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Editor's Introduction

In preparing this encyclopedia, our hope has been to offer a general guide to the social and political philosophy that today goes by the name of libertarianism.

Although the title is comparatively new, the doctrine is not. Libertarianism is the heir to 19th-century classical liberalism and to the Whig ideology in the period prior to that.

General Introduction

Libertarianism is a major feature of intellectual and political life as we enter the first years of the new century. It is at one and the same time a movement in politics, a recognized philosophy, and a set of distinctive policy prescriptions. As such, libertarianism, and the individuals who espouse it, play a prominent role in intellectual and political arguments in several countries.