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Analyse The Main Features of Classical Liberalism

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Introduction

Analyse the Main Features of Classical Liberalism Liberalism is usually divided into two phases, Classical Liberalism up to about 1880 and New or Modern Liberalism 1880+. This essay will be focusing on Classical Liberalism. The term 'liberal' itself has been in use since the fourteenth century but has had a wide array of meanings. The Latin 'liber' referred to a class of free men. Men, who were neither serfs nor slaves. It has also meant generous, and open mindedness and also became increasingly associated with ideas of freedom and choice. The term 'liberalism' to denote political allegiance made its appearance much later. The term was not used until the early part of the of the nineteenth century being first employed in Spain in 1812. By the 1840s the term was widely recognised throughout Europe in relation to a distinctive set of political ideas. However, it was taken up in the UK more slowly. Although the term Liberalism in a political sense had not existed before the nineteenth century, it was based upon ideas and theories that had developed during the previous three hundred years. Political Liberal ideas resulted from a breakdown of feudalism in Europe and the growth, in its place of a market or capitalist society. In many respects liberalism reflected the established power of absolute monarchs and the landed aristocracy. The views of seventeenth century liberals towards the monarch and aristocracy differed greatly. John Locke was one of the main contributors to liberalism. John Locke was an English Philosopher. Locke contributed to the influential theory of 'Social Contract' and 'Natural Rights'. ...read more.

Middle

The separation of powers is a model for the governance of democratic states. Under this model, the state is divided into branches or estates, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. The normal division of estates is into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. However, separation of powers is criticized, and liberals are aware of the potential dangers. Although the separation of powers theory believes that it protects liberty and democracy, avoiding tyranny. Opponents of separation of powers question whether it indeed does protect liberty, pointing out that it may slow down the process of governing, through gridlock and other means, promote excesses of executive power and unaccountability. It reflects the liberal fear of power. As according to liberalism human beings are self-seeking creatures, if they have power, and the ability to influence the behavior of others, they will naturally use it for their own benefit and at the expense of others. Meaning, the liberal position is that egoism plus power equals corruption. This was expressed by Lord Acton with his famous warning: 'Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. Another individual who had an important view in the eighteenth century regarding the demands for constitutional and representative government was Paine. Thomas Paine was an English pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, inventor, and intellectual. He greatly influenced the French revolution, and it without him there probably wouldn't have been an American revolution. He was an early advocate of republicanism and liberalism, dismissing monarchy, and viewing government as a necessary evil. He opposed slavery, proposed universal, free public education, a guaranteed minimum income, and other ideas then considered radical. ...read more.

Conclusion

Smith believed that individual action, hard work and effort bring appropriate rewards - that work is good and idleness is bad. This view fitted in well with the ideology in his society. The Free market was viewed positively. As free market eliminates economimies which are not in the public interest. Also, the free market produces competition, and competition drives down prices. As the more firms in the economy, the more they compete. Not only does the free market benefit the individual with low prices it also gives the consumer more choice. Along with the goods being more efficient, and quality controlled as opposed to monopolies were one provider is the sole provider of the particular good therefore it face no competition this means that they don't to raise or maintain standards, neither do they need to come up with new developments to try and out-do there rivals as there are no rivals. The free market eliminated monopolies. The individual should make the decision and what they and buy and sell and the government should not legislate it. Competition and profit should also not be restrained as there would be no incentive to open a business. Profit is justified by risk therefore profit is the compensation for taking a risk. So ultimately how a freely competitive works is by the ''simple principle of natural liberty'', each individual wants to buy as cheap as possible and sell as high as possible, so the market sets an equilibrium, well supply and demand meet, the price at which most would buy and sell. Therefore prices are fixed solely by the of the individuals involved and each is free to buy and sell at any price. ?? ?? ?? ?? Politics 1 ...read more.

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