Portal:Liberalism

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Portal:Liberalism

The Liberalism Portal

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom") is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutions, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, democratic capitalism, free trade, secular society, and the market economy. These ideas are often accepted even among political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the prevailing social and political norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy and the Divine Right of Kings. Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the 18th century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the 20th century. In the United States, "liberal" generally refers specifically to social liberalism.
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Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. It is closely related to libertarianism and to free market capitalism.

Classical liberalism developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century. It was a response to urbanization, and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the economics of Adam Smith and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress.

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Portrait of Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green (7 April 1836 – 15 March 1882) was an English philosopher, political radical and temperance reformer, and a member of the British idealism movement. Like all the British idealists, Green was influenced by the metaphysical historicism of G.W.F. Hegel. He was one of the thinkers behind the philosophy of social liberalism.

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Thomas Hill Green
Thomas Hill Green, On the Different Senses of 'Freedom' as Applied to Will and to the Moral Progress of Man, 1879.

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Prince of Orange lands at Torbay
Credit: Hopepark

The Glorious Revolution was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange. King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with increasing opposition from members of leading political circles, who were troubled by the king's Catholicism and his close ties with France. The crisis facing the king came to a head in 1688, with the birth of the king's son, James Francis Edward Stuart, on 10 June (Julian calendar). This changed the existing line of succession by displacing the heir presumptive with young James Francis Edward as heir apparent. After consolidating political and financial support, William, crossed the North Sea and English Channel with a large invasion fleet in November 1688, landing at Torbay. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.

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