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Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas

of libertyand equality.[1][2][3] The former principle is stressed in classical liberalism while the
latter is more evident in social liberalism.[4] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending
on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programs
such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil
rights, democratic societies,secular governments, and international cooperation.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it
became popular among philosophers and economistsin the Western world. Liberalism
rejected the prevailing social and political norms of hereditary privilege, state
religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The 17th-century
philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical
tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property,[12] while
adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract. Liberals
opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government
with representative democracy and the rule of law.

Prominent revolutionaries in the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, and


the French Revolution used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw
as tyrannical rule. Liberalism started to spread rapidly especially after the French Revolution.
The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, South
America, and North America.[13] In this period, the dominant ideological opponent of classical
liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism later survived major ideological challenges from
new opponents, such as fascism and communism. During the 20th century, liberal ideas
spread even further as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both
world wars. In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism became a
key component in the expansion of thewelfare state.[14][15] Today, liberal parties continue to
wield power and influence throughout the world.

Words such as liberal, liberty, libertarian, and libertine all trace their history to the Latin liber,
which means "free".[16] One of the first recorded instances of the word liberal occurs in 1375,
when it was used to describe the liberal arts in the context of an education desirable for a
free-born man.[16] The word's early connection with the classical education of a medieval
university soon gave way to a proliferation of different denotations and
connotations. Liberal could refer to "free in bestowing" as early as 1387, "made without stint"
in 1433, "freely permitted" in 1530, and "free from restraint" – often as a pejorative remark – in
the 16th and the 17th centuries.[16] In 16th century England, liberal could have positive or
negative attributes in referring to someone's generosity or indiscretion.[16] In Much Ado About
Nothing, Shakespeare wrote of "a liberal villaine" who "hath...confest his vile
encounters".[16] With the rise of the Enlightenment, the word acquired decisively more positive
undertones, being defined as "free from narrow prejudice" in 1781 and "free from bigotry" in
1823.[16] In 1815, the first use of the word liberalism appeared in English.[17] In Spain,
the Liberales, the first group to use the liberallabel in a political context,[18] fought for the
implementation of the 1812 Constitution for decades. From 1820 to 1823, during the Trienio
Liberal, King Ferdinand VII was compelled by the liberales to swear to uphold the
Constitution. By the middle of the 19th century, liberal was used as a politicised term
for parties and movements all over the world.[19]

Over time, the meaning of the word "liberalism" began to diverge in different parts of the
world. According to theEncyclopedia Britannica, "In the United States, liberalism is associated
with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of
Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a
commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies."[20] Consequently, in
the U.S., the ideas of individualism and laissez-faire economics previously associated with
classical liberalism became the basis for the emerging school of libertarian thought.[21]

Liberalism in international relations

Liberalism is a school of thought within international relations theory which can be thought to
revolve around three interrelated principles: 1. Rejection of power politics as the only possible
outcome of international relations (IR). Questions security/warfare principles of realism
perspective; 2. Accentuates mutual benefits and international cooperation; 3. Implements
international organizations and nongovernmental actors for shaping state preferences and
policy choices[1]

Liberals believe that international institutions play a key role in cooperation among
states.[2] With the correct international institutions, and increasing interdependence (including
economic and cultural exchanges) states have the opportunity to reduce
conflict.[3] Interdependence has three main components. States interact in various ways,
through economic, financial, and cultural means; security tends to not be the primary goal in
state-to-state interactions; and military forces are not typically used.[4] Liberals also argue that
international diplomacy can be a very effective way to get states to interact with each other
honestly and support nonviolent solutions to problems.[5] With the proper institutions and
diplomacy, Liberals believe that states can work together to maximize prosperity and
minimize conflict. [6]

Liberalism is one of the main schools of international relations theory. Its roots lie in the
broader liberal thought originating in the Enlightenment. The central issues that it seeks to
address are the problems of achieving lasting peace and cooperation in international
relations, and the various methods that could contribute to their achievement.

Broad areas of study within liberal international relations theory include:

 The democratic peace theory, and, more broadly, the effect of domestic political regime
types and domestic politics on international relations;[7][8]
 The commercial peace theory, arguing that free trade has pacifying effects on international
relations. Current explorations of globalization andinterdependence are a broader
continuation of this line of inquiry;
 Institutional peace theory, which attempts to demonstrate how cooperation can be
sustained in anarchy, how long-term interests can be pursued over short-term interests,
and how actors may realize absolute gains instead of seeking relative gains;
 Related, the effect of international organizations on international politics, both in their role
as forums for states to pursue their interests, and in their role as actors in their own right;
 The role of international law in moderating or constraining state behavior;
 The effects of liberal norms on international politics, especially relations between liberal
states;
 The role of various types of unions in international politics (relations), such as highly
institutionalized alliances (e.g.NATO), confederations, leagues, federations, and evolving
entities like the European Union; and,
 The role, or potential role, of cosmopolitanism in transcending the state and affecting
international relations.