Liberalism has meant many things over the last 400 years and has provided significant benefits to the human race. Basically, liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights and so, the main theme of liberalism throughout the period of its development was that the purpose of state is the promotion and protection of human freedom and equality and ensuring of human happiness. Liberalism meant the removal of traditional distinctions that were imposed on people.
Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of the principles of liberty and equal rights, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, capitalism, free trade, and the freedom of religion. These ideas are widely accepted, even by political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the eighteenth century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the twentieth century.
Liberalism first became a powerful force in the Age of Enlightenment, rejecting several foundational assumptions that dominated most of the earlier theories of government, such as hereditary status, established religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The early liberal thinker John Locke, who is often credited for the creation of liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition, employed the concept of natural rights and the social contract to argue that the rule of law should replace absolutism in government, that rulers were subject to the consent of the governed, and that private individuals had a fundamental right to life, liberty, and property.
The revolutionaries in the American Revolution and the French Revolution used liberal philosophy to... [continues]
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