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Classical liberalism
originated in Great Britain in the eighteenth century. As an ideology, it
became prominent only in the nineteenth century, that’s why it was called the
century of classical liberalism. Yet, the initial ideas of liberalism started
forming far before that. It all started during Renaissance in 1400-1600 when
the awareness of individualism started to grow. In 1517, the Protestant
Revolution contributed to the development of the ideology, in particular, it
was the starting point of the growing secularism. The Enlightenment in 1700’s
strengthened democratic values. In approximately 1750 Industrial revolution
occurred in Britain, which changed its economy to a factory-based system. The
Revolution was the origin of the Laissez-Faire Economics, one of the main
concepts in the classical liberalism. It states that government should not
interfere with economic system, in other words, classical liberalism is characterized
by capitalism with a free market. According to Laissez-Faire Economy,
individuals should feel free to make their own decisions, and that people’s
competitiveness will help to improve the state’s wealth and power. It stresses
the importance of human rationality. Classical Liberalism is an ideology that embraces
the principles of individualism Rule of Law, Rights and Freedoms, Private
Property, Economic freedom, Self-interest, and Competition. Liberty essentially means ‘freedom’, therefore
liberalism is an ideology based on freedom. Classical liberalism values
political freedom and a free market economy that has limited government
intervention within the economy. Modern liberalism is different because it
advocates a greater role for the state in society.

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It referred to a reduction
of government involvement in the economy

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Mercantilism is the idea
that the primary goal of the economy is to strengthen the power and wealth of
the state. In order to do so high government regulation is necessary. Laissez-faire
reflects the following ideas:

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Individuals nee to be given freedom to make their
own decisions. Therefore laissez-faire is contradicting mercantilism.

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Individuals’ selfishness and competitiveness will
eventually improve their own society

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