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

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

Modern liberalism has made several significant departures from classical liberalism, most significantly resulting from their different views on what exactly constitutes freedom. Whereas classical liberals such as Adam Smith and John Locke believed in negative freedom – the freedom of interference by others, modern liberals see freedom as positive – the right of accessing the opportunities and resources needed to fulfil ones potential. It is from this key ideological difference that other differences arise.

Perhaps the most significant departure from classical liberalism that this has resulted in is the Modern liberals’ perception of the state. Traditionally, Liberals have been very suspicious of the state as a body with the potential to limit personal freedom, and therefore something to be treated with caution. Locke famously stated that the state lay “within the realm of coercion”, prompting Liberals to be wary of state interference and seeing its role as to protect the individual from having their freedom impinged upon by others, rather than to interfere with positive aims. The Modern Liberal view stands in contrast to this original perspective;  they believe that they state should intervene for positive impact, for example, the provision of equal opportunities, as without the chance to realise his potential, they believe that the individual cannot be free. This modern liberal concept of freedom as relying on the provision of opportunities and the chance to realise potential means that they see the classical liberals’ ideal state as just as much of a threat to individual freedom as state coercion, and can therefore justify a more interventionalist state. In this significant area, it is evident that modern liberals have departed from the ideas of classical liberalism to a somewhat significant extent.

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However, there remain some significant similarities between the two types of liberalism; both agree on the importance of free trade to a certain extent. Classical Liberals recognised the importance of free trade and laissez faire economics as providing the greatest amount of liberty as well as clearing the way for economic development. Adam Smith, the famous classical liberal economist emphasised the importance of free trade as not just aiding economic prosperity, but also as freedom not to be controlled or coerced. In modern liberalism, this original economic idea is still present, but it has developed into one with more restrictions ...

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5 Stars - A very strong essay. The structure and technique is excellent - the points are logically linked together, and the argument is constantly reiterated and re-evaluated before the conclusion is skillfully reached. subject knowledge and understanding is strong, with quotes and supporting material well selected and applied. The essay is also clearly and articulately expressed.