School of religious thought characterized by concern with inner motivation as opposed to external controls. It was set in motion in the 17th century by René Descartes, who expressed faith in human reason, and it was influenced by such philosophers as Benedict de Spinoza, G. W. Leibniz, and John Locke. Its second stage, which coincided with the Romantic movement of the late 18th and 19th century, was marked by an appreciation of individual creativity, expressed in the writings of philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant as well as of the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher. The third stage, from the mid-19th century through the 1920s, emphasized the idea of progress. Stimulated by the Industrial Revolution and by Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859), thinkers such as T. H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer in England and William James and John Dewey in the U.S. focused on the psychological study of religious experience, the sociological study of religious institutions, and philosophical inquiry into religious values.
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College or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. In Classical antiquity, the term designated the education proper to a freeman (Latin liber, “free”) as opposed to a slave. In the medieval Western university, the seven liberal arts were grammar, rhetoric, and logic (the trivium) and geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium). In modern colleges and universities, the liberal arts include the study of literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science.
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British political party that emerged in the mid-19th century as the successor to the Whigs. It was the major party in opposition to the Conservative Party until 1918, after which it was supplanted by the Labour Party. It was initially supported by the middle class that was enfranchised by the Reform Bill of 1832. Earl Russell's administration in 1846 is sometimes regarded as the first Liberal government, but the first unequivocally Liberal government was formed in 1868 by William E. Gladstone. Under Gladstone, until 1894, the party's hallmark was reform; after 1884 it espoused Irish Home Rule. It championed individualism, private enterprise, human rights, and promotion of social justice; wary of imperial expansion, it was pacific and internationalist. During World War I it split into two camps, centred on H.H. Asquith and David Lloyd George. It continued as a minor party until 1988, when it merged with the Social Democratic Party to form the Liberal Democratic Party.
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