Here is the book's front cover:
And here is the description of the book from its back cover:
“Classical Liberalism is a must read. For one thing, readers should not deprive themselves of the pure enjoyment of this engaging and clear-minded narrative of a broad swath of history. For another, anyone concerned about the state of democratic civil society in the West, and worried about its future, cannot afford to neglect this disarming analysis.”
- Prof. Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Syracuse University
According to conventional historians, liberalism went through two phases, laissez-faire liberalism and modern liberalism.
This book rediscovers a lost tradition of liberal thought and shows that liberalism went through three phases.
- Classical liberalism believed in positive freedom, the right of people to manage their own affairs and to govern themselves.
- Victorian liberalism had two aspects. One of these two is well known: laissez-faire liberalism accommodated the industrial economy by inventing the ideal of negative freedom, the notion that freedom is nothing more than absence of government control. But there was also a more idealistic aspect of Victorian liberalism, which grew out of classical liberalism but which is largely forgotten today.
- Modernist liberalism kept the laissez-faire idea of negative freedom but applied it to a narrow realm of personal behavior. It expected centralized organizations to make important decisions, so it believed that individuals could only have personal freedom.