Liberalism: Lecture Outline
'classical liberalism' vs. contemporary liberalism
political and economic liberalism
characteristics of liberalism
legacy of the French revolution
a Middle-class ideology
liberal "forefathers" and key thinkers
two ideologies developed during the Congress of Vienna
Liberalism and Nationalism
liberalism couldn't exist without the French revolution and the class ideologies of the industrial
revolution. The transformation of the French revolution, the stages that lead to the industrial
revolution. Through roughly 100 years. It began in the 19th century.
Liberalism: 19th century ideas. Classical liberalism is the liberalism of this time. Contemporary
liberalism is modern day liberalism for western society.
main difference in classical to contemporary liberalism is the scope of the idea of liberty; what
aspects of life does this idea of liberty include.
o classical: in the political and economic sphere.
total freedom in the economic sphere.
liberty means to act without constraint. You can't be thrown in jail for no
reason, have a choice for how to be governed, you could trade any way you
wanted, you could pay your workers any way you wanted. No government
intervention was the way to develop the best society with the most freedom
Free trade, no minimum wage, no regulation of the economic sphere
o Contemporary: the need for the intervention in the economy; some regulation and
rules in the service in individual liberty.
What did 19th century liberalism include?
preserve ideals of French revolution and Enlightenment
o of the many legacies of the French revolution, the liberal tradition is one of the most
Society should promote individual liberty
o had to have a clear set of rules and limitations
"tyranny of the majority" (Mill)
Free trade/laissez faire
o trade should be able to happen anyway with the agreement between the two
o the government's approach should be to step back and let trade do whatever it wants.
Those who enjoyed the values of the French revolution when it first started, liberals say that is an
attempt to create a political order based on enlightenment and the French revolution.
liberal ideas come from the beginning of the French revolution
liberals value the principles of the French revolution, but they didn't value the radicalism or extremism.
It had to be modified. liberals were scared from the French revolution
"liberty of the Ancients" vs.