a distant third.