Liberalism is a philosophy that believes every individual should have equal rights and opportunities, with freedom for all. Liberalism quotes show that those who follow this philosophy believe in many of the same values that Americans do, such as the right to elections which are fair and which all citizens have the opportunity to participate in, and the concept of democracy on a national level. There are varying degrees of liberalism, with some on the far right, some on the far left, and some firmly planted in the middle ground. Someone who believes in liberalism is usually referred to as a liberal, but there are those of other party affiliations who may lean towards liberal ideals and views as well. In the past liberalism was not a common way of thinking because many countries were ruled by monarchs or dictators, and even today some countries suppress liberal views and leanings.