Liberty is derived from a Latin word ' Liber', which means free or independent. Being a theme emanating from a normative theory, a precise meaning cannot be arrived by liberty. The concept of liberty occupies a very important place in civics. It has made powerful appeal to every man in every age. It is the source of many wars and revolutions. In the name of liberty war, battles, revolutions and struggles have taken place in the history of mankind. Liberty means the unrestricted freedom of the individual to do anything he likes to do. But this sort of unrestricted liberty is not possible in society.
Liberty is not a license to do anything one pleases, as this would endup in anarchy, the very extreme of liberty. Restrictions are necessary in the interest of general welfare. They are imposed in the form of laws. Law is the condition of liberty. While laws are restrictions to liberty, it is imperative that, the so imposed laws are not unjust as excessive and stringent restrictions hamper the intellectual and moral growth of the individual. Liberty has two aspects.
They are Negative aspect and Positive aspect.
'Liberty means the power of doing what we ought to do' - Montesquieu.
'Liberty means the absence of restraints' - Prof Seely.
The meaning of liberty finds its positive affirmation in the thought of T.H.Green who describes it as the power to do or enjoy something that is worth doing or enjoying in common with others. Liberty is the eager maintenance of that atmosphere in which men have the opportunity to be their best selves.
Liberty means the positive power of doing or enjoying - T.H. Green.
Taken together, it must be understood that, liberty exists not merely in the absence of restraints but in the presence of opportunities as well. The following definition embraces both aspects of liberty.
'Liberty is the product of Rights. It is the maximum opportunity to do desired things with a minimum of controls and regulations consonant with a well - ordered society.