Liberty in the history of America Essay
Liberty is defined as the manner in which one or groups of people or organism are let free from oppression, starvation, slavery or disturbance of what ever kind. However, there are different definitions and perspectives of the term as used by different personalities, communities, and groups of people. In the history of America, liberty has been used differently to express different ideas. If you tethered a cow on a green pastureland to feed you would be surprised at it when it feeds a little then starts to stretch away from the green pasture. If it is untied, it begins to feed just around the same spot.
It wants to be free. There is good pasture. Why is it that the cow can not just feed and wait to be driven home in the evening? If a toddler was given an interesting play toy and left in a locked room with plenty of light, it would stop playing and start to fight its way out of the locked room. Why would it begin to cry and stop playing yet it is not tethered, it is not sick or uncomfortable? We must look for freedom even when we are not pressed down so hard. In fact, liberty according to Lincoln’s observation in 1864 is a term that is used to refer to different things or terms when used by different groups of people.
Lincoln emphasizes that liberty means differently in the South as well as in the North. He says that though liberty is the same word for all, it has different implications for different persons and regions. In other wards, the meaning of the term liberty is depends on the context within which it is used by the speaker. This essay focuses on the different perspectives of the term liberty as used by different personalities, at different situations, and at different times or seasons. The North, for example, has its own understanding of the term victory.
More so, Douglass differs with Lincoln, in the opinion of what liberty is. On the other hand, the factory owner and the planter have different definitions of the term liberty. Douglass feels that freedom from slavery would be best known as liberty. He came up with a new idea on what slavery entailed. Although in most cases slavery was only associated with offering services in cotton farms of in America, Douglass felt that it was wide spread to as far as the rice farms in South Carolina. He also talks of slavery being exercised in the household services offered to the elites of Boston.
In addition to this, Douglass feels humiliated by lack of freedom in the carting services in Manhattan as a means of transportation of goods. He calls this slavery. He is disappointed by the manner in which Black Americans were mistreated, how the freed slaves were mishandled along the streets as well as the interaction of the white reformers, slaves and freed blacks. At this point in life, Douglass decided to recapture the drama of their fighting interaction with a focus on the black Americans, some of whom he recaptured dramatic experiences as they fought for republican slogans fulfillment.
Douglass wrote very moving stories on slavery and liberty thus describing what freedom would have meant to the enslaved. In his text entitled, ‘Death or Liberty,’ Douglass highlights the plight of African American Slaves and the experiences with their masters. For example, Qouk Walker, a freedom fighter and a slave who is said to have taken his master to the court. Jones who was enslaved at Delaware house and had to purchase liberty, is also described as a freedom fighter by Douglass.
For sure slavery is inhuman since some of the slaves lost there lives due to ignorance of the masters, some were mistreated and had poor health besides working so hard. Some slaves went through a revolutionary act in order to buy their freedom. Although the revolution was a good way to demand for freedom, Douglass argues that the plotters had little or no courage to pursue it as effectively as to gain the liberty they wanted. However, it is undisputed that the activists in the Northern States got their freedom through the battle. Nevertheless, they would not have found equality.
It was a matter of death or liberty. Freedom from slavery had to be obtained through a revolution in America. Liberty, according to Abraham Lincoln, is defined differently from the north. Eric Foner says that civil war in America was a source of freedom blessings. Thus the civil war was paramount. “Civil war resulted in a new birth in freedom,” remarked Lincoln. The United States fight for independence in the civil war is seen to have been very necessary since it resulted in new forms of liberty. Liberty is not only found in the lack of enslavement but also in politics, economics and civil strives in America.
Independence Declaration in America underscores the most fundamental human right of Americans. More so, the constitution publicizes its rationale in securing the good fortune of freedom. In fact, President Roosevelt declared that the United States of America fight for the Civil War was not to be taken for granted since it brought with itself different forms of freedom. To emphasize on liberty, the president said that America’s liberty is symbolized by liberty caps, the legal “statutes of liberty,” and the liberty poles.
In Americas expression of freedom they burnet draft cards, escaped from slavery, exercising the voting rights, as well as the burn of stamps. In this way Roosevelt expressed contentment in the four kinds of freedom achieved by the end of Civil War. To confirm the result of the war as a source of freedom, Bunch Ralph authored a text in the year 1940 stating that all persons within the streets of U. S were aware of the fact that America was well known as “land of the Free. ” The term liberty in America did not stop growing after the civil war.
It has been growing and changing with the history of the country. Freedom will be used in economic terms as freedom of economy where there is a misconception of the freedom to the access to fire arms by different individual and anti-government militia who claim to be oppressed in different ways. They argue that the right to own arms should be prioritized. According to modifications of the of the 1776 modern America’s “Declaration of Independence” some economic freedoms have been expressed. Today, Freedom from different forms of taxation, United Nations membership by the U.
S. , welfare declarations and regulation of economies, encompasses freedom. Globalization is a form of economic freedom which comes along with heated debates over who to trades with who and how? In reality, freedom has changed from just the mere decline of the civil wars’ blessings to economic and political terminology. That is why Lincoln thinks that freedom in the North is different from freedom in the South. Yes, the “new birth of freedom” as described by Lincoln defines the widening of freedom contents.
Freedom in the South meant independence towards governance of self, assurance of property security and economic independence for more valuable and innovative opportunities. The freedom from slavery was one of the main intentions of the participation in the civil war by the Southern Whites. Majority of the Southern Whites strangled for independence in order to eliminate slavery since they felt that slavery had been used as a means of getting freedom. Although many where fighting to end slavery, Thomas Jefferson owning more than 100 slaves authored a text on “the inalienable right to liberty.
” In one way or the other he was right since the ownership of slaves meant security and prosperity in economic status of an individual during the 19th century. Unfortunately, one would ask, whether the slaves were not entitled to freedom of movement and self expression and individual security. In addition, it was easy then to ask, whoever was entitled to freedom and what the meaning of freedom was. The Northern Whites on the other hand fought for the security of Union as one way of gaining liberty. This entailed the ending of slavery for liberty to prevail.
Lincoln further evoked the masses in the Northern by telling them that freeing slaves would be like freeing the free. The 1862 December was the Emancipation Proclamation Congress, in which Lincoln was moved to stir up the understanding of freedom in terms of freeing slaves. The termination of slavery would help to free the whole society, the rich and the poor. It was emphasized that freedom of the United States Whites would signify freedom to the entire globe. With reference to Lincoln, the term liberty provoked different understanding of from different personalities.
He said, “…but using the same word we do not mean the same thing. ” This was an observation he made in 1864. According to his observation, he states that in the North, freedom is a term used to refer to personal ability to enjoy the fruit of his sweat. The motive in the Northern residents was to work for good product and enjoying it. While in the south the move towards freedom referred to the ability to become a master and enjoy the result of other persons work. The advocated for slavery. This was against the principles of work as per Lincoln’s understanding.
Lincoln feels that it slavery reflects theft of some kind since slavery stole other person’s of their hard work. The master enjoys the fruit of slaves’ hard work. Furthermore, it is from the First World War that the rights of voting are granted to women who attained the age of 18 year. The 1865 Union’s victory evoked the debates on nationality of Americans. Victory meant national norm. The redefinition of who an American citizen was became of paramount importance to incorporate different races of America as citizens.
The fight for citizenship and voting rights as well as property ownership soon became a source of freedom to the enslaved. Union victory became symbolic of war freedom in terms of empowerment and equal opportunity to all American citizens. As mentioned earlier in this text that Douglass felt that freedom came only if the Black American was fully freed from slavery. He insisted that unless the black American had the right to vote then he was not free. The black American was allowed to vote. Nonetheless, by1890’s the South scraped off their voting rights thus emancipation of the Africa Americans.
Liberty as defined by the Southern Planter class, did not allow African Americans on the choice to work on plantations. After the civil war most Southern Whites expected to continue with plantation farming at the expense of African American’s freedom. This meant that African Americans would only receive some form of wages for the labor they offered. Conversely, they were not free to choose on whether or not to work in the plantations. By 1865, Freedom had not yet come to the former slaves in the South even after the end of slavery.
Freedom to the Black was confined within limited boundaries which meant advanced slavery. In this context, a planter wrote that beside a man being free, they may lack independence, which implied that African Americans needed not be given the right to vote nor the ownership of land. It was later on discovered that the African American slaves’ freedom implied freedom from forced labor. The reconstruction of 1865- 1866, came up with a rules and regulations governing their freedom limits. The African American former slaves were forced to sign labor contracts and start working on the plantations in the South.
This was a rule under the president Johnson who as a result was impeached for the violation of human rights. The question on citizenship was so disturbing that even in the 1940s it was not easy for Asians to gain citizenship by naturalization although their children born in America automatically became citizens. There was still lack of freedom for American residents. Racial discrimination resulted from the barriers of citizenship. While Southern economy was based on agriculture, the northern economy was based on industrialization.
Many factories were growing fast and making enormous profits in the North where freedom was experienced in transport systems. There was freedom of economy with factories making maximum profits. Unfortunately, that the immigrants of America within the cities especially in the factories worked under stressful and dangerous working conditions. Although some factory owner created habitable places for their workers most of them failed to acknowledge the need for hospitable working and living conditions for their workers. There was need for freedom from poor working conditions.
Factory owners needed to be reminded on the need for clean working conditions. The cotton gin increased production at the expense of slave labor. Women fell victims of enslavement and needed to be freed. There was great desire to broaden freedom quotations for African Americans in the U. S factories. Despite the constant strive to gain liberty in different perspectives; White Americans have sluggishly accepted the African and Asian American as equals. It has take centuries to even have African American be recognized as people who need equal constitutional rights.
Nevertheless, the situation is changing with modernity to extend of electing a Black American president as recently Barrack Obama was. Non whites have had to fight uncontrollably to gain that position. Numerous reconstruction presidential reconstruction amendments have been put in place in the fight for liberty. Women were termed as unequal; men took a superior position in all domains of learning and economics as well as politics. In conclusion, there are different definitions of the term freedom depending on the region or the speaker.
Lincoln discussed freedom in the South as economical in which masters had power over their servants. The servants were basically slaves. He also described freedom in the North as one that set slaves free from all aspects of forced labor, taxation any form of mistreatment. The planter also describes freedom as the one in which a freed slave would only need to get some wages but have no choice of whether or not to work in the whites plantations. It was mandatory for the slave to work for the master in order to ensure freedom of the Southern masters in terms of economic development.
Finally citizenship and freedom of the union victory were form of freedom for the U. S residents. However, it is undisputed that most of the early African Americans bought their way to freedom and citizenship through slavery or even participating successfully in the civil war. Some African American had to take part in revolution in the fight for freedom. We still have to reexamine the meaning of freedom in more fields in the U. S where there is discrimination and racial prejudice. References Donald & Herbert D. (1995). Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster Eric J. (1993).
To wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Eric F. (1995). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology Of the Republication Party Before Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press. Herman B. (2000). A New Birth of Freedom: The Republican Party and Freedmen’s Rights, 1861-1866. New York: Fordham University Press. Neely M. E. (1991). The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. New York: Oxford University Press. Paul C. N. (1971). The Sacred Trust: American Nationality 1798-1898. New York: Oxford University Press.
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