Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual.[1][2] Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance[3] and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group,[3] while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government.[3] Individualism is often defined in contrast to totalitarianism, collectivism, and more corporate social forms.[4][5]

Individualism makes the individual its focus[1] and so starts "with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation."[6] Classical liberalism, existentialism, and anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of analysis.[6] Individualism thus involves "the right of the individual to freedom and self-realization".[7]

It has also been used as a term denoting "The quality of being an individual; individuality"[3] related to possessing "An individual characteristic; a quirk."[3] Individualism is thus also associated with artistic and bohemian interests and lifestyles where there is a tendency towards self-creation and experimentation as opposed to tradition or popular mass opinions and behaviors,[3][8] as with humanist philosophical positions and ethics.[9][10]


In the English language, the word "individualism" was first introduced, as a pejorative, by the Owenites in the late 1830s, although it is unclear if they were influenced by Saint-Simonianism or came up with it independently.[11] A more positive use of the term in Britain came to be used with the writings of James Elishama Smith, who was a millenarian and a Christian Israelite. Although an early Owenite socialist, he eventually rejected its collective idea of property, and found in individualism a "universalism" that allowed for the development of the "original genius." Without individualism, Smith argued, individuals cannot amass property to increase one's happiness.[11] William Maccall, another Unitarian preacher, and probably an acquaintance of Smith, came somewhat later, although influenced by John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, and German Romanticism, to the same positive conclusions, in his 1847 work "Elements of Individualism".[12]

Other Languages
العربية: فردانية
asturianu: Individualismu
Bân-lâm-gú: Kò-jîn-chú-gī
беларуская: Індывідуалізм
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Індывідуалізм
български: Индивидуализъм
čeština: Individualismus
Ελληνικά: Ατομοκρατία
español: Individualismo
Esperanto: Individuismo
فارسی: فردگرایی
français: Individualisme
한국어: 개인주의
हिन्दी: व्यक्तिवाद
hrvatski: Individualizam
Bahasa Indonesia: Individualisme
italiano: Individualismo
Kiswahili: Ubinafsi
latviešu: Individuālisms
lietuvių: Individualizmas
lumbaart: Individualism
Malagasy: Fiolonolonana
Bahasa Melayu: Individualisme
Nederlands: Individualisme
日本語: 個人主義
português: Individualismo
română: Individualism
slovenščina: Individualizem
српски / srpski: Индивидуализам
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Individualizam
svenska: Individualism
татарча/tatarça: Индивидуальлек
Türkçe: Bireycilik
Türkmençe: Indiwidualizm
українська: Індивідуалізм
Tiếng Việt: Chủ nghĩa cá nhân
中文: 个人主义