History: The Struggle for Liberty

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1. The European Miracle

History the Struggle for Liberty 2003

Tags World HistoryPhilosophy and MethodologyPolitical Theory

09/03/2004Ralph Raico

Ralph Raico covers classical liberalism’s growth, development and possible future. Liberalism arose in Europe entwined with Christianity. Why Europe? The East lacked the idea of freedom from the state and never established the legal system that could protect wealth. Europe had multiple, decentralized competing powers, not a universal empire.

Europe came into existence in the Middle Ages. The contractual relationship between princes and subjects was similar to the Magna Carta. The Middle Ages [5th to the 15th century] were not dark ages. The sign of a freeman was that he had the right to keep and bear arms.

The powerful, international Church of Rome was the strong institution that acted as a counterweight to secular power. It was the largest property owner in Europe and concerned about taxation.

Lecture 1 of 10 from Ralph Raico's History: The Struggle for Liberty.


Ralph Raico

Ralph Raico (1936–2016) was professor emeritus in European history at Buffalo State College and a senior fellow of the Mises Institute. He was a specialist on the history of liberty, the liberal tradition in Europe, and the relationship between war and the rise of the state. He is the author of The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton.

A bibliography of Ralph Raico's work, compiled by Tyler Kubik, is found here.