DMPQ- Discuss the factors contributed to the origin of liberalism in 19th century.

Several factors and writings of a number of persons contributed to the origin of their political ideology:

  • The collapse of feudalism is an important cause of the origin of liberalism. Let us explain it briefly. In the feudal period the feudal lords practically controlled the economy and politics along with the church and its fall opened the advent of capitalism and emergence of a middle class which aspired to have a positive role in politics.
  • Enlightenment is another factor of the growth of liberalism. The thinkers and philosophers of the Enlightenment period strongly advocated for the rational reconstruction of society so that the individuals can get enough freedom.
  • Two major events of the second half of the eighteenth century helped the emergence of liberalism. These two events are: Declaration of American Indepen­dence in 1776 and the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. Both these events furthered the progress of liberalism. American war of independence was not simply a war of the independence of a particular nation but a major war against colonialism which contained the seeds of liberalism. On the other hand, after the French Revolution, Declaration of Rights of Man heralded the collapse of autocratic rule in France and its wave spread to other parts of Europe and this accelerated the advent of liberalism.
  • Behind the birth of liberalism there was a very important role of John Locke (1632- 1704). Locke, by many, is regarded as the father of modern nationalism. His Two, Treatise of Government, A Letter Concerning Toleration are regarded by many as potential sources of liberalism. Gray says that Locke’s thought harbours a number of themes which confer a distinctive complexion on English liberalism that persists up to the time of John Stuart Mill.
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