• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far has Modern Liberalism departed form Classical Liberalism?

Extracts from this document...


How far has Modern Liberalism departed form Classical Liberalism? Liberalism did not denote a political allegiance until the early part of the nineteenth Century, and was first used in Spain in 1812. The first real Liberal government in the UK was Gladstone's in 1868. Liberal ideas resulted from the breakdown of feudalism in Europe and the growth of its replacement of a market or capitalist society. At first, Liberal ideas were radical because they sought fundamental reform and even revolutionary change. This early, or Classical, liberalism advocated an industrialized and market economic order free from government intervention. However, these views and beliefs later changed during the twentieth century, to become, what is commonly known as modern liberalism. The question is how far has modern liberalism departed from the original classical liberal ideas? Liberals believe in the supreme importance of the individual. Therefore, they want a society in which each individual is capable of developing to their full potential. This is where there is a difference between classical and modern liberals. Classical liberals believe that individuals are egoistical, this means self-interested and self-reliant, basically selfish. ...read more.


Classical liberals regard the state as best as, in Thomas Paine's words, a 'necessary evil'. It is necessary in that, at the very least, it lays down the conditions for orderly existence; and it is evil in that it imposes a collective will upon society, thereby limiting the freedom and responsibilities of the individual. Thus they believe in what is known as a 'night watchman' government which is restricted to the maintenance of domestic order, the enforcement of contracts, and the protection of society from external attack. This is in contrast to the modern liberal view of the state, the modern liberal view is that the state is invested with social responsibility for its citizens. It is seen not merely as a threat to individual liberty, but, in a sense, as its guarantor. Unlike classical liberals modern liberals have been prepared to view the state positively as an enabling state, exercising an increasingly wide range of social and economic responsibilities. Linked to that point, is the fact that classical liberals believe that the state diminishes freedom, whilst modern liberals believe that the state enlarges freedom. ...read more.


Whereas modern liberals believe in an altruistic society where individuals have concern for the interests and welfare of others, and people try to help others to achieve their goals. Classical liberals believe in safety net welfare for society which is the bare minimum as opposed to welfare cradle to the grave which is welfarism for life. Then both believe that inequality will always be present in society however, classical liberals believe that it has to be this way in order for a meritocracy to be present, whereas modern liberals believe that the government should intervene and redistribute the wealth in order to give everyone a chance. In conclusion, it is obvious that there are several distinct differences in the beliefs of classical and modern liberals. In my opinion they are not as dissimilar as to be classified as separate distinct political ideologies, however there are at different ends of the liberal scale. For example, the two different ideas about how the economy should be run, they are not completely different they both agree that there should be private enterprise, it is just that they differ in how much private enterprise there should be, the same applies for the society, individual and state. Thomas Taylor ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How and to what extent has modern liberalism departed from the ideas of classical ...

    5 star(s)

    In this significant area, it is evident that modern liberals have departed from the ideas of classical liberalism to a somewhat significant extent. However, there remain some significant similarities between the two types of liberalism; both agree on the importance of free trade to a certain extent.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analyse the similarities and differences between Classical and Modern Liberalism

    4 star(s)

    S. Mill, Green and Lloyd- George. Indeed the historical development of society led to a parallel evolution of liberalism, with the character of liberalism changing as the 'rising middle classes' succeeded in establishing their economic and political dominance. Liberalism was no longer radical or revolutionary, but had become increasingly conservative and concerned itself less with change

  1. Analyse The Main Features of Classical Liberalism

    Such entitlements may be either moral or legal in character. In Locke's view rights are 'natural' in that they are invested in human beings by nature or God. Natural rights are now more commonly called human rights. Human rights are inalienable because human beings are entitled to them by virtue

  2. Liberalism has a dual commitment both to individual freedom and equality. How does liberalism ...

    Under this example the two cannot co-exist, one must give way to the other. It is this which led modern liberals to the conclusion that, the very existence of freedoms leads to a necessity for restrictions. If equal restrictions are placed on each and every individual then perhaps it becomes possible for freedom and equality to co-exist.

  1. The Parliamentary Reform and Redistribution Act of 1884 - 1885.

    Life, lover, liberty, and labour make liquid music. The Labour Party is in league with life, and works for liberty that man may live. The Socialist creed of the 'One body' is a declaration that liberty grows with love, and that therefore life is love's child. Source - In January 1893, Katharine Glasier described the formation of the Independent Labour Party in her diary.

  2. To what extent do the similarities between Classical Liberals and Modern Liberals outweigh the ...

    However, the fundamental difference lies in the extent to which the state should enforce the equality aspect of individual rights. Classical Liberals believe that limiting the state to the point where it cannot interfere with individual rights, whereas modern liberals believe that unless the state provides welfare, the poor are not free and therefore equal to the privileged.

  1. What were the most important factors in the rise of the modern state?

    course required them to extract more revenue, which in turn made them more ambitious (and so on and so forth). Charles Tilly explains this cycle of war in a simple yet profound analysis where he essentially claims that war makes states and states make war (Tilly, 1985, pp.

  2. To what extent do the similarities between classical and modern liberalism outweigh the differences? ...

    If everyone is attempting to further their own prosperity then the market will be self-regulating.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work