Liberalism political philosophy was once founded by John Locke who believed that citizens have the capability to solve any concerns rationally without the use of violence. The philosophy additionally assumes that the government receives legitimacy from citizens and is mandated to protect people's property, existence and liberty. The contemporary principle of liberalism has its traces to the humanism philosophy that aimed to challenge the church's authority in the Rebirth Europe. However, exclusive historical persons have different views on the definition of liberalism, therefore, making the definition of liberalism difficult. Nevertheless, different historical persons who regard themselves as liberal have agreed to concepts of liberalism (Von Mises and Ludwig 25). These precepts include the significance of the people which are linked to freedom leading to the notion of liberty or freedom of people in a society. The third principle is the rationality concept. Liberalism believes that people in a society are rational beings particularly when it comes to decision making (Von Mises and Ludwig 68). Also, liberalism advocates for the precept of toleration and justice.
Various Perspectives on Liberalism
According to one of the philosophers of liberalism, Gaus, it lays more emphasis on freedom from individual restrains and is grounded on self-regulation and free competition (Gaus). In addition to this, liberalism also believes in the goodness of the people, protection of civil and political rights, independence of the people and in the progress of a society (Gaus, Gerald, and Shane). Liberalism is more of an individualist ideology as opposed to collectivist political philosophy. The individual persons are perceived to be the foundational rock of the society. Liberalism is classified into four subgroups with slightly different perspectives. These subtypes include Classical liberalism, Progressive Liberalism that lays emphasis on social growth through regulation of the private sector, Radicalism Liberalism that advocates for the universal right to vote among other democratic rights and the New Deal Liberalism that came up after the great depression and stresses on the regulation of the society and economy to achieve fairness.
Historical Influence and Development of Liberalism
The initial principle, classical liberalism, in the nineteenth century is grounded on believes that the state governed the best when it governed least (Gaus, Gerald, and Shane). Jackson and Jefferson asserted that strong governance of the society would promote aristocracy that is fuelled by money which then damages the freedom of the people (Gaus, Gerald, and Shane). The leaders of the 1688 Glorious Revolution, 1776 American Revolution, and the 1789 French Revolution overthrew the royal tyranny on the beliefs of liberalism philosophy (Gaus, Gerald, and Shane). The French revolution largely contributed to the spreading of the liberalism philosophy tenets across European countries and South America. The political philosophy has also been well grounded in Republican Party in the United States of America that stresses on the sovereignty of the people (Gaus, Gerald, and Shane).
In conclusion, Liberalism is a critical political philosophy that has largely contributed to the change of America from its birth as a nation to today's politics. The tenets of liberalism have formed a ground of action and thought in the politics of America from the promulgation of the constitution. However, to remain legitimate, the tenets of liberalism have changed over time from classical liberalism to progressive liberalism, to radical liberalism, and to the New deal liberalism. However, the principles of economic and individual freedom remain intact.
Gaus, Gerald, Courtland, Shane D. and Schmidtz, David, "Liberalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
Von Mises, Ludwig. Liberalism. [United States]: Important Books, 2012. Print.