Few can deny that human beings care about liberty. There are, of course, different senses in which the term "liberty" is used. One sense of it means being without obstacles in life; another, to be able to develop fully with as little hindrance as can be achieved through collective action; or, again, to have the chance to obtain from others their surplus wealth and labor-power.
The sense of the term employed in classical liberal political theory, usually interchangeable with "freedom," has meant the condition that obtains when one is not intruded upon by other human beings who can choose how they will treat other people.
My main focus here will be on this last sense of the concept "liberty," the sort of liberty that can obtain among human beings. The sort of liberty at issue concerns what we can do something about by an act of mere will or self-discipline, namely, not intruding on each others' lives, not encroaching upon one another's sovereignty. I will also touch on another topic that is related to this sort of liberty, namely, free will or the human capacity to act on one's own initiative, without being driven to behave by forces apart from oneself. These two notions of liberty or freedom are both vital to human living as well as closely related.
The basic motivation for addressing these topics is to explore why human beings have cared about liberty. The issue hardly ever goes away—every new generation seems to need to consider its significance and ramifications.