The Classical Liberal Tradition - Readings from the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism

[Created: December 17, 2011]
[Updated: 29 Aug. 2017]

Readings from the The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism (2008)

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, ed. Ronald Hamowy (Los Angeles: Sage, 2008. A Project of the Cato Institute). This is now available online at <>. I have added links to the relevant articles below.

The articles in the EoL can be organised so as to provide an excellent survey of both the key ideas of the CLT and the history of the main movements and individuals who were involved in its development.

  • begin with the survey by Steve Davies’ “General Introduction,” pp. xxv-xxxvii
  • then read a selection of articles from the following lists according to your interest. Items in quotes are entries in the EoL.

Key Ideas in the Classical Liberal Tradition

Basic Principles:

Grounds for Belief:

Processes for Creating a Free Society:

Political and Legal Freedoms:

Economic Freedoms:

Social Freedoms:

  • Equality under the Law - “Equality” (of rights)
  • Toleration of different Ideas and Behaviour (see Freedom of Speech & Religion above)
  • Acts between Consenting Adults - “Presumption of Liberty”

Key Movements and People in the CLT