What is Liberalism? Was it the only factor that brought about the American and Mexican Revolutions? If involved in both revolutions, why were the outcomes so different? What other component determined the result of each war? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Liberalism is the “belief in the value of social and political change in order to achieve progress.”1 Originating in Europe, it arose during a period known as the Enlightenment, when men had the idea that if something could not be proved by logic or reasoning, it was not to be believed, and that the main aspects of human life were to be mathematical measurement and deduction and scientific experimentation.2 Liberalism was arrived at when people began to “seek for the natural laws that govern and direct human societies.”3 It focuses mainly on individualism and equality for all people.
However, the prominence of classical liberalism started to decline towards the end of the nineteenth century due to the emergence of poverty and socialism as an alternative ideology. Consequently, British liberal thinkers including T.H. Green and L.T Hobhouse set out to propose a revised or new liberalism, commonly known as “social liberalism.” As opposed to classical liberalism, social liberalism would focus on social reforms through expanding the state's role. Thus, social liberalism revolved around the concept of positive freedom (or ‘freedom to’ achieve one’s goals) and its key tenets consisted of introducing state intervention (and its duty to ensure the wellbeing of its inhabitants through the elements of healthcare, shelter and education,) an emphasis on equality, a more regulated economy and redistribution of
From the time of King Charles II, the British monarchy has accepted the policy of mercantilism, the economic belief that a nation can only gain wealth at the expense of another; it was Britain's motivation of founding colonies. The american colonies were a wealth of resources for their mother country. For about one hundred years, 1650-1750, the British government did not strictly enforce mercantilism in the colonies; however, after the French and Indian War Britain changed its colonial policies. From the declaration of the Proclamation Line, the official end to the French and Indian War, in 1763 to the signing of the Declaration of Independance in 1776, the colonies produced several violent demonstrations showing their support for Enlightenment
“I have tried to see not differently but further…”(Tocqueville, 1835) was Alexis de Tocqueville’s conclusion to the introduction of his perennial classic text Democracy in America, and adumbrates to the reader of his modern ideas and observations that were to follow. At the same time, he measures the progress of society through its relationship with equality and liberty. In this paper, I will highlight Tocqueville’s use of equality and liberty to compare the past and the modern, and establish his views on the effects of these concepts with society and each other. Finally, I will put forth that Tocqueville does not favour one concept over the other, but notes the complex relationship between the two and the importance of the co-existence of liberty and equality for a society of people. To begin, let us build the base case to compare with and look the past as defined by Tocqueville, with emphasis on equality and liberty.
Early Enlightenment thinker John Locke presented to the society documents which championed inalienable rights including life, liberty, and property. Liberty in specific becomes a most crucial topic in the debate deciding what conditions the state should prohibit speech offensive to some groups. Much later, John Stuart Mill built upon and constructed reformed ideas that contrasted the early enlightenment and would then be known as the Mature Enlightenment. In his works now classified as neoclassical utilitarianism- he was an avid follower of Jeremy Bentham, the father of Classical Utilitarianism- Mill also presents invaluable perspectives which can be used to discuss the debate While Locke’s philosophy would justify that speech can be banned
Locke influenced important people such as Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Instead of life,liberty and property, Jefferson use life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Second, Baron de Montesquieu believed in a separation of power in the government. If separation of powers is present in a government, it would
Thoreau’s basis for civil disobedience is not to separate oneself from the government but to influence the government to serve the better interests of society. In the context of the middle of 19th century America that would be to effectuate the social values of ending slavery and foregoing foreign
In his review of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Mill, 1835) states that Tocqueville wrote the book not to determine whether democracy shall come, but how to make the best of it when it does” this assessment seems accurate and I will explore it in this essay. In explaining and evaluating why he decided to explore democracy by writing about America I will begin by looking by looking at both Tocqueville’s origins and his life situations and beliefs and then looking at the situation in France at the time Tocqueville made his decision to write Democracy in America and how this influenced him to do so. I will then move onto why he chose America of all the countries in the world to study democracy in throughout the essay and after each section
As Appleby demonstrated, one development in one part of the world lead to development in other parts. For example, when Appleby began to discuss the 19th century, she took a unique approach by not focusing on the success of the British “… but rather tell how Germany and the United States were able to pass Britain and take a commanding lead among world economies” (Appleby 164). However, without the British developing technically the
Moreover, after the fighting was finished, American free-thinkers were guided by principles of the European philosophes. In particular, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison used enlightenment rhetoric in the country’s founding documents. For example, in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their power from the consent of the governed”. This was clearly inspired by the European philosophe John Locke, who believed governments are only legitimate if they are beneficial to the people. It is possible the colonies may have revolted without the Enlightenment, but a very different United States would have