preview

New Liberalism

Better Essays
New Liberalism

Old liberalism, otherwise know as classical or Gladstonian liberalism

was centred around the fundamental rights of the individual. It was an

ideology that the state should have little to no intervention in

people’s lives and in the economy. It relied heavily upon the notion

of laissez faire, and the Victorian mindset of self-help. Thrift was

one of these ideas. It was the theory that any family could support

itself if that income was managed wisely, and a pension could be saved

for. The key pillars of old liberalism was low taxes and low state

intervention. This was because they believed that the people should be

able to spend their money as they wised, and not be forced to send it

in taxes. The second principle of low state intervention was born out

of the thought that “state intervention in the working of the market

was both futile and wrong” especially reforms such as social

intervention, which would require public expenditure. Classical

liberalism was therefore based on personal liberty. If people were

believed to be able to help themselves as long as they worked hard

enough, then the state did not need to intervene and therefore peoples

liberties to choose how they spent there earned money was their

freedom. The government was restricted to removing obstacles to

entrepreneurship and providing a very basic social service, such as

the postal system, which they preferred to be funded by public

donation than state funds. However if old liberalism was working, how

did new liberalism manage to evolve. Towards the late 19th century

political thought and theory was at an all time high, while conversely

Britain’s econom...

... middle of paper ...

...couraged

and so rewarded with lighter taxes, while unproductive wealth passed

down through inheritances was taxed much more heavily. Old and New

Liberalism to share some similarities, but then perhaps that is why it

is called old and new liberalism, rather than liberalism and

socialism. New liberalism was an update of old liberalism, making it

acceptable to the new generation of Edwardians and building upon the

changing public perception of moral acceptance as well as responding

to political pressure. The scale of which the liberals embraced it

with their reforms was indeed radical for the time, but was an

extension of experiments such as the happenings in Birmingham. New

liberalism therefore could be thought of as new when in the context of

Liberalism, but when put into the context of Britain was merely an

update.
Get Access