Classical liberalism

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Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology belonging to liberalism in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.


  • Classical liberalism and libertarianism are ultimately radical creeds.They foresee worlds that have never been rather than must necessarily be (dogmatic leftists) or never were (dogmatic rightists). Hayek closed The Constitution of Liberty with the thought that he was not a conservative and that his position, that of the true or classical liberal or libertarian, was as far from conservatism as from socialism.
    • Alan Ebenstein, Hayek's Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek (2003), Introduction
  • The classical liberals advocated policies to increase liberty and prosperity. They sought to empower the commercial class politically and to abolish royal charters, monopolies, and the protectionist policies of mercantilism so as to encourage entrepreneurship and increase productive efficiency. They also expected democracy and laissez-faire economics to diminish the frequency of war.
    • John R. Oneal and Bruce M. Russett, (1997). "The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict, 1950–1985". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (2): 267–294.

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