Portal:Liberalism

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Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), democracy, secularism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and a market economy. Yellow is the political colour most commonly associated with liberalism.

Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. Liberalism sought to replace the norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings and traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law. Liberals also ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free trade and marketization. Philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct tradition, based on the social contract, arguing that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and governments must not violate these rights. While the British liberal tradition has emphasized expanding democracy, French liberalism has emphasized rejecting authoritarianism and is linked to nation-building. (Full article...)

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The Progressive Era (1896–1920) was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States of America that spanned the 1890s to the 1920s. Progressive reformers were typically middle-class society women or Christian ministers. The main objectives of the Progressive movement were addressing problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and political corruption. Social reformers were primarily middle-class citizens who targeted political machines and their bosses. By taking down these corrupt representatives in office, a further means of direct democracy would be established. They also sought regulation of monopolies through methods such as trustbusting and corporations through antitrust laws, which were seen as a way to promote equal competition for the advantage of legitimate competitors. They also advocated for new government roles and regulations, and new agencies to carry out those roles, such as the FDA.

Many progressives supported prohibition of alcoholic beverages, ostensibly to destroy the political power of local bosses based in saloons, but others out of religious motivation. Women's suffrage was promoted to bring a "purer" female vote into the arena. A third theme was building an Efficiency Movement in every sector that could identify old ways that needed modernizing and bring to bear scientific, medical, and engineering solutions; a key part of the efficiency movement was scientific management, or "Taylorism". In Michael McGerr's book A Fierce Discontent, Jane Addams stated that she believed in the necessity of "association" of stepping across the social boundaries of industrial America. (Full article...)
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John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, political economist, Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", he conceived of liberty as justifying the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. In his later years, whilst continuing to staunchly defend individual rights and freedoms, he became more critical of economic liberalism and his views on political economy moved towards a form of liberal socialism.

Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham. He contributed to the investigation of scientific methodology, though his knowledge of the topic was based on the writings of others, notably William Whewell, John Herschel, and Auguste Comte, and research carried out for Mill by Alexander Bain. He engaged in written debate with Whewell. (Full article...)

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Norberto Bobbio, Liberalism and Democracy, 1985.

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