The rise of liberalism was a result of three things: Scientific Revolution, Reformation and Rise
of the Nation State. Collectively throughout the 16 and 17 century these events saw people
challenging the norms of their society and taking control of the way they were being governed.
Classic liberalism stems from liberty, in essence being able to make decisions without
restriction from higher governing powers. This ideology is specifically focused on the individual
and their ability to select legitimate political leaders that allow said individual to make their own
decisions as people can are able to think for themselves, help ourselves and we strive to do
better. Equality plays a big role in Classical Liberalism as it falls under a very optimistic view of
human nature and says people need equality of opportunity. Classically liberalists called for a
movement away from ascribed status to achieved status where people could work their way up
the social hierarchy. Three main theorists: Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau all start off with the
idea of a social contract (giving up something to the state for protection) and move forward into
questioning why people chose to create the state.
Thomas Hobbes was not a classical liberalist but contributed to Classical Liberalism as
understood today. Hobbes had a pessimistic view of human nature and thought that unlimited
freedom would be the demise of a society. Instead he suggested a large state in which citizens
would have to give up a lot in order to get protection from the state.
John Locke wanted a separation from the church and state. He believed that without a common
law to govern all