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Thomas Jefferson

One of the most well-known founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The ideas of liberty he promoted continue to form the basis of the American cultural heritage today.

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Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826)

by Daniel J. Mahoney on Aug 15, 2008

Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, contributed some of the most important ideas to early US political theory.

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Declaration of Independence

by Daniel J. Mahoney on Aug 15, 2008

The Declaration of Independence is considered an establishing document of America and the place where the country’s values were initially written out.

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Pursuit of Happiness

by Hans Eicholz on Aug 15, 2008

The Declaration of Independence famously spoke of right to “the pursuit of happiness,” a phrase that has been questioned as to its extent and meaning.

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Tracy, Destutt de (1754-1836)

by David Hart on Aug 15, 2008

Antoine-Louis-Claude Destutt de Tracy was a social and political theorist known for coining the term “ideology,” though he used it to explain liberal philosophy.

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Separation of Church and State

by Jason Kuznicki on Aug 15, 2008

Throughout history, church and state have become increasingly separate as institutions. Libertarians tend to favor this shift, as it discourages state authority.

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Mason, George (1725-1792)

by Robert M. S. McDonald on Aug 15, 2008

George Mason was a Virginian statesman who decried the centralization of government authority and was one of the major supporters of a written Bill of Rights.

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Epicureanism

by Roderick T. Long on Aug 15, 2008

Epicureanism was a prominent school of thought among classical philosophers, including empiricists and contractarians such as Cicero and Lucretius. 

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Decentralism

by Bill Kauffman on Aug 15, 2008

Supporters of decentralism argue that central concentration of power threatens liberty and prefer decision-making power to be diffused on a local level.

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Sidney, Algernon (1623-1683)

by Aaron Steelman on Aug 15, 2008

Algernon Sidney was a fervent republican whose philosophy and politics, as well as his eventual martyrdom, influenced democratic revolutionaries who followed him.

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Abolitionism

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2008

Abolitionism was the 19th century anti-slavery movement promoting the equal civil and political rights for African Americans and complete rejection of slavery.

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Price, Richard (1723-1791)

by Wendy McElroy on Aug 15, 2008

Richard Price was a British philosopher who supported American Independence and the French Revolution and whose work focused on reason in ethics.

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Prohibition of Alcohol

by Jackson Kuhl on Aug 15, 2008

The Prohibition of alcohol, from 1919-1933, though intended to reduce alcohol consumption, merely made alcohol consumption more dangerous.

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Revolution, Right of

by Robert M. S. McDonald on Aug 15, 2008

Many classical liberal writers believed in the right of revolution as a natural right that could be utilized when government failed to serve its purpose.

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Objectivism

by David Kelley on Aug 15, 2008

Objectivism, the moral philosophy expressed by Ayn Rand, celebrates individualism and argues that humans morally should work towards their own happiness.

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Bill of Rights, US

by Randy E. Barnett on Aug 15, 2008

The contents and necessity of the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, first debated by Federalists and Anti-Federalists, remains relevant today.

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Money and Banking

by Lawrence H. White on Aug 15, 2008

In this entry, Lawrence H. White explains the changing ways in which economists have thought about money and banking, including the debate over deregulation.

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American Revolution

by Robert M. S. McDonald on Aug 15, 2008

Robert McDonald outlines the key events of the American Revolution, one of the most influential successes of liberty to date.

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Constitution, U.S.

by David Mayer on Aug 15, 2008

The Constitution is the foundational document of the U.S. government. Debates over its interpretation still make a large impact on governmental power.