Liberalism in the United States is a political philosophy centered on what liberals see as the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems and the separation of church and state, right to due process and equality under the law are widely accepted as a common foundation across the spectrum of liberal thought. It differs from liberalism elsewhere in the world because the United States has never had a resident hereditary aristocracy and as such avoided much of the class warfare that swept Europe. According to Ian Adams, "All American parties are liberal and always have been. Essentially, they espouse classical liberalism—that is, a form of democratized Whig constitutionalism, plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the influence of social liberalism".Modern liberalism includes issues such as same-sex marriage, reproductive and other women's rights, voting rights for all adult citizens, civil rights, environmental justice and government protection of the right to an adequate standard of living. National social services such as equal educational opportunities, access to health care and transportation infrastructure are intended to meet the responsibility to promote the general welfare of all citizens as established by the Constitution. Some liberals, who call themselves classical liberals, fiscal conservatives, or libertarians, support fundamental liberal ideals, but diverge from modern liberal thought, holding that economic freedom is more important than equality and that providing for the general welfare exceeds the legitimate role of government.Since the 1930s, the term liberalism (without a qualifier) usually refers in the United States to social liberalism, also known as modern liberalism, a political philosophy exemplified by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and later Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. It is a form of social liberalism, whose accomplishments include the Works Progress Administration and the Social Security Act in 1935, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is also known as left liberalism in Germany, modern liberalism in the United States and new liberalism in the United Kingdom, a variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights, with the common good viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.
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