Show Summary Details
Page of

date: 28 January 2022

p. 192. The liberal narrativelocked

p. 192. The liberal narrativelocked

  • Michael Freeden


Liberalism began as a movement to release people from the social and political shackles that constrained and frequently exploited them. ‘The liberal narrative’ considers the story of liberalism and the convergence of different movements of thought—individualism, utilitarianism, free trade, liberal nationalism, and social liberalism—that have produced an array of ideas that served to consolidate liberalism. Human beings—rather than nature, God, hierarchical and hereditary rulership, or the weight of history—were now firmly placed at the centre of the social universe. For liberals, liberty—whether that of individuals, markets, or communities—was the engine that made a wholesome society possible and that could stretch human imagination and experience to their very limits.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.