Portal:Liberalism

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Portal:Liberalism

The Liberalism Portal

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom") is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but most liberals support such fundamental ideas as constitutions, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights, democratic capitalism, free trade, secular society, and the market economy. These ideas are often accepted even among political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the prevailing social and political norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy and the Divine Right of Kings. Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are classical liberalism, which became popular in the 18th century, and social liberalism, which became popular in the 20th century. In the United States, "liberal" generally refers specifically to social liberalism. Neoliberalism refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.
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Eleanor Roosevelt holding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. The Declaration represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are entitled. It consists of 30 articles which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws. The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols.

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John Bordley Rawls (February 21, 1921 – November 24, 2002) was an American moral and political philosopher. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University and the Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Oxford. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls's work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."

His magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971), was said at the time of its publication to be "the most important work in moral philosophy since the end of World War II", and is now regarded as "one of the primary texts in political philosophy". His work in political philosophy, dubbed Rawlsianism, takes as its starting point the argument that "the most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position". Rawls attempts to determine the principles of social justice by employing a number of thought experiments such as the famous original position in which everyone is impartially situated as equals behind a veil of ignorance. He is one of the major thinkers in the tradition of liberal political philosophy. According to English philosopher Jonathan Wolff, John Rawls was the most important political philosopher of the 20th century.

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John Dewey
John Dewey, The need for a new party II: Breakdown of the old order, 1931.
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The storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789
Credit: Dodo

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on the afternoon of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress, armory, and political prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris. The prison contained just seven inmates at the time of its storming but was a symbol of abuses by the monarchy; its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.

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