Introduction: The Definition of Classical Liberalism

An update on a similarly named 1998 Foreign Policy article by Stephen Walt. Snyder provides his take on the basic principles of liberalism and compares them to the basic principles of the other major schools of thought in international relations theory. Perfect brief overview of both liberalism and international relations theory in general.

Liberalism | Definition of Liberalism by Merriam-Webster

CooperationLet's define each spectrum, and see where liberalism and conservatismreside on them.
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Neoliberalism: origins, theory, definition - InterNLnet

Argues that the basic realist assumption of anarchy is flawed. Examines different conceptions of anarchy to show that there is disagreement among realists on the very definition of the term; then questions the realist separation of domestic and international politics.

CorpWatch : What is Neoliberalism?

An accessible and heavily cited work from one of the originators of modern liberal theory. Doyle examines Schumpeter, Machiavelli, and Kant and finds that liberal states are somehow different in foreign affairs. He argues that there is both liberal pacifism and liberal imperialism, and that they are rooted in different conceptions of man versus the state. Provides a good overview of liberal theory.

Libertarians take this opposition to an extreme.Spectrum Four: Equality vs.
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Liberalism Synonyms, Liberalism Antonyms | …

This chronology admittedly cannot discuss every contributor or school of thought in such a multi-dimensional and lasting tradition. For example, the contributions of Lysander Spooner and the 19th century American anarchists or Albert Jay Nock and the American Old Right could easily have been included. I have made an effort to note leaders that symbolize the ideology's historical stages. The absence of names or works does not necessarily signify any defensible judgment of importance. This treatment is meant to provide a general introduction to the rise, decline, and reemergence of classical liberalism and therefore is limited by space and purpose. As the decision to include and omit facts was difficult and, to a degree, arbitrary, I beg the indulgence of the reader as I begin this historical overview.

Paranoid-schizoid position: Definition - melanie klein …

Any single attempt to chronicle the history of classical liberalism cannot do justice to the immense richness and diversity of the individuals or movements within it. In this story three distinct flavors coexist and often blend: the realistic English tradition of law, the rationalistic French tradition of humanism, and the organic German tradition of individualism. Gray characterizes these three as competing yet complementary definitions of liberty, with Britain representing independence, France self-rule, and Germany self-realization (13). Beyond these national differences, two parallel concepts survive throughout the history of classical liberalism irrespective of geographical boundaries. One is predicated upon a negative view of human nature, accepting that people are equally fallen and incapable of perfection. It follows from this perspective that power must be limited because it would allow some corrupt individuals to do more harm than others. The other view maintains that all people are inherently good and perfectible, so power must be limited to allow humanity to evolve toward a more perfect order of self-government.

One Response to Contemporary Liberalism Defined.

Moravcsik, Andrew. “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Relations.” International Organization 51.4 (September 1997): 513–553. DOI:

Introduction: The Definition of Classical Liberalism

This section contains overviews of liberal IR theory as a whole, as well as particularly important aspects of liberal IR theory. provides the most basic overview of liberal theory and contrasts it with realism and constructivism. is an excellent collection of excerpts from major liberal works, though it is not limited to liberal theory. For an in-depth discussion of liberalism, accessible for the undergraduate, see . provides an article-length overview of liberal theory and its influence on foreign affairs. is a lengthy discussion of what liberal theory is, and in it Moravcsik differentiates liberal theory from “neoliberal theory.” shows that both domestic politics and international politics affect policy outcomes. effectively justifies liberal theory by arguing that the basic assumption of an anarchic international system is flawed. is an edited volume that contains the work of major scholars on how cooperation under anarchy, a lynchpin of liberal IR theory, is possible.

Liberalism - International Relations - Oxford …

We all know theold adage: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Liberals acknowledge the value of all three corners of this system.