AQA Unit 3 Ideologies






  • Associated with the individual and freedom

  • Rationality: differences in opinions are inevitable, free and rational individuals should be able to solve problems

  • The government should be chosen by consent- links to Rousseau ‘The Social Contract’ 1762

  • Government should be limited by the separation of powers

  • Everyone should have inalienable rights

  • Everyone is equal, respected and tolerated

  • They hold a very positive view of human nature.


  • An early form of liberalism, dominant in the nineteenth century. Formed through the enlightenment and civil war

  • Individual liberty is the most important value

  • Government should be by consent

  • The free market is essential to maximise wealth

  • State intervention should be kept to a minimum

  • Inequality is natural

  • Individuals are responsible for themselves and their welfare


  • 17th century

  • Believe that men are born with natural rights which include

  1. Life and liberty

  2. Pursuit of happiness

  3. Avoidance of pain

  4. Property ownership

  • Men are rational and can make their own decisions

  • Rights should only be limited if people accept controls by government- so it should be by consent

  • We should put laws in place for protection of natural rights


  • Late 18th century

  • Both developed the idea of natural rights and argued that all men should have equal rights

  • Mary Wollstonecraft argued that women should also have equal rights

  • Focus on reasons rights and justice

  • Common sense book 1775 formulated the ideas of social insurance, pensions and a system like the one we have today

  • Politics is to uphold individual rights- ages of reason 1794

  • Suspicious of unelected bodies


  • Early 19th century

  • Developed the idea of Utilitarianism

  • Believed man was motivated by pursuit of happiness (meaning the consumption of goods)

  • Thought individuals as workers, employers and consumers would pursue own interests and utility would be maximised

  • Government should keep intervention to a minimum

  • Government should intervene to increase total utility (the greatest good for the greatest number)

  • Advocated democracy and government answerable to the electorate


  • Mid 19th century

  • Combined ideas of Locke with those of Bentham

  • Believed that freedom was a basic right and in the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number

  • Also believed that happiness was no just about consumption and property; values are also important

  • Developed the harm principle: if an action doesn’t harm others, the government (and other people) shouldn’t interfere

  • Stood up for women's rights

  • Education is the centre of life


  • 19th century

  • Cobden and Bright were important

  • Advocates of the free market and free trade

  • Famous for leading the anti-corn law league; repeal of the Corn Laws helped to split the Tory party in 1846

  • ‘Manchesterism’


  • Late 19th century

  • Applied Darwin’s evolutionary principles to humans; argued that individuals who adapt best to the economic environment to survive

  • Believed people, like animals, were naturally unequal and so some will do better than others

  • Government should not interfere to alter this natural state

  • Inequality is natural


  • Late 19th century

  • Further developed


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