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The Rise of the West

History of Liberty Seminar 2001

Tags World HistoryPolitical Theory

10/16/2018Ralph Raico

The European Miracle was one in which humans achieved sustained growth for the first time on earth. Why Europe? Because of European decentralization and private enterprise. Property rights were well-defined and well-defended. Feudalism was of the contract variety. City states and chartered towns arose. The freedoms that people fought for were primarily economic freedoms. Political freedoms followed. The middle ages were not the dark ages they were portrayed to be. The rule of law required little or no involvement of the state. The ruler was under the law. The West even held a social taboo on the expression of envy.

Historian Ralph Raico explains why all of this contributed to the rise of human rights and economic prosperity in the West — and why it happened there first.

From a lecture presented at the 2001 History of Liberty seminar.


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.