Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value. Broadly speaking, liberalism seeks a society characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, especially of government and religion, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports relatively free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of minorities are protected.  In modern society, liberals favour a liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law and an equal opportunity to succeed. Liberalism rejected many foundational assumptions which dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, and established religion. Fundamental human rights that all liberals support include the right to life, liberty, and property. In many countries, "modern" liberalism differs from classical liberalism by asserting that government provision of some minimal level of material well-being takes priority over freedom from taxation. Liberalism has its roots in the Western Enlightenment, but the term now encompasses a diversity of political thought, with adherents spanning a large part of the political spectrum, from left to right. In the context of economics, the term "liberalism" refers to economic liberalism, which is associated with the political ideology of liberalism itself.
A broader use of the term liberalism is in the context of liberal democracy (see also constitutionalism). In this sense of the word, it refers to a democracy in which the powers of government are limited and the rights of citizens are legally defined; this applies to nearly all Western democracies, and therefore is not solely associated with liberal parties.