The Concept Of Freedom History Essay

Freedom is a amusing thing. It is a construct so closely tied to how we view ourselves and our state as Americans, and yet it is such a subjective construct based on clip and topographic point. As a kid we think of Freedom as the freedom to remain up every bit tardily as we want, to eventually be ‘free ‘ of our parents unjust, totalitarian regulation. As we age our construct of Freedom broadens. We think of things like faith, free address, the freedom to take our spouses and progress in life. Likewise, throughout history the construct of Freedom has changed. Foner says about the alteration in Native American ‘s position of Freedom: “ ‘Freedom ‘ had non played a major portion in Indian ‘s vocabulary before the Revolution. … In a sense, Indian ‘s definition of their rights was going Americanized ” ( 1, 220 ) . This shows the fluidness of Freedom amongst both peoples and times.

For me to experience that I had lost my Freedom, there are both big and little freedoms that would hold to be taken off from me. If I lost the right to freedom of address or faith, I would certainly get down to believe I was populating in a dictatorship. Likewise, I hold the right to vote really affectionately, as I do the right to take who to love, acquire an instruction, progress socio-economically, and to have my ain place one twenty-four hours. If I was told that I was non allowed to make those things, or to work and ain personal belongings I might believe I was populating under a absolutism. My last two freedoms I would hold to lose are a spot more specific: to take how to dress and the right to call my child/change my ain name. I went to a school without uniforms, so to me picking my vesture was ever a signifier of self look and an extension of free address, so I ‘m sensitive to the lose of that. The name issue stems from my find that in some states, including Germany, parents much switch babe names to the authorities for blessing. I find this pathetic, I understand the authorities does n’t desire kids stuck with unusual names, nevertheless, that is what name alterations are for. I do n’t experience a parent ‘s determination on calling their kid is someplace where authorities belongs.

Nathaniel Bacon was a 29 twelvemonth old affluent Englishman who moved to the settlement of Virginia and settled in the frontier ( 2, p.3 ) . He was by several histories disdainful of the new moneyed elite who acted as buddies of the governor ( 2, p.1 ) . The period during which he mover to the frontier was one of civil agitation and much incrimination was placed on local Indians ( 3 ) . Bacon, whether for racial or economic grounds hated the Indians and like many other frontier inhabitants: “ demanded that the governor authorise the extinction or remotion of the settlement ‘s Indians ” ( 1, 100 ) . The governor ‘s dissension and refusal to allow Bacon a committee to make it on his ain led to a rebellion ( 4 ) . One can deduce many things from the narrative of Bacon ‘s rebellion, and Bacon ‘s feelings about freedom are particularly interesting. He clearly viewed non merely the defence of one ‘s belongings but the enlargement of the settlement onto Indian district as a cardinal right. He besides is a large advocate of free trade and the rights of the people ( 5 ) . Because he was elected to office ( 2, p.5 ) one can deduce that he supported the right to vote. Interestingly, despite his thickly settled appeal his statements against the freshly rich suggest he was classicist and utilizing the multitudes as a tool, non as respected compatriots.

A former military adult male who fought in the Caribbean against the Gallic, Sir Edmund Andros was appointed the governor of New York ( 1, 89 ) . When “ James II… combined Connecticut, Plymouth, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and East and West Jersey into a individual super-colony ” ( 1, 103 ) Sir Andros was made it ‘s governor. He was profoundly disliked by the bulk of the people. He “ did non hold to reply to an elected assembly ” ( 1, 103 ) which to a aggregation of settlement ‘s used to self administration must hold made him seem like a unbearable autocrat. Much of what one needs to cognize about his positions of Freedom can be discerned from a individual quotation mark by Foner “ He appointed local functionaries in topographic point of elected 1s, imposed revenue enhancements without the blessing of elective representatives, declared earlier land grants null unless approved by him, and enforced spiritual acceptance for all Protestants. ” ( 1, 103-4 ) . From the I can deduce that Sir Andros did non believe in the right to vote, believed in a kind of freedom of Religion, believed in protecting the people and caring for them as kids, leting them to thrive under his control. He besides seemed to believe that people had the right to try to blandish him into giving them favours: ” In New England, Andros ‘s actions alienated about everyone non dependent on his disposal for favours ” ( 1, 103 ) . This of class necessitates you ‘re high category sufficiency to be granted an audience. It is possible his actions while in power may hold been more a response to the civil rebellion of the clip, yet they more suggest a individual with a really narrow position of freedom.

The narrative of Anthony Johnson is a singular 1. Brought to the settlements as an ( presumptively ) unwilling apprenticed retainer, he completed his service and became an inspirational success narrative ( 6 ) . He married another retainer and together they raised a household and “ owned land and cowss and even indentured retainers of his ain ” ( 6 ) . As a free property-owning black he enjoyed the same freedoms as Englishmans, including the right to vote ( 1, 145 ) . Because this was before the institutionalization of bondage ( 7 ) I believe he would hold viewed his rights as the same as his fellow settlers. However, he must hold been cognizant of the altering attitudes of the people as good. He would hold believed that his kids had the right to be born free, his household ‘s freedom to travel to new topographic points as they please, and to come in into contracts with other people ( 8 ) . He besides would hold been a advocate of the right to support oneself and one ‘s belongings. He survived a barbarous Indian onslaught shortly after coming here ( 8 ) and was probably given a gun as portion of his ‘freedom dues ‘ ( 6 ) , which shows the attitude of handling black apprenticed retainers the same as white.

The differences in their positions was chiefly based on their fortunes. Sir Edmund Andros was a former military leader and the Governor of an boisterous constellation of settlements that did n’t desire to be together. As such his position of freedom was really narrow. Possibly a spot excessively narrow sing what happened to him. Nathaniel Bacon was a spoilt immature adult male who was non in power, and ignored by people he thought he was better than. He became a ‘champion of the multitudes ‘ in order to acquire power. I suspect had he maintained that power he would hold been a autocrat. His definition of freedom probably changed with the state of affairs, but it surely included to compensate to tread over the native barbarians and claim their land for Englishmen. Anthony Johnson, despite his colour, was at that clip for all purposes and purposes the same as any low born Englishmans. He was thankful to be free of his contract and intelligent plenty to turn himself into a success narrative. His freedoms were the freedoms of all such Englishmans, the promise of prosperity and felicity in the new universe. All the work forces would hold agreed on the right to ain belongings, acquire married, be the swayer of their places, and to be protected by the authorities. Merely Bacon and Johnson would hold concurred over the right to vote, make concern, and purchase land. The first would hold been refuted by Sir Andros and the latter two viewed as privileges granted with the consent of the authorities.

There are some freedoms that I view as perfectly indispensable that would hold been viewed by these work forces as pathetic, although they may hold believed in some more limited version. For case, I hold freedom of address and faith as two cardinal freedoms, as a merchandise of the Bill of Rights. However, none of these historical figures would hold viewed these rights in the same manner. Sir Andros may hold protected the freedom of faith for Protestants merely, yet this is a far call from the modern definition. Not merely would these freedoms non be considered by these work forces, but they besides would likely hold been appalled by the idea of them. To let any individual regardless of position to state whatever they like, or publically differ with their ‘betters ‘ would hold been viewed as sheer lunacy ; and to let people to pattern any faith would hold probably been seen as a invitation to the Satan. Similarly, the thought of freedom of frock or self look would hold been seen as pathetic. This was a clip period that was really much about conformance, suiting in and making what society expected, non flash one ‘s individualism. My thought of holding the freedom to take who to love, adult male or adult female so long as they ‘re a consenting grownup would hold similarly been seen as insane. While it is non a topic mentioned in any of the texts, I ‘m willing to speculate that any individual denoting they were a homosexual dorsum so would hold at a bare minimal been banished from the settlement, and more likely killed. Even they thought of taking a heterosexual spouse was something that had to run into with the blessing of household, the church and the jurisprudence. Education was a luxury of the affluent elite. As a affluent immature Englishmen Bacon had no uncertainty received some signifier of instruction and looked down on the new money elite who had non. Sir Edmund Andros was a leader in the armed forces, a place frequently afforded to the boies of the elite, so he was besides likely educated. There is small grounds that Mr Johnson had enjoyed an instruction, or that his boy did. All three likely felt that it was indispensable for the opinion elite, but unneeded for adult females and the common adult male. A cosmopolitan instruction as we have today would hold been thought of every bit frivolous, those kids could be doing themselves utile and working.

There are certain rights that I think these work forces would hold with me on, such as a household ‘s right to take their kid ‘s name, although I do n’t believe name alterations were something they did. Certainly the right of every free adult male to prosecute paid employment was a value held by each of these work forces, though they would hold no uncertainty felt that as a adult females I should stay in the place. Besides they would hold viewed employment through the eyes of classicalism, probably experiencing merely certain people were qualified for some more esteemed places. The right to hold and have a place was something all these work forces held really beloved. Each was a belongings proprietor who wanted to be certain to hold land to go through on to their inheritors. Part of Bacon ‘s rebellion was over geting more land for the colonists. While in the modern twenty-four hours most would differ with the thought of stealing land, the American dream of place ownership is still alive and good. Anthony Johnson believed strongly in the freedom to progress in society and to get wealth. He started out from inordinately low beginnings and was able to finally have 100s of estates and retainers of his ain. I think Sir Andros would hold been less for this thought unless a peculiar single won his specific favour. Nathaniel Bacon hated all the new money elite, experiencing that they should hold stayed in their proper topographic point. All these persons believed in the right to have one ‘s ain personal belongings, although they would hold qualified who was eligible to make so. Nathaniel Bacon seemed to be a large fan of the male landowning populace ‘s right to vote, at least every bit long as they were voting for him. Sir Andros clearly demonstrated that he thought the people were better served by a absolutism, while Mr. Johnson likely enjoyed his right to vote as a landowning freewoman. It ‘s dubious any of the every even considered the thought of adult females voting.