History of Classical Liberalism
Chapter 3 Part 1
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
1
Principles of Classical Liberalism
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•
•
•
•
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Rule of Law
Individual Rights and Freedoms
Private Property
Economic Freedom
Self-interest
Competition
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
2
Principles continued…
• The importance of human rationality
• Free market economy that operates with
limited government intervention that relies on
the choices that rational individuals make in
their own self-interest
• Page 105-timeline
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
3
Principles continued …
• The Enlightenment or the Age of Reason
brought all thinking together in one focus in
the 17th and 18th centuries
• Starting in the 14th century and continuing on
through the 18th century a group called the
Humanists developed
• They believed in the importance of arts and
literature alongside of faith
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
4
Principles continued
• They based their views of life more on reason
than on religion
• They sought meaning and purpose in love,
beauty, art and the development of self
• Along with this came a questioning of the
authority, teachings, and practices of the
Roman Catholic Church
• Out of this came the Protestant Reformation
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
5
Principles continued …
• Religious wars were rife and contests for
imperial expansion dominated the social,
political, and economic affairs of Europe
• As well, by the 17th century, the breakdown of
the feudal economic order was under way
• Cities became more important, international
trade expanded and a wealthy middle-class
developed
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
6
Principles continued
• Peasants went to the city seeking work leaving
the aristocracy with fewer people to work
their land
• As society was changing it was argued that the
role of government was one of maintaining
security and the rule of law
• In reality this new concept of classical
liberalism applied mainly to the newly
empowered entrepreneurial class
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
7
Principles continued
• Thinkers related to these thoughts are
Montesquieu, Smith and Mill
• Review of Hobbes and Locke on pages 108109
• Divine Right of Kings: monarchs came to
believe they were no longer bound by any
earthly authority, since their status was
determined by God
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
8
Charles de Secondat, baron de
Montesquieu
• Montesquieu believed in the worth of the
individual, the equality of individuals and the
accountability of government
• He also believed in the separation of powersgovernment should be split into 3 branchesexecutive-legislative and judicial
• All branches would be separate but
dependent on one another-one would not be
stronger than the others
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
9
Montesquieu continued …
• To make this system work you needed people
involved in the system or in other wordsdemocracy
• Each citizen should participate in and be
aware of the laws and the workings of
government
• His ideas are reflected in the U.S. Constitution
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
10
John Stuart Mill
• He advocated the protection of individual
freedom and the promotion of individual
decision making as the core of societal
institutions
• The only limitations that should be placed on
the individual should be those that protect the
liberties of others
• He also advocated free speech as a necessary
condition for intellectual and social progress
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
11
Laissez-Faire Economics
• The coming of the Industrial Revolution
changed Britain’s traditional economy from
one of subsistence farming to factory work
• Britain’s development of a sea power laid the
groundwork for this as did its early movement
towards parliamentary government which
consisted mainly of wealthy landowners and
merchants
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
12
Laissez-Faire continued…
• This early parliament passed the Enclosure
Acts which helped the merchants and
landowners by forcing thousands of lowincome farmers off their farms and into the
cities
• This resulted in a large pool of cheap labour
• With the Enlightenment new ideas about man
joined these economic ideas
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
13
Laissez-Faire continued …
1. New ideas bout human potential and
individual worth
2. A government friendly to business and
innovation
3. A huge amount of investment capital and
cheap labour, and a large number of
innovators and inventors who were
encouraged by the potential of reward
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
14
Laissez-Faire continued …
• This resulted in the development of the factory
system, the mass production and consumption of
consumer goods, the expansion of capitalism and
free enterprise, and the shaping of the modern
industrialized world
• It also produced extremes of wealth and poverty,
palatial estates and horrible slums, excess and
starvation, child labour, worker abuse and the
degradation of the environment
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
15
Laissez-Faire continued …
• Laissez-Faire is a French term that means to
leave alone
• It referred to a reduction of government
involvement in the economy
• It came out of the theories of the physiocratsa group of French Enlightenment philosophers
who critiqued the economics of Mercantilism
• The pursuit of self-interest in economic affairs
would benefit everyone
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
16
Adam Smith
• A Scottish political economist
• He spent time in France with the physiocrats
• He was against the prevailing mercantilist
system and believed that if people worked
first and foremost for themselves, everyoneincluding the government-would be better off
• He published the Wealth of Nations where he
described a system where individuals work for
their own self-interest in a free-market system
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
17
Adam Smith continued …
• He insisted that individual self-interest in a
free market would lead to a stronger economy
and would therefore benefit most people in
society-quote pg. 112-invisible hand
• By having every individual look after his or her
own best interests, he or she unwittingly ends
up helping everyone else, by providing jobs
and cheaper products
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
18
Adam Smith continued …
• For Smith the government’s role should be
limited to maintaining the rule of law, to
ensuring contracts were followed and to
providing some public works-education and
roads
• This is the foundation of the capitalist system
Program of Studies-2.5: Examine the
relationship between the principles of
liberalism and the origins of classical liberal
thought-2.6: Analyze the impacts of
19
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History of Classical Liberalism