Liberalism

 Essay upon Liberalism

Liberalism as well as History

Author(s): Eric Voegelin, Mary Algozin and Keith Algozin

Resource: The Review of Politics, Vol. thirty eight, No . some (Oct., 1974), pp. 504-520 Published by simply: Cambridge College or university Press to get the University or college of Notre Dame man lac on behalf of Review of National politics

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Liberalism and Its History*

Erie Voegelin

Translated from the German by simply Mary

and Keith Algozin

The taskofsketching history liberalism,

of

the

is

nevertheless

modest,

formethodological

reasons

To get

the

challenging. we standbefore questionofwhether

is

there evensucha thing liberalism a plainly

as

as

definablesubject and whetherthissubject, should it not be clearly definable, can have a history. We feel here upon a general

methodologicalproblem. Toynbee, for example , opens his great workwiththe questionwhether

he

England includes a history; proves

that the The english language nation as a society is indeed closely linked to the culture of Western civilizationthat 1 cannot write an English withoutgoing into the entirehistory Westerncivilization.

of

history

It can be in thissensethattherearisethe questionsof how liberalism to is

be delimitedand whetherit has a background. And they occur more extremely because the circumstance of liberalismis much more challenging than regarding England. For even if some phases of English background, for example the Reformation,

can be addressed only in relationto

the generalEuropean background the Reformation

of

and Counter-Refstillthereare lengthy periodsof remote, specifically ormation,

English

background. In the case of liberalism, a narrowingof the subject to national societies- German, French, English or perhaps American - is are just

hardlyjustifiable. For all the regionalphases of liberalism

this

movement; and moreover, movepartsof a commonWestern

ment can only with difficulty remote from other moves

be

whichrunparallel

with in time.

it

I

The methodologicalquestions must be elevated, because in the

course of days gone by 30 years the of what liberalismis is promoting completely. If you look at an older standardworksuch as Guido de Ruggiero'sworkof the 1920's, you will findthat at that 5.

This composition is designed by the editorsfroma lecturedeliveredto the BavarianCatholicAcademy,

and published it (Wiirzburg,

by simply

1960).

504

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LIBERALISM AND ITS BACKGROUND

505

period, at the close of the open-handed era, liberalismstill appeared to be a great easilydefinable

sensation. But if you look at the most recent

will findthat the modele Ruggiero'swork provides

of

materials,

you

nearly disappeared-ttodaythe questionsof liberalismare asked in broader contexts. Let me characterize

threeof the more

in brief

recentworksto observe in whichdirection investigation

the

movestoday.

Considerfirst workof Franz Schnabel, the Munich vem som st?r,

the

which in turn appeared in 1934.

Krauts (umgangssprachlich) Geschichteim nineteen. Jahrhundert,

The 2nd volume containsa thorough, penetrating

treatment

of

liberalism. In this article, while thereis...

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