American liberals and conservatives share much of the same political heritage. Originally the term Liberal referred to the political and economic ideal of liberating individuals from unrepresentative and arbitrary governments. Early liberalism set in motion patterns for the rule of law that would guarantee individual rights, representation in law making, access to the courts, and protection of private property. Both conservatives and liberals are Liberal in this sense. But whereas American conservatives of various stripes have continued to place primary emphasis on individual freedom, the autonomy of private institutions, and limits to government in the economic area, American liberals have more frequently appealed to government to advance the liberation of individuals from economic, racial, and political disadvantages in society as a whole.