Subject and Keywords:
The following article is a research into philosophy of liberty, as it was perceived prior to the outbreak of The Great War. It has been supported with elaborations on liberal doctrine in general; and on French, as well as American liberal thought. Moreover, the article contains excerpts from original texts by Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America) and Leonard Hobhouse (Liberalism), among others. The author presents classifications of liberty – its kinds (Economic liberty, Social liberty, etc.); relations (both towards theoretical constructs like equality, and factual topics – i.e. slavery); and rhetorical functions (such as its inherency in human nature). Another matter depicted in the article is the deterioration of civil liberties over time, due to transformations of political regimes, where a citizen’s voice loses its political power (dismantling his liberté des anciens), while at the same time totalitarian rulers attempt to thwart activities in his personal space, that are a source of his own pleasure (in order to limit his liberté des modernes). Researcher states a thesis, that liberalism is firmly opposed to this deterioration, because it is a symptom of violation of the rule of law – a key ingredient of a non-totalitarian society.