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Importance and History of Liberty in the US

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 1743 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Give Me Liberty


Liberty is the ability of a person to do what pleases him or her. However, in politics, it consists of economic, social and political freedoms which are entitled to all members of the community. Therefore, in America, the title liberty was perceived differently by several groups. America is also referred to as “Land of the Free” (pg. 10). Although the high number of liberties for all is not the case under the study. The first people to settle in the new world were Puritans. They were mainly interested in themselves that is why they could not even purpose for the creation of a free state for everyone. Their beliefs progressed as time went on and liberty was an essential aspect of the life of an American during the arrival of Tocqueville from France. It was so important such that people could fight themselves and die because of liberty. After observing how Americans were fighting and eager to have liberty, he had a belief that Americans had to take a very long duration in order to term itself as a truly liberal country. Later, about a hundred years, John Rawls lived in a period where any conversation on justice and equality were one of the major political issues. Rawls came up with a brand-new way of viewing the concepts of justice and equality and how to give out their definition. The liberty idea has really played a major role throughout America’s history, its definition, and the implications that changed from the Puritans to Tocqueville and later to John Rawls. This paper will discuss various definitions of liberty by various groups, how it changed over time, location or other factors and also the conflicts that grew from the disagreements over the liberty.

Indian Freedom

Although Europeans perceived Indians as embodying freedom, most of the colonizers had a quick conclusion in that, “freedom’s notion was an alien to the societies of India” (pg. 11-12). Europeans did not reach this consensus because Indians did not seem like they lived under governments which were more established neither did they live under fixed laws. They failed to live under the authority of the Europeans meaning that they lived under their own rules and lacked the European societies’ discipline and kind of order. Definition of Indians freedom was not like as of the autonomy of the individual or tie it to the ownership of property which was important attributes to the Europeans. The modern idea of freedom as personal independence was somehow meaningless to Indian societies. But the people were given a chance to think for themselves and did not have to go along with the process of making the decisions collectively. Most importantly than autonomy of an individual, were the kinship ties, following the spiritual values of an individual, and the community’s security and the well-being. In the culture of Indian, self-determination and the group autonomy and obligations that mutually came with a sense of connectedness and belonging, had to take precedence over the freedom of an individual. Contrary, the arrival of the Europeans with their unique language of liberty American Indians’ freedom would become a preoccupation to them through which they were lowered to depend on the colonizers was part and parcel of the very process.

Christian Liberty

This statement meant abandoning the life sin into embracing what Christ was teaching. However, this had no connection on how the people understood the term religion. For instance, on the eve of colonization, the Europeans held many ideas of freedom. Some of the ideas formed the basis on which modern concepts about freedom are based. Freedom, as opposed to the understanding of many, was not a single idea but a collection of privileges and rights. Besides being a human right, freedom was enjoyed by only a small portion of the population. Many of the people understood freedom as a social and political affair as opposed to spiritual and moral condition. In every nation in Europe, there was an established church. “Christian Liberty” (pg. 12-13). The church taught the people about the beliefs and how religious worship should be conducted. Those who dissented the region were condemned by the church as well as facing persecutions. The uniformity in religion was essential to the public order. The liberty to religion was guaranteed were a person had their own choice to choose where to worship from. Although, the issue of religious beliefs and personal choice of religion did not exist before.

Freedom and Authority

Freedom is the situation of been not constrained, where else authority is the power to enforce orders and rule given. The existence of freedom in a society does not mean theta all people are enjoying it. The degree at which people enjoy the freedom granted to them differs from one person to another. In early European societies, they were hierarchical. They embrace social status and from the wealthy to the poor in the community. Therefore, this resulted in the development of inequality witnessed in every social aspect throughout the nation. From the family point of view, men exercised authority over the wife as well as the children. According to the legal doctrine which was followed. When a woman was married, she used to surrender her legal identity, which by now was covered by that of the husband. As a result, the women were not entitled to the following. Firstly, she was not entitled to own property by her name. Secondly, the woman was not allowed to manage her wages if she worked or write the will. Thirdly, the women were not expected to go to court to claim for divorce under whatever situation. Furthermore, the husband was entitled to his wife’s property including sexual relations and domestic labor. In every corner of Europe, the family life was dependent on the dominance of the husband and the submission of the woman. From the speech by Rochester “Social Freedom to women” (20). This is explicitly shown by the writers of the sixteenth century as they compare the authority of the king with that of the husband. They believed that the man was ordained by God to be own authority.

Freedom and slavery in Africa

Slavery is the situation of being under captivity. The emerging of slavery in Africa was as a result of the coming of the Europeans. The different colonizers of Africa used the slaves for different purposes like during the war. Besides, the salves worked within the households of their owners they were entitled to some rights. They were allowed to own property and marry free persons. Despite the few privileges offered to the slaves, they were brutalized by their bosses. Nevertheless, they were subjected to the hardest and very involving manual activities. The slaves were denied they basic some of the basic right by their bosses. Consequently, many of the slaves succumbed to death as a result of poor health conditions availed at their disposal. Spain took a lot of time before they colonize the Americans Southwest. It was during the year 1598 when they established a permanent settlement led by the Juan de Onate. The inhabitants of Acoma were ruthless on them and they killed the nephew to Onate and other fourteen. “Slavery and the Bible” (1850). A way of revenge Ornate decided to teach these locals a tough lesson. After two days the forces surrounded every corner of the city of Acoma and it was brought down at once. The message from Ornate was that any Indian who rejected the Spanish was to be crushed.

The Major Partners of Native American in the North.

According to Adam Smith in his celebrated work the wealth of nation (1776) he announced the discovery of America. This was one of “of the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind.” Although Historians do not use the word discovery any more. When describing the European exploration, colonization, and conquest to many millions of people who occupied the hemisphere discovery of American comes in. However, it is behind reasonable doubt that by the arrival of Christopher Columbus made a lot of changes in the Western Indian Islands in the year 1492. The downfall was a result of him setting in motions, which were some of the most important developments in the history of a human being. Tremendous changes followed thereafter both in the Old and the New Worlds. The effects of the massive changes are still realized even today. By this time the people of the American continent and European continent had not known each other. As a result, this market the initial stages of the many interactions which occurred between the continents. There was introduction of new crops into each hemisphere. The crops lead to the sharpening of the diet of the people as well as enhancing the natural environment. Due to the long isolation of the people of the South, the North of America developed no immunity which could counteract the germs which also attacked the colonizers of America.


From the many types of freedoms discussed above, it can be noted that denial of freedom to oneself is absurd. When people are subjected to slavery and liberty is not guaranteed they experience the worst period of their lives. Therefore, freedom is one thing which should be embraced by every government to ensure that citizens are free to form oppression and slavery. Liberty should be freely given so as to make people enjoy their Constitutional rights of choice and decision making. Moreover, denial of freedom as well as liberty can in way bread to corruption. This is because there will be the development of social classes. Consequently, freedom will be purchased and will be granted according to the social status of an individual. On the part of the discovery of America this formed one of the greatest achieved in human history. “It is in this section we get to know how the American got their independence and who were the people around them” (1787 A-5). After the attainment of independence, the American had the freedom to start their own governance

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Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History, 2017. Print.


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