Classical liberalism focuses on individual freedom; contemporary liberalism focuses more on social infrastructure and an expanded definition of human rights. Liberalism is considered the standard left-wing position in the United States. However, it is considered more right-wing in some nations.Know More
Before the 20th century, the definition of liberal was similar to modern libertarianism. There was a strong emphasis on industry, which created many of the jobs at the time, and on human rights. However, liberals were not as opposed to regulations as libertarians, and they were not opposed to somewhat large governments.
Through the years, liberalism changed to take on some aspects of socialism. In addition, liberals spoke out on a wider range of what they considered to be human rights. Liberal activism led to women being given the right to vote, and liberals campaigned for stronger worker unions to improve job safety. This new liberalism placed less of an emphasis on industry.
In the middle of the 20th century, liberalism changed again, and many embraced what some call "new liberalism." The civil rights movement in the United States and radical politics in the 1960s encouraged a new brand of thinking. Environmental policy became a top issue, and many liberals made anti-war policies a part of their political philosophy.Learn more about Political Parties
Progressives were reformers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who believed in creating a "new" America, a new order to replace the old order that didn't have to deal with the economic, political and cultural changes borne from the shift from an agrarian society to an urban society. The Industrial Revolution and modern capitalism brought social ills that the Progressive movement sought to ease, believing that the democratic ideals and social justice espoused by ideals of the Founding Fathers could co-exist in this new world.Full Answer >
The central belief of Progressivism was that concerted effort was necessary to cure the social, political and economic ills affecting Americans society around the turn of the 20th century. These ills had largely been brought on by the rapid, abrupt developments of industrialization and unchecked capitalism.Full Answer >
Also referred to as the people’s party, the Populists believed more power should be given to the government. The Populists were an independent political party of middle class activists that consisted of farmers and laborers.Full Answer >
Socialists believe in an economic system that promotes common property ownership and a political hierarchy government. Under socialism, people in positions of authority make the decisions for the collective group, according to About.com. Although far less intrusive, socialism is often confused with communism. The difference is that communism encompasses both the economic and political systems, whereas socialism is more subtle and flexible, and usually applies only to economic systems.Full Answer >