The origins of liberal democracy can be traced in Europe in the 18thcentury, and this period is also called the age of Enlightenment. At that time, many European countries were monarchies so that their main political power was held by aristocracy or monarchs. Any possibility of democracy wasn’t considered seriously because many people believed that it would only bring chaos and unstable conditions in politics because of human changing whims.
Moreover, some philosophers and other outstanding individuals even stated that democracy was contrary to people’s nature because they were considered violent and evil in their nature. That’s why they all needed strong leaders to control and stop these destructive impulses. Many monarchs also claimed that their power was ordained by God so that their right to rule is unquestionable.
First, the above-mentioned conventional views were challenged by a tiny group of intellectuals who believed that people’s affairs could be guided by reasoning and key principles of equality and liberty. They also argued that all individuals were created equal, so political authority couldn’t be justified according to the noble blood basis or other privileged connections and characteristics. These intellectuals claimed that all governments must exist to serve people and all laws must apply even to those who govern nations.
Some of their unique and rare ideas started to be openly expressed in Great Britain the same century, and this is how such important laws as Habeas Corpus Act were issues. Their basic purpose is establishing specific liberties for people, including the idea of political parties that consist of groups debating different matters. Besides, Bill of Rights codified a number of liberties and rights too, including the requirement for regular elections, and they guaranteed that royal absolutism wouldn’t win. They all made significant changes in the position of people in the British society.
Many leading philosophers kept publishing their works spreading the ideas of liberal democracy, and they inspired both French and American revolutions while giving birth to liberalism and instituting new forms of the government that tried to apply these principles into practice. They were far from modern liberal democracy, but they all helped in its development and establishment, so their role is important.
The origins of liberal democracy can be traced in Europe in the 18thcentury, and this period is also called the age of Enlightenment. At that time, many European countries were monarchies so that their main political power was held by aristocracy or monarchs.