Enlightenment philosophers unanimously excoriated all elements of the corporate society, which was ruled by landed elites wedded to the feudal ethos of conquest and the subsequent hoarding of resources. The foundations of liberalism were laid by the science of political economy, developed in the eighteenth century on the new assumption that reason and enlightened self-interest guided a humanity recently arrived at the Age of Reason, after centuries of blinding prejudices. To the feudal order based on landed wealth, mercantile economics, and aggressive policies of conquest, eighteenth-century liberals opposed trade-generated wealth, free-market economics, and peaceful commercial relations between all nations. The nineteenth-century disciples of the classical political economists went one step further and theorized that rational self-interest provided the maximum of individual freedom and the best guarantee of social peace at the same time.
Many of the world's political systems are based on the values and concepts evident in liberalism. Historically, the ideals of liberalism were revolutionary especially during the time of this ideology's emergence.
However, in order to fully comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of liberalism it is necessary to examine Liberalism and colonialism preceding form of rule; colonialism. Colonialism from a modern standpoint is considered to be a "system of domination" Colonialism, pg 4.
Generally it is viewed as a system of rule that resulted in the destruction of land, people and cultures; the disastrous effects of which are still echoing around the world. However, I will argue that even though liberalism and colonialism have several significant differences; there are few similarities between the two.
The similarities between liberalism and colonialism constitute conflicts within liberalism and these conflicts are evident in today's political structures. The purpose of liberalism was to promote individual freedom and equality, yet some of the presuppositions of liberalism were based on the inequalities of colonialism.
To prove this the following will compare and contrast colonialism and liberalism by examining in each the definitions of the forms of rule and how they emerged, the central focus core conceptsas well as the assumptions and contradictions both entail. In terms of definition liberalism and colonialism Liberalism and colonialism so starkly different it seems almost impossible to conceive of any similarities between the two.
According to Osterhammel the definition of colonialism is: The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonized people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population, the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule" Osterhammel, p The basis of colonialism is a system of inequality, participants seek out weaker states and "uncivilized" peoples and strip them of their culture, rights and in many cases subject them to slavery for economic gain.
An example of this would be the promise of slaves by France to encourage settlers of New France. Colonialism emerged with the breakdown of feudalism in the fourteenth century. During this time period crusades were under way and this led to opening routes of travel for Europeans.
These routes led Europeans to the discovery of the "New World". In turn, this discovery led to conquest and the forced application of European government to the "New World".
A point that is interesting to note and will be discussed further at a later point is that during the period of colonial rule, a simultaneous emergence of the nation-state is occurring Treaty of Westphalia - as well as the resulting "territorially bound sovereignty" Lecture Notes, Wk. However, the ideal of sovereignty appears to be applicable only to European states, this is evident in the fact the colonialism remained ever rampant at this time.
During the emergence of the nation-state the fact that colonialism was occurring was completely ignored. Also occurring is the rise of Royal Absolutism which was encouraged by the processes of colonialism. Nevertheless, the principles of the Treaty of Westphalia are a basis for emerging liberal ideologies at this time.
In contrast to colonialism, the definition of liberalism according to Held was used to "signify the attempt to uphold the values of freedom of choice, reason and toleration in the face of tyranny, the absolutist system and religious intolerance," Held, p Later on in the discussion Held adds to this definition that "liberalism became associated with the doctrine that individuals should be free to pursue their own preferences in religious, economic and political affairs- in fact, in most matters that affected everyday life.
In addition to the introduction of sovereignty a major factor in the emergence of liberalism was the separation of religion and the state. With the surfacing of absolutism and the idea of the monarch having divine right which was based on the law of God; abuses of power began to take place.
This resulted in the spark of the French Revolution which caused new ways of thinking about religion. Also, the Absolutist regime had grown to the point where former methods of control coercion were no longer efficient. This required "participation by powerful groups in the process of government itself" Held, p This resulted in the need for a secular system of power.
The numerous conflicts between religious groups that was occurring during the sixteenth century and which led to the Thirty Years War, emphasized this need. These continuous religious struggles caused a heightened awareness in Europe of the necessity of change in the political system and social structure.
Other issues which came under scrutiny were those of natural rights which were analyzed as a result of treatment of indigenous peoples under colonialism. The issue of individualism began to emerge during this time as well, and led to the conclusion that this principle could not be applied with a government that was closely linked to religion, again reinforcing the need for separation of state and religion.
The call for a secular and sovereign political system gave rise to new forms of political thought and liberal values were put into play. In relation to the emergence and definitions of colonialism and liberalism, the main aspects of comparison thus far would be that liberalism actually emerged while colonialism was still a form of rule.
In addition to this, a point that will be discussed further later on would be that both forms of rule only intended to apply any new principles of political thought to Europe.
Because colonialism entails applying European forms of government to colonies; looking ahead it is unfair that theIn the context of debates about liberalism and colonialism, the arguments of Adam Smith have been taken as illustrative of an important line of anti-colonial liberal thought.
The reading of Smith presented here challenges this interpretation. It argues that Smith’s opposition to colonial rule derived largely from its impact on the metropole, rather than on its impact on the conquered and.
Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. One of the difficulties in defining colonialism is that it is hard to distinguish it from imperialism.
Liberal philosophy grew out of the Enlightenment’s preoccupation with freedom, which led to intense efforts to find the right balance between the social need for order and the individual’s natural liberties. Enlightenment philosophers unanimously excoriated all elements of the corporate [ ].
Colonialism is the policy of a foreign polity seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, Liberalism, capitalism and colonialism.
Classical liberals were generally in abstract opposition to colonialism (as opposed to colonization). The third section focuses on liberalism and the fourth section briefly discusses the Marxist tradition, including Marx’s own defense of British colonialism in India and Lenin’s anti-imperialist writings.
Liberalism and colonialism: a critique of Locke and Mill Bhikhu Parekh Liberalism is both egalitarian and inegalitarian, it stresses both the unity of mankind and the hierarchy of cultures, it is both tolerant and intolerant, peaceful and violent, pragmatic and dogmatic, skeptical and self-righteous.