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HIS109Y1 (536)


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Anthony Cantor

Liberalism -“Classical liberalism” vs. contemporary liberalism -political & economic liberalism -characteristics of liberalism -legacy of the French Revolution -a Middle-Class Ideology -Liberal “forefathers” & key thinkers Liberalism -first mentioned in the Fr. Rev., specifically, during the Congress of Vienna, to stamp out revolution & upheaval -two ideologies of victors at the Congress of Vienna (want to attempt restoration of the old regime): 1) Liberalism 2) Nationalism victors felt v. threatened by liberalism (threatening to old regime, aristocratic order) -liberalism is a product of the transformations, stages & phases of the Fr. Rev. & the class priorities of the IR (& the new middle class) st th - 21 century liberalism is diff. from ttht of the 19 century (grew out of it, but diff.) -classical liberalism refers to the 19 century, contemporary liberalism refers to current political culture -diff. between classical & contemporary: scope of idea of liberty, what aspects of life does the idea of liberty include, classical liberals thought of liberty in the political & economic spheres Economic liberalism – total freedom from state/gov’t/outside intervention in economic matters (liberty means you have freedom to act w/o constraint); economic liberty was vital to political liberty -no gov’t intervention was the way to maintain the best society (free trade, no minimum wage, no economic regulations) -contemporary liberalism doesn’t hold that belief, why some people call contemporary liberalism “social justice liberalism”, see the need for some regulation in the economy in the service of individual freedom th Characteristics of 19 -Century Liberalism -Preserve ideals of Fr. Rev. & Enlightenment -Society should promote individual liberty -Constitutions: rules, principles, limitations that the ruler was obligated to follow -“Tyranny of the majority” (Mill) (not just worried about state power, but also about what the majority could do to the individual) -Free trade/ laissez-faire (states shouldn’t regulate the buyers & sellers, taxes on foreign products) Preserve ideals of Fr. Rev. & Enlightenment -Liberals looking to early stages of the Fr. Rev., before the Terror, Directory & contradictions of Napoleon (1789-1791) -people who don’t agree w/ the attempted restoration by people like Metternich look back to the early phase of the Fr. Rev., they believe that was an attempt to realize the principles of the Enlightenment (ex. Tennis Court Oath) w/ representative national institutions, elected representatives, gov’t acting under the terms of the Constitution (didn’t at first mean a Republic, they were content w/ a Constitutional Monarchy until they lost faith in the king) th th -throughout 19 & 20 century, the ideas of this phase were shown to survive the Fr. Rev. -Liberalists also reject many things of the Fr. Rev. (were critical of the Directory, Terror, Absolutism, Fundamentalism, radicalism as not a good recipe for liberty & justice) -Liberals valued the principles (ideology) of the Fr. Rev., not the “religion” of the Fr. Rev. -Liberalism overlaps w/ the early Fr. Rev. & the Enlightenment philosophes in many ways -Liberals were also scarred by the radicalism, violence & chaos Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) -“Liberty of the Ancients” vs. “Liberty of the Moderns” -concept of liberty from Ancient Greece -of Ancients was based on direct participation contrasted w/ of Moderns (classical liberalism) -“Liberty of the Moderns” = civil liberties, rule of law, minimal state interference -Tyranny of the mob -Rousseau forgot that the majority can be just as tyrannical as an absolute ruler -if you care about individual liberty, whether a person’s freedoms are infringed upon, to the person suffering its just as tyrannical -“Property alone… renders a man
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