Although the classical and reform approaches to liberalism have certain parallels, they are vastly diverse and have different perspectives on the function of law. Civil freedoms should be protected by the rule of law, according to classical liberalism. The bulk of classical liberals thought that the government should have little or no influence over economic matters. John Locke, for example, was one of the proponents of this approach. Reform liberalism is a branch of classical liberalism that advocates for government action to defend individualism civil liberties and to play a central role in advancing the general good. This was started by a small group of liberals, but it has gained in popularity, and today, the term “progressive” is interchangeable with this term. Hence, reform liberalism is a more progressive and up-to-date version of the liberal values and views on the legal system and social relations. The primary difference between these two approaches is the level of government involvement, as the classical liberals deny the possibility of the government influencing the economic matters, while the reform liberals allow such a possibility.
Another difference is in the way the classic and reform liberals view freedoms. Classical liberals emphasize negative liberty, which they define as the lack of government involvement in one’s personal life. Reform liberals agree that the right to be left alone or the so-called “negative liberty” is something crucial, but they add a more positive requirement> Mainly; they argue that to be really free, an individual must have the ability to follow their goals in life. Thus, the meaning of liberalism’s central concepts of liberty and equality is altered by reform liberalism. In summary, the main difference between the two approaches to liberalism is the level of government involvement.