Difference Between Liberal And Democrat

Difference Between Liberal And Democrat

In the world wherein we find ourselves, where the politics we practice put you as either a Republican or a Democrat, every other ideology does not matter. The media in America is quite fond of using liberal and Democrat as being the same. This is however quite wrong because Democrats stand for a party while Liberals are simply an ideology. Also, the politics played by the democrats is not always liberal or left but is often far-right.  But the thing is that a lie that is perpetuated soon begins sounding like the truth. This is why we must remind ourselves of what the difference between liberal and democrat is.

Difference between liberal and democrat

A liberal is someone that believes in the concept of liberalism which is an ideological and political philosophy. They often have an array of viewpoints, but their core belief centers on equality and freedom. These may range from gender equality to freedom of speech. The concept of liberalism has been in existence for several centuries now and has always supported point of views which are in favor of equality. A democrat, on the other hand, is a person that is in support of the Democratic Party and does not make reference to their ideologies. The major difference is in seen the moment you leave mainstream American politics. It is worthy of note that communists and Socialists are also liberal by nature. Both categories of groups have liberal views even though they do not engage in American politics. It, therefore, suffices to say that most Democrats are liberal but not all Liberals are Democrats.

What Makes Liberals Liberal?

To better appreciate who liberals are, it is important to know what the stand for and the various types of liberals. But as we rightly pointed out earlier, a Liberal is someone who supports a political philosophy that is founded upon the ideas of equality and liberty.

There is first the conservative liberalism which is a type of liberalism. This type of liberalism simply combines all the liberal policies and values using conservative stances. There is also the Classical Liberalism which is a socio-political philosophy that advocates for the freedom of parliamentary systems of government, individuals, socio-economic institutions as well as government guarantees of human liberties and rights.

Economic liberalism simply talks about a belief in organizing the economy along individual lines in such a way that most of the economic policies are made by private persons and not by established institutions.  Then there is social liberalism which is a belief that liberalism ought to include the concept of social justice and the role of the state should factor in tackling certain issues such as healthcare, unemployment, and education.

In summary, Liberalism is a political system that focuses on promoting and protecting the freedom of a person. People who belong to the school of thought are often of the opinion that the government is required to shield the individual from getting harmed by other people. They, however, know that the government could also be a threat to the freedom of the people.

What Is The Origin Of Liberalism?

They are two main founders of the concept of liberalism. The founders were John Locke who came up with the concept of political authority based on the natural rights of an individual as well as the consent of those being governed. There was also the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith who came up with the argument that societies tend to thrive when the people have the freedom to chase after the things that interest them and have private ownership of the means of production which is not controlled by private monopolies or even the government.

What Is The Link Between Liberalism To Democracy?

In the theory proposed by John Locke, the consent of the governed gets secured via a system of majority rule wherein the government would implement the will of the people. It is worthy of note that during the time of John Locke in England, not everyone was considered to be a part of the electorate. Therefore based on Locke’s theory of democracy, there is no direct link between liberalism and any form of democracy.

What Is The Core Difference Between Modern Liberalism And Classical Liberalism?

Also referred to as libertarians, Classical Liberals view the state as the main threat to the freedom of individuals and as such advocate for a limit to the powers of the state. Modern liberals, on the other hand, have also posited that the government itself poses a threat to the people.

What Are The General Characteristics Of Liberalism?

The concept of liberalism is derived from two connected western culture. The first of them is the preoccupation of the west with the individual which is a departure from what is obtainable in other places. It, therefore, suffices to say that liberalism is simply the culmination of the happenings in the west which has given more impetus to the concept of the individual. This marks a deliverance of the individual from the bondage of subservience to a group. It also represents a relaxation of the hold of law, custom, and authority as far as this is concerned.

Furthermore, liberalism also takes its root from a practice of adversarial which is common in both European economic and political life. This system is one that created an air of competition. An instance of this is the competition that exists between different political parties in an electoral process.

The thing about such adversarial systems is that they have always quite precarious. One of the core basis of the liberal belief in the adversarial system is that there is a conviction about the fact that human beings are rational creatures that have the unique ability to settle their disputes via compromise and dialogue. Liberalism has always had a rather close but uneasy relationship with democracy. In a democratic system, there is a popular belief that the government derives its power from a popular election by the people. Liberals have always shown great fear of democracy due to the belief that it could lead to tyranny by the majority.

Unraveling The Democrats

A democrat is simply someone that belongs to the Democratic Party which is one of the two main political parties in America along with the Republican Party. Its origins date back to the time of Thomas Jefferson. The modern-day Democratic Party began in 1828 thus making it the oldest existing political party anywhere in the world.

During its early days, the Democratic Party supported state sovereignty and limited government. It also opposed banks and supported acts of slavery. However, since the era of Frank Roosevelt with his New Deal, the party has advocated a social-liberal platform. Going into the 20th century, the party possessed Southern conservative and conservative pro-business wings. However, following the new deal, the conservative wing of the party soon fizzled out.

The Democratic party possesses a Philosophy of modern liberalism that promotes economic and social equality as well as a welfare bases state. It also attempts to make available governmental regulations that seek to promote the interest of the public. Certain policies such as the support for organized labor and environmental protection mark them out.  There is also the continued advocacy of affordable college education, equal opportunities, and consumer protection.

On the social arm, it advocates for reforms on campaign finances, immigration reforms as well as the legalization of Marijuana among others. So far, fifteen of the past American presidents have been democrats. The first Democrat to hold that office was Andrew Johnson the seventh American president. The most recent Democrat to hold the office of the president of America is Barack Obama. Currently, the Democrats hold a majority number in the House of Representatives. Also, four of the sitting Justices in America were appointed by a Democratic president.

What Is The Ideology Behind The Democratic Party?

Upon its creation, the Democratic Party was in support of Agrarianism and this meant placing great focus on the needs of American farmers and rural interests. However, the coming of the 1890s saw the party supporting more liberal views. The Democratic Party currently holds influence across different demographics.

The party has a unique history of representing laborers, farmers, and ethnoreligious minorities. This is seen in the fact that it greatly opposes unregulated finance and businesses and instead favored a rather progressive system of taxation.  In the aspect of foreign policy, liberalism was a dominant idea starting from 1913 down to the middle part of the 1960s.

Though once strongest in the Southeastern part of America, the Democratic Party now has it’s forth in the Northeast. They are also quite strong in the major cities.


It may seem to most people that liberals and democrats are the same. But a closer look at both concepts will reveal to you the underlying ideological differences. Both concepts have their unique peculiarities and we believe we have done justice to that in this piece.

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