Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 12 Political Science Notes Chapter 8 Liberalism
- Liberalism is a belief in which a person is thought to be a rational creature, and social institution, hence it is the result
- of knowledge and social efforts of human beings.
- John Locke is regarded as father of liberalism. Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham are also included as liberal thinkers.
- In modem political beliefs, liberalism is regarded as the most ancient line of belief.
- The advent of liberal philosophy and its acceptance is linked to awareness in Europe and religious revolutions.
- In 16th century, liberalism came into existence against the medieval rulers like- kings, pope, knights, etc as a reactionary movement. The word- liberalism was first used in England in 1815.
Literal Meaning of Liberalism:
- The word liberalism is derived form Latin word ‘liber’, which means ‘free’. Liberalism is such a doctrine that has undergone a change in its shape and scope from the first phase of its development till now.
- Generally, liberalism is more than a mere doctrine. It is a way of thinking through which the whole world is seen.
Origin and Evolution of Liberalism:
- Initially, there was a negative form of liberalism in the works of Locke, Bentham and Adam Smith. It was known as classic liberalism and individualism. In 19th century, John Stuart Mill provided its positive form. In 20th century, Laski and Mclver presented liberalism in its new form.
- Supporters of negative liberalism regarded a state as a necessary evil, whereas the advocates of positive liberalism thought a state to be good entity and after 20th century, the state was considered to be a necessary institution.
- A doctrine of liberalism stresses on freedom and rights of an individual. In this doctrine, the state is only a means whereas the individual is an accomplishment.
- Constitutionalism, rule of law, decentralization, democratic system, rights and freedom of citizen, judicial arrangements systems etc. are some of its features.
Nature of Liberalism:
- Glorious revolution of England in 1688, French revolution of 1789 and the American freedom struggle in 1776 have played a remarkable role in the development of liberalism. In fact, liberalism is a belief for freedom and rights of an individual.
- Montesque gave a new principle of ‘separation of powers’ by giving administrative responsibilities to different institutions.
- As per the argument of John Locke, political works are limited and hence, political power should be limited.
- Adam Smith and Benthem were proponents of non-interference of the state.
Form of Liberalism:
Two forms of liberalism :
- Traditional or classical liberalism
- Modern liberalism
Characteristics of traditional or classical liberalism :
- Religion is an integral and personal matter of an individual.
- Stress on individual freedom.
- Advocates for limited states.
- Unity in social structure.
- Support to personal wealth.
Characteristics of modern liberalism :
- Advocates for public welfare state.
- Control on the private properties and tax to be levied upon capitalists.
According to Herbert Spencer, previously liberalism meant to reduce the powers of the state, and in future, the work of liberalism will be to lessen the powers of the state legislative’s.
- After Locke, many liberal thinkers like Bentham, Thomas Paine, Montesque, Rousseau gave new progress to liberalism.
- As a result of liberalism, the American declaration of Independence 1776, and Human Rights of France in 1779 became possible.
- 17th and 18th centuries are known as traditional liberalism.
Characteristics of Negative Liberalism:
- The characteristics of negative liberalism are – stress more on individualism, freedom from the chains of religion and culture of medieval period, personal freedom of individuals and belief in spiritual equality.
- Belief in the wish of liberty of man, liberty of choice, life, independence and property.
Liberalism and Philosophy of Locke:
- According to the philosophy of john Locke on liberalism, the origin of the state came into being on the social agreement for the defence of human rights :
- According to Locke, the best government is one which governs the least. As such, the state is a necessary evil.
- In economic area, liberalism tells about capitalism on the basis of free trade and commerce in accordance with the agreements made.
- Negative liberalism restricts any control and interference in capitalist economy.
Criticism of Negative Liberalism:
- The doctrine of a limited state under negative liberalism is averse to public welfare. Besides, it takes care of only old individuals.
- Culturally, negative liberalism makes an individual rude and indisciplined, which is not good for the society.
Modem and Contemporary Liberalism:
- After second world war, positive liberalism came into existence which emphasised the formation of welfare state. It underlines all round development of persons/citizens by way of granting equal opportunities and full liberty.
- Modern positive liberalism advocates for universal adult franchise, impartial election process and wider political participation.
- Contrary to the revolutionary methods, the modern form of liberalism has faith in amendments and peaceful and continuous changes in social sphere. It stresses on mixed economic system in place of market economy.
Modem and contemporary liberalism:
- It makes the state powerful so that the poor can be suppressed in the name of political validity.
- This conviction is totally related to capitalism. Its social justice is a showy.
- It stresses on status – quo.
Important dates and the events given in the Chapter:
RBSE Class 12 Political Science Notes Chapter 8 Important Terms
- Liberalism : This belief stresses on personal independence, thinking of an individual as being a rational creature. John Locke is regarded as father of liberalism.
- Renaissance : In fact, it was a cultural revolution in Europe in medieval time which spread from Italy to the entire Europe. The time of its spread is regarded from 14th to 17th centuries.
- Religious Reform Movements : It was a great revolution of 16th century because of which, the unity of western Christians was dismantled and then there was the birth of Protestantism.
- Aristrocracy : This tradition was in force during medieval period in England and Europe. There were many territories with the king being on the top of the hierarchy. Feudal Lords under the patronage of the king enjoyed their control on
- the vast areas of land with the help of military. They also played an important role in administrative affairs.
- Individualism : It is a moral, political and social philosophy which advocates for freedom and self-reliance of an individual. Smith, Spencer and Mill were its proponents. Supporters of this thought referred the state as necessary evil.
- Constitutionalism : A general meaning of constitutionalism is that powers of a state are governed by a constitution and this also decides the limits of the governance.
- Decentralization : When in place of one stage, power in delegated at different tiers, then it is called decentralisation of power.
- Glorious Revolution : Glorious Revolution took place in England in 1688. it is also called bloodless revolution because it did not cause any bloodshed or violence. This revolution was the result of the challenge given to the supreme seat of parliament by James II.
- Divine Principle : This is the ancient theory of the origin of a state. According to this principle, the advent of a state is because of divine will, and the state is governed directly or indirectly by divine wish only.
- Power Segregation : Under this system, the responsibility of a state in classified into different stages. In general, this division is done in the form of legislatives, executives and judiciary.
- Montesque (1689-1755) : Montesque was a political thinker of France. He subscribed to the principle of segregation of power.
- John Locke (1632-1704) : He was an English philosopher and political thinker. He is considered as the father of liberalism.
- Adam Smith (1723-1790) : He was a Scottish planner, philosopher and political economist.He is also called father of economics. His main work is “ The wealth of nations’. According to this, capital can optionally be used for the welfare of an individual and for the state to have minimal intervention. ‘
- Bentham (1748-1832) : He was a jurist, philosopher, lawyer and political thinker of England. He was a staunch supporter of ‘Utilitarianism’ and was averse to natural rights. The essence of Utilitarianism was that “optimum pleasure for maximum persons”.
- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) : He was a famous economist, social and political thinker. He advocated personal freedom and also encouraged the principle of free trade.
- Laski (1893-1950) : He was a political theorist, economist and writer of Britain. He was also a strong supporter of individual liberty. He was the president of British Labour party.
- Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) : He was an English philosopher, Bio scientist, socialist and a famous traditional liberalist and politician.
- Rousseau (1712-1778 A.D) : He was a French philosopher and individualism thinker. In French revolution, his doctrine played a vital role. His famous work was ‘Social Contract’. His famous saying is “Man is born free but everywhere in chains”.