A person is described as a 'small-l liberal' if he or she holds liberal political views but is not necessarily a member of their country's Liberal Party.


What are liberal political views?
Liberalism is a political philosophy founded on ideas of liberty and equality.


Words such as 'liberal' come from the Latin word 'liber' which means 'free'.


Liberalism supports ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation.


Liberalism first became a distinct political movement in England around the 17th century when it was asserted that each individual has a natural right to life, liberty and property and that governments must not violate these rights.


Leaders in the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 in Britain, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal 'tyranny'. Liberalism spread rapidly and in the nineteenth century liberal governments were  established across Europe.


Over time the meaning of 'liberalism' began to diverge in different parts of the world. In the U.S., liberalism is associated with welfare-state policies. In Europe it is associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economics (leaving the economy to the market rather than government control).


Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica and various websites.


The information in this article has been taken from several reliable sources but does not necessarily reflect the views of UBT. No short article can cover a topic completely; it is not intended that you should rely on this information for business decisions.