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Liberal World Orders$
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Tim Dunne and Trine Flockhart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265529

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265529.001.0001

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Theoretical Foundations of Liberal Order

Theoretical Foundations of Liberal Order

(p.173) Chapter 9 Theoretical Foundations of Liberal Order
Liberal World Orders

Casper Sylvest

British Academy

This chapter draws on the writings of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century liberal writings to show how, mainly British, liberals campaigned for the moralization, reform, or regulation of international relations. It demonstrates how contemporary liberal theories have lost connection to the moral and normative articulations of a century or so ago and that the meaning and value of many key liberal terms and concepts have changed significantly. As an example, the chapter shows that, although the relationship between liberalism and democracy appears inseparable today, a century and a half ago liberals were apprehensive about democracy. Liberals were devoted to the rule of law and representative government but, for many, democracy raised the spectre of the tyranny of an uneducated and potentially debased majority.

Keywords:   British liberals, liberal morals, democracy, rule of law, representative government, neoliberalism

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