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Broadly speaking, liberty is the
ability
ability
to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fu ...

freedom
. In modern politics, liberty is the state of being free within society from control or oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behaviour, or political views. In philosophy, liberty involves
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation ...

free will
as contrasted with
determinism Determinism is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the ...
. In
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
, liberty is freedom from the effects of "sin, spiritual servitude,
r
r
worldly ties". Sometimes liberty is differentiated from freedom by using the word "freedom" primarily, if not exclusively, to mean the ability to do as one wills and what one has the power to do; and using the word "liberty" to mean the absence of arbitrary restraints, taking into account the rights of all involved. In this sense, the exercise of liberty is subject to capability and limited by the rights of others.Mill, J. S. (1869)
"Chapter I: Introductory"
''On Liberty''.
Thus liberty entails the
responsible
responsible
use of freedom under the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
without depriving anyone else of their freedom. Freedom is more broad in that it represents a total lack of restraint or the unrestrained ability to fulfill one's desires. For example, a person can have the freedom to murder, but not have the liberty to murder, as the latter example deprives others of their right not to be harmed. Liberty can be taken away as a form of punishment. In many countries, people can be deprived of their liberty if they are convicted of criminal acts. The word "liberty" is often used in slogans, such as "
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in P ...
" or "
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
". Liberty originates from the Latin word , derived from the name of the goddess
Libertas Libertas (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Libertas
, who, along with more modern personifications, is often used to portray the concept, and the archaic Roman god
Liber In and , Liber ( , ; "the free one"), also known as Liber Pater ("the free Father"), was a god of and wine, fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's and was part of their . His festival of (March 17) became associated with ...

Liber
.


Philosophy

Philosophers from earliest times have considered the question of liberty. Roman Emperor
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a from 161 to 180 and a philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the (a term coined some 13 centuries later by ), and the last emperor of the (27 BC to 180 AD), ...

Marcus Aurelius
(121–180 AD) wrote: According to
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an , considered to be one of the founders of modern . Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ', in which he expounds an influential form ...
(1588–1679):
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism Liberalism is a ...

John Locke
(1632–1704) rejected that definition of liberty. While not specifically mentioning Hobbes, he attacks Sir Robert Filmer who had the same definition. According to Locke:
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as ...
(1806–1873), in his work, ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'', was the first to recognize the difference between liberty as the freedom to act and liberty as the absence of coercion. In his book ''
Two Concepts of Liberty "Two Concepts of Liberty" was the inaugural lecture A lecture (from the French ''lecture'', meaning reading) is an oral presentation intended to present information or teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university ...
'',
Isaiah Berlin Sir Isaiah Berlin (6 June 1909 – 5 November 1997) was a Latvian-born British social and political theorist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , ...
formally framed the differences between two perspectives as the distinction between two opposite concepts of liberty:
positive liberty Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's free will, as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint on one's actions.Berlin, Isaiah. ''Four Essays on Liberty''. 1969. A concept of positive libert ...
and
negative liberty Negative liberty is freedom from interference by other people. Negative liberty is primarily concerned with freedom from external restraint and contrasts with positive liberty Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's ...
. The latter designates a negative condition in which an individual is protected from
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
and the
arbitrary Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle". It is also used to refer to a choice made without any specific criterion or restraint. Arbitrary decisions are not necessar ...
exercise of
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
, while the former refers to the liberty that comes from self-mastery, the freedom from inner compulsions such as weakness and fear.


Politics


History

The modern concept of political liberty has its origins in the Greek concepts of freedom and slavery. To be free, to the Greeks, was not to have a master, to be independent from a master (to live as one likes). That was the original Greek concept of freedom. It is closely linked with the concept of democracy, as Aristotle put it: :"This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality." This applied only to free men. In Athens, for instance, women could not vote or hold office and were legally and socially dependent on a male relative. The populations of the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...

Persian Empire
enjoyed some degree of freedom. Citizens of all
religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...

religion
s and
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
s were given the same rights and had the same
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freed ...
, women had the same rights as men, and
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
was abolished (550 BC). All the palaces of the kings of Persia were built by paid workers in an era when slaves typically did such work. In the
Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human h ...
of
ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by mod ...
, citizens of all religions and ethnic groups had some rights to
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and bein ...
, tolerance, and equality. The need for tolerance on an
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hu ...
basis can be found in the
Edicts An edict is a decree or announcement of a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced ...
of
Ashoka the Great Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...
, which emphasize the importance of tolerance in public policy by the government. The slaughter or capture of
prisoners of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), co ...
also appears to have been condemned by Ashoka. Slavery also appears to have been non-existent in the Maurya Empire. However, according to Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, "Ashoka's orders seem to have been resisted right from the beginning."
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
also embraced certain limited forms of liberty, even under the rule of the Roman Emperors. However, these liberties were accorded only to
Roman citizens Citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its c ...
. Many of the liberties enjoyed under Roman law endured through the Middle Ages, but were enjoyed solely by the
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
, rarely by the common man. The idea of inalienable and universal liberties had to wait until the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
.


Social contract

The
social contract In moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
theory, most influentially formulated by
Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first sp ...
,
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism Liberalism is a ...

John Locke
and
Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, ; ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Rousseau
(though first suggested by Plato in '' The Republic''), was among the first to provide a political classification of
rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is desc ...
, in particular through the notion of
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
and of
natural rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental Fundamental may refer to: * Found ...
. The thinkers of the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
reasoned
reasoned
that
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
governed both heavenly and human affairs, and that law gave the
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
his power, rather than the king's power giving force to law. This conception of law would find its culmination in the ideas of
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and po ...

Montesquieu
. The conception of law as a relationship between individuals, rather than families, came to the fore, and with it the increasing focus on individual liberty as a fundamental reality, given by "
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...

Nature
and
Nature's God
Nature's God
," which, in the
ideal state
ideal state
, would be as universal as possible. In ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'',
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as ...
sought to define the "...nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual," and as such, he describes an inherent and continuous antagonism between liberty and authority and thus, the prevailing question becomes "how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control".


Origins of political freedom


England and Great Britain

England (and, following the
Act of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Act of Parliament, Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put ...
, Great Britain), laid down the cornerstones of the concept of individual liberty. In 1066 as a condition of his coronation
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
assented to the London Charter of Liberties which guaranteed the "Saxon" liberties of the
City of London The City of London is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

City of London
. In 1100 the
Charter of Liberties The Charter of Liberties, also called the Coronation Charter, was a written proclamation by Henry I of England Henry I (c. 1068 – 1 December 1135), also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He wa ...

Charter of Liberties
is passed which sets out certain liberties of nobles, church officials and individuals. In 1166
Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. He was the first king of the House of Plantagenet. ...

Henry II of England
transformed English law by passing the
Assize of Clarendon The Assize of Clarendon was an act of Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1 ...
. The act, a forerunner to trial by jury, started the abolition of trial by combat and trial by ordeal. 1187-1189 sees the publication of
Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Anglie The (''Treatise on the Laws and Customs of the Kingdom of England''), often called ''Glanvill treatise'', is the earliest treatise A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in g ...
which contains authoritative definitions of freedom and servitude: In 1215
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
was enacted, arguably becoming the cornerstone of liberty in first England, then Great Britain, and later the world. In 1628 the English Parliament passed the
Petition of Right The Petition of Right, passed on 7 June 1628, is an English constitutional document setting out specific individual protections against the state, reportedly of equal value to Magna Carta ( Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freed ...

Petition of Right
which set out specific liberties of English subjects. In 1679 the English Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act which outlawed unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment. In 1689 the
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental ...
granted "freedom of speech in Parliament", and reinforced many existing
civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', ...
in England. The Scots law equivalent the Claim of Right is also passed. In 1772 the
Somerset v Stewart Somerset (; archaically Somersetshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain ...
judgement found that slavery was unsupported by common law in England and Wales. In 1859 an essay by the philosopher John Stuart Mill, entitled ''
On Liberty ''On Liberty'' is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, p ...
'', argued for toleration and individuality. "If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility." In 1958 ''
Two Concepts of Liberty "Two Concepts of Liberty" was the inaugural lecture A lecture (from the French ''lecture'', meaning reading) is an oral presentation intended to present information or teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university ...
'', by
Isaiah Berlin Sir Isaiah Berlin (6 June 1909 – 5 November 1997) was a Latvian-born British social and political theorist, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , ...
, identified "negative liberty" as an obstacle, as distinct from "positive liberty" which promotes self-mastery and the concepts of freedom. In 1948 British representatives attempted to but were prevented from adding a legal framework to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
. (It was not until 1976 that the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the c ...
came into force, giving a legal status to most of the Declaration.)


United States

According to the 1776
United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies in America which united in the American Re ...

United States Declaration of Independence
, all men have a
natural right Natural rights and legal rights are the two basic types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental rights, fundamental'' an ...
to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". But this declaration of liberty was troubled from the outset by the institutionalization of legalized Black slavery. Slave owners argued that their liberty was paramount since it involved property, their slaves, and that Blacks had no rights that any White man was obliged to recognize. The Supreme Court, in the
Dred Scott Dred Scott (c. 1799 – September 17, 1858) was an enslaved African-American man in the United States who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife, Harriet Robinson Scott, and their two daughters in the ''Dred Scott v. Sandford ...

Dred Scott
decision, upheld this principle. It was not until 1866, following the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, that the US Constitution was amended to extend these rights to persons of color, and not until 1920 that these rights were extended to women. By the later half of the 20th century, liberty was expanded further to prohibit government interference with personal choices. In the United States Supreme Court decision ''
Griswold v. Connecticut ''Griswold v. Connecticut'', 381 U.S. 479 (1965), was a landmark decision Landmark court decisions, in present-day common law legal systems, establish precedents that determine a significant new legal principle or concept, or otherwise substantia ...
'', Justice argued that liberties relating to personal relationships, such as marriage, have a unique primacy of place in the hierarchy of freedoms. Jacob M. Appel has summarized this principle: In modern America, various competing ideologies have divergent views about how best to promote liberty.
Liberals Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...

Liberals
in the original sense of the word see equality as a necessary component of freedom.
Progressives Progressivism is a political philosophy in support of social reform. Based on the idea of progress in which advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition, ...
stress freedom from business monopoly as essential.
Libertarian Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and funda ...

Libertarian
s disagree, and see economic freedom as best. The
Tea Party movement The Tea Party movement was an American fiscally conservative Fiscal conservatism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other fo ...
sees the undefined "big government" as the enemy of freedom.


France

France supported the Americans in their revolt against English rule and, in 1789, their own monarchy, with the cry of "Liberté, égalité, fraternité". The bloodbath that followed, known as the
reign of terror The Reign of Terror, commonly called The Terror (french: link=no, la Terreur), was a period of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Br ...
, soured many people on the idea of liberty. Edmund Burke, considered one of the fathers of
conservatism Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, kno ...
, wrote "The French had shewn themselves the ablest architects of ruin that had hitherto existed in the world."


Ideologies


Liberalism

According to the ''Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics'', liberalism is "the belief that it is the aim of politics to preserve individual rights and to maximize
freedom of choice Freedom of choice describes an individual's wikt:opportunity, opportunity and autonomy to perform an action selected from at least two available options, unconstrained by external parties. In politics In the abortion debate, for example, the ter ...

freedom of choice
". But they point out that there is considerable discussion about how to achieve those goals. Every discussion of freedom depends on three key components: who is free, what they are free to do, and what forces restrict their freedom. John Gray argues that the core belief of liberalism is toleration. Liberals allow others freedom to do what they want, in exchange for having the same freedom in return. This idea of freedom is personal rather than political. William Safire points out that liberalism is attacked by both the Right and the Left: by the Right for defending such practices as abortion, homosexuality, and atheism, and by the Left for defending free enterprise and the rights of the individual over the collective.


Libertarianism

According to the ''Encyclopædia Britannica'',
libertarians Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of ...
hold liberty as their primary political value. Their approach to implementing liberty involves opposing any governmental coercion, aside from that which is necessary to prevent individuals from coercing each other.


Republican liberty

According to republican theorists of freedom, like the historian
Quentin Skinner Quentin Robert Duthie Skinner (born 1940) is a British intellectual historian Intellectual history (also the history of ideas) is the study of the history of human thought and of intellectuals, people who conceptualize, discuss, write about, an ...
or the philosopher
Philip Pettit Philip Noel Pettit (born 1945) is an Irish philosopher and political theorist. He is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University Princeton University is a private university, priva ...

Philip Pettit
, one's liberty should not be viewed as the absence of interference in one's actions, but as non-domination. According to this view, which originates in the Roman
Digest Digest may refer to: In biology: *Digestion of food *Restriction digest In literature or publication: *''The Digest'', formerly the English and Empire Digest *Digest size magazine format *Digest (Roman law), ''Digest'' (Roman law), also known as ...
, to be a ''liber homo'', a free man, means not being subject to another's arbitrary will, that is to say, dominated by another. They also cite who asserted that you must be a member of a free self-governing civil association, a republic, if you are to enjoy individual liberty. The predominance of this view of liberty among parliamentarians during the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governance and issues of re ...
resulted in the creation of the liberal concept of freedom as non-interference in Thomas Hobbes'
Leviathan Leviathan (; , ) is a sea serpent A sea serpent or sea dragon is a type of dragon A dragon is a large, snake, serpentine, legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Beliefs about dragons vary consid ...
.


Socialism

Socialists view freedom as a concrete situation as opposed to a purely abstract ideal. Freedom is a state of being where individuals have
agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavior (Am ...
to pursue their creative interests unhindered by coercive social relationships, specifically those they are forced to engage in as a requisite for survival under a given social system. Freedom thus requires both the material economic conditions that make freedom possible alongside social relationships and institutions conducive to freedom. The socialist conception of freedom is closely related to the socialist view of creativity and individuality. Influenced by
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
's concept of alienated labor, socialists understand freedom to be the ability for an individual to engage in creative work in the absence of alienation, where "alienated labor" refers to work people are forced to perform and un-alienated work refers to individuals pursuing their own creative interests.


Marxism

For Karl Marx, meaningful freedom is only attainable in a
communist society In Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern societi ...
characterized by superabundance and free access. Such a social arrangement would eliminate the need for alienated labor and enable individuals to pursue their own creative interests, leaving them to develop and maximize their full potentialities. This goes alongside Marx's emphasis on the ability of socialism and communism progressively reducing the average length of the workday to expand the "realm of freedom", or discretionary free time, for each person. Marx's notion of communist society and human freedom is thus radically individualistic.''Karl Marx on Equality'', by Woods, Allen. http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/docs/IO/19808/Allen-Wood-Marx-on-Equality.pdf: "A society that has transcended class antagonisms, therefore, would not be one in which some truly universal interest at last reigns, to which individual interests must be sacrificed. It would instead be a society in which individuals freely act as the truly human individuals they are. Marx's radical communism was, in this way, also radically individualistic."


Anarchism

While many anarchists see freedom slightly differently, all oppose authority, including the authority of the state, of capitalism, and of nationalism. For the Russian revolutionary anarchist
Mikhail Bakunin Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (; – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to somethi ...

Mikhail Bakunin
, liberty did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a
positive Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Converging lens or positive lens, in optics * Plus sign, the sign "+" used to indicate a positive number * Positive (electricity), a po ...
sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."


Cultural prerequisites

Some authors have suggested that a virtuous culture must exist as a prerequisite for liberty. Benjamin Franklin stated that "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Madison likewise declared: "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea." John Adams acknowledged: "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."John R. Howe, Jr., The Changing Political Thought of John Adams 165 (1966) (quoting from John Adams' "Reply to the Massachusetts Militia," Oct. 11, 1789).


Historical writings on liberty

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See also

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Civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgat ...
*
Free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake ( ...

Free will
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Gratis versus Libre upRichard Stallman illustrating his famous sentence "Think free as in free speech, not free beer" with a beer glass. Libre_Software_Meeting.html"_;"title="Brussels,_Libre_Software_Meeting">RMLL,_9_July_2013 The_English_language.html" ;"titl ...
* ''
Liberté, égalité, fraternité ''Liberté, égalité, fraternité'' (), French language, French for "liberty, Social equality, equality, Fraternity (philosophy), fraternity", is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti, and is an example of a tripartite motto. ...
'' *
Liberty (personification) The concept of liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability ...
*
List of freedom indices This article contains a list of freedom indices produced by several non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at ...
* Political freedom * Real freedom * Rule according to higher law


References


Bibliography

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External links

* * {{Authority control Concepts in ethics Concepts in metaphysics Free will Happiness Libertarian theory, Liberty symbols, Political concepts Social concepts Virtue