Understanding Political Ideas and Movements: A Guide for A2 Politics Students

By Kevin Harrison; T. N. Boyd | Go to book overview

10
Liberalism

Liberalism has become the dominant ideology at the start of the third millennium.
Like conservatism it cannot be easily identified with one particular political party.
We trace the origins of liberalism back to the late seventeenth century and the
political turmoil in England that followed the civil wars of the middle of the
century. After this, liberalism's 'golden age' during the nineteenth century is
studied and the main themes of 'classical' and 'New' liberalism are outlined and
discussed. The limitations of British liberalism began to become evident just
before the First World War and it was almost eclipsed during the inter-war period.
We discuss the apparent renaissance of liberalism that followed the collapse of
Soviet communism during the late 1980s and the apparent triumph of liberal
capitalist democracy on a global scale. Some of the inadequacies of contem-
porary liberalism are discussed and an estimate is made of the future that lies in
store for liberalism
.


POINTS TO CONSIDER
Is liberalism culturally specific to Westernisation or is it of universal value?
To what extent is the liberal focus on the individual based on a misunderstanding of human nature?
At what point does liberalism end and socialism begin?
Why were nineteenth-century liberals so uncomfortable with democracy and why don't modern liberals appear to share the doubts?
In the twenty-first century is the state still the main threat to the individual?
How far is it true to say that the triumph of liberal ideology has been at the price of the eclipse of liberal political parties?

-195-

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Understanding Political Ideas and Movements: A Guide for A2 Politics Students
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The State and Sovereignty 16
  • 2: The Nation 37
  • 3: Democracy 58
  • 4: Freedom 83
  • 5: Equality 103
  • 6: Rights, Obligations and Citizenship 121
  • 7: The Role of Ideology in Politics and Society 135
  • 8: Nationalism 154
  • 9: Conservatism 174
  • 10: Liberalism 195
  • 11: Socialism 214
  • 12: Marxism and Anarchism 237
  • 13: Fascism 256
  • 14: Environmentalism and Ecologism 274
  • 15: Feminism 295
  • Concluding Remarks 309
  • Glossary of Major Figures 323
  • Suggested Further Reading 340
  • Index 345
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