The most basic definition of liberalism is the belief in the importance of individual liberties and equal rights. Liberalism is like a living creature. It adapts and evolves to fit the needs of the society it is applied too. In the seventeenth century, John Locke came up with the generic idea of classical liberalism. Countless other thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and James Madison have expanded on his notion of classical liberalism. Today, over ten different kinds of liberalism exist. They include things such as, modern liberalism, neo-liberalism, and social liberalism. As the core of these systems may be different, they all in one way or another tie back into John Locke’s original theories. As political systems continue to develop around the world, the idea of liberalism will continue to modernize and adapt to its surroundings.
Liberalism supports a vast array of different views and opinions but most agree on constitutions, liberal democracy, free elections, capitalism, human rights, and free trade. The classic ideas of liberalism were founded in the age of enlightenment by John Locke. Liberalism influenced both the French and American Revolutions and established itself in many nations during the nineteenth century. Liberalism to this day continues to carry voice throughout the world.
John Locke’s idea of liberalism in the seventeenth century paved the way for future political thinkers. For this time period, he simply believed that his political system was best. Locke’s form of classical liberalism included these key beliefs; limited government, individual rights, a responsibility for your own life, protection of property, and common good in the pursuit of self interest. Locke, often regarded as the father of liberalism, inspired other enlightenment thinkers to build on his ideas of liberalism. Much of what John Locke advocated became widely regarded in England after the Glorious Revolution and in the United States after the American Revolution.
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