Liberalism and its genealogy
During the French Revolution this set of connotations began to change, as liberalité was now associated with the Third Estate, and ultimately with the middle class. Thus when the Liberal Party took shape in the UK in the 1850s it inherited much of this baggage.
Evidently exhausted by his monumental task, Leonard stops shortly after the middle of the nineteenth century. More chapters in the story appear in Liberalism: A Counter-History by Domenico Losurdo, admittedly a summation of the case for the prosecution. Losurdo points out that the rise of modern liberalism in the late eighteenth century coincides with the apogee of the modern institution of slavery. The ambivalence (to put it mildly) of the American Founders, many of them themselves slave owners, is well known. One who did not put it mildly is Samuel Johnson: "How is that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?"
Not even John Stuart Mill, that saintly icon of liberalism, escapes criticism. Mill believed in a hierarchy of races with, of course, English people ranking at the top. Even Germans, it seems, had a little too much of the tar brush for Mill.
It now should be evident that the association between liberalism and democracy, now often taken for granted, is problematic.
A curious further complication is represented by the compound Neo-liberalism, coined by a German economist in 1938. In more recent years the expression gained traction in Latin America, where it served to castigate the free-market policies advocated by the Chicago school. In this pejorative sense, it migrated to Western Europe and the UK.
Employed in the US, the expression Neo-liberalism is confusing, since it connotes almost the polar opposite of the interventionism that has come to be associated with the liberalism of our Democratic Party.