Redefinition of liberalism from laissez-faire form to interventionist form
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The cause(s) of the shift in liberalism in the United States "between 1877 and 1937...from laissez-faire constitutionalism to New Deal statism, from classical liberalism to democratic social-welfarism" has been a subject of study among scholars.
Some attribute this shift to the greed and envy of the working class, who resented the wealth and power of the captains of industry. They point to the extension of the voting franchise in most democracies in the 19th century, and claimed these newly enfranchised citizens often voted to benefit themselves, instead of voting to benefit the upper class. Rising literacy rates and the spread of knowledge led to social activism in a variety of forms. Social liberals called for laws against child labor, laws requiring minimum standards of worker safety, a [[minimum wage|a living wage, and old age pensions. The laissez faire economic liberals considered such measures to be an unjust imposition upon liberty, as well as a hindrance to economic development.
Others see the rise of social liberalism as due to the extreme poverty of the working class, frequent unemployment caused by cyclic depressions, and the growing power of the rich to establish monopolies, called at the time cartels, and to influence legislation with "campaign contributions" or outright bribes.
Thus, in the 19th century, social liberalism largely replaced "classical liberalism." In 1911, L. T. Hobhouse published Liberalism, which outlines a "new liberalism" which includes qualified acceptance of government intervention in the economy, and the collective right to equality in dealings, what he called "just consent". So different from classical liberalism did Hayek see Hobhouse's book that he commented that it would have been more accurately titled Socialism instead. (Hobhouse called his beliefs "liberal socialism".)
The form of liberalism that arose in the second half of the 20th Century, calling itself "conservatism", professes to echo the views of the classical liberals, and rejects the ideas of the social liberals.