Classical Liberalism Development Timeline


Ancient Greek Democracy

508 BC - 322 BC

Ancient Greek democracy was the first known democracy in the world. It was a political reform called demokratia, or "rule by the people." This was an experiment where all citizens (only male) had to take an active part in government, called rule by many.

Magna Carta


The Magna Carta was a document issued to establish the principle that everyone, including the king, was to follow. It was a peace treaty between the King and rebellious major landowners. The Magna Carta brought an end to the power of English sovereigns as everyone was to be held accountable by the law. The Magna Carta clearly established rule of law which influences many constitutions known today, and also protects the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups.


1450 - 1600

The Renaissance, the period of European Civilization, was a time of revival of Classical learning and wisdom. The Renaissance followed the Middle Ages which was a pitfall for Europe. The Renaissance was an intellectual movement with lots of social and cultural change. They were experiencing financial growth, had more hopefulness, and there were many beneficial inventions. The printing press, previously only accessible to higher classes, was now available to everyone, and greatly increased education to all. The Renaissance lies between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age.


1517 - 1648

The Protestant Reformation was based on a religious, political, intellectual, and cultural imbalance. The need for a redistribution of power, which needed to be lead by the Bible, only caused wars and persecutions. The Reformation was for restructuring a possessed, corrupt, and dishonourable Church. This religious revolution was not unprecedented, it lead to the faith of society growing and reasonable decision making.

Haudenosaunee Confederacy

1550 - 1776

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy are the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations coming together as one. The Great Law of Peace was the founding constitution and basis of this confederacy. It allowed for proper government and a unity among nations. It also acted as an outline for things such as the American constitution. They wanted equal division of power, which is somewhat the root rule of law. They wanted everyone to have rights and freedoms, not just males.

The Enlightenment

1685 - 1815

The Enlightenment, which followed the Middle Ages, was a philosophical movement that illuminated human intellect and culture. It also was influential on the French and American revolutions and constitutions. The Enlightenment was the foundation of classical liberalisms beliefs. It believed in the individual.

Industrial Revolution

1700 - 1900

The Industrial Revolution was the change from an agrarian and handicraft economy to an industrial and machine manufactured one. It was technological, socioeconomic, and cultural modifications. There were more things being produced by these machines, but not as many employers were needed to get the job done. This lead to a rise of competition between nations, and as a result, nationalism and imperialism. There were elements of private property, rights and freedoms, self-interest, and competition that were major contributions, which are also the main factors of classical liberalism.

American Revolution

1775 - 1783

The American Revolution was a war of independence. American colonists wanted to break free from Great Britains rule and to create a government controlled by citizens. They wanted their rights and freedoms which they weren't able to receive under British rule. France, Spain, and the Netherlands joined the colonies against Britain, leading to the British surrendering.

French Revolution

1789 - 1799

The French Revolution was influenced by the Enlightenment ideals, along with the American Revolution. They wanted sovereignty, individual rights and freedoms, and equality. They wanted the power to be inherited in the will of the people. This led to the Declaration of the Rights of Man being signed.

Changes to the Class System


Changes to the Class System involved people holding a strong classical liberalism view. The individual was important and valued. Private property, competition, and economic freedom was introduced. Everyone was able to achieve what they desired through self-interest, and were able to move from class to class instead of it being hereditary. There were more opportunities for people to become successful.