Liberalism is an ideology that has had a profound impact on both politics and economics throughout the world. In general, liberalism is centered on the idea of liberty (freedom) for the individual person, and as such is often based upon the principles of individualism, which include:
- Economic Freedom
- Private Ownership
- Individual Rights and Freedoms
- Rule of Law
With that said, like any other ideology, the values behind liberalism have shifted throughout time and now historians identify a few different types of liberalism, including: classical liberalism and modern liberalism. In general, the two types of liberalism differ in the way they handle government intervention in society, but both are centered on the belief in the value of human liberty. The articles below will detail the differences between classical and modern liberalism and the basic history of the overall ideology.
It is important to remember that liberalism as an ideology is not necessarily similar to liberalism in any one country or region. Because of the abstract nature of liberalism, it often means different things to different people. As such, it is difficult to relate liberal ideology with local meanings of the world in a particular political climate. As well, liberalism has fundamentally shifted throughout history which can also make is difficult to understand which form of liberalism people are referring to. In the context of this article, liberalism is an ideology that emerged out of the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and focuses on the idea of personal liberty in politics and economics for individual people.