Freedom is sometimes perceived as a synonym of the United States. This country is famous for its value of liberty, which means the right to act according to one’s own will as long as it does not affect other people. The founding fathers came to America to be able to live in freedom without any discrimination, and this is what many immigrants still look for in the United States (Krauthammer, 2017). However, the concept of freedom is much more complicated than it is often believed, and the American society has not always conformed to its status of a free nation. In this essay, I discuss the concept of freedom as the underlying principle of the American nation and reflect on what it means for Americans to be free.
It is a well-known fact that the United States has been founded as a free nation. Pilgrims that came to this promising land searched for a place where they could practice their religion freely and set their own rules. They belonged to different nations and cultures but looked for one thing that was denied to them in their native countries – liberty (Krauthammer, 2017). Paradoxically, but the country that took pride in being free was the one that doomed millions of black people to slavery. It is difficult to understand how and why people who came to the new land to gain liberty could be so cruel to other people and not realize the consequences of their actions.
However, in some way, slavery only intensified the value and role of freedom in the American society and proved that it should not be taken for granted. On the contrary, freedom is something people should fight for. After the emancipation movement and abolition of slavery, liberty became the universal principle that crossed racial and cultural lines to the benefit of the American nation in general (Maier, 1998). In the 20th century, the principles of freedom and equity were finally applied in courts to protect the rights of the most disadvantaged and oppressed citizens. The issue of gender equality was raised during this time, and women demanded the freedom of expression and equal career opportunities (Maier, 1998). Freedom has become much more than the right to control one’s life – it gradually transformed into the synonym of human rights, equal opportunities, and justice.
In the present-day America, freedom in all its manifestations occupies a central place. Thus, for example, the United States take pride in its freedom of speech, which allows journalists and regular citizens to voice their ideas and concerns without the risk of being put in jail. People are free to say anything they want as long as it does not hurt other people’s feelings. Although Americans often take this opportunity for granted, it is actually the key to a free, democratic society that many totalitarian states do not have. There is also the freedom of expression that characterizes contemporary America. Its citizens are free to choose any religion, sexual orientation, clothes, career, and lifestyle they want, and the state does not have a right to restrict this fundamental freedom. It is not surprising, therefore, that many immigrants from all over the world come to America to enjoy this valuable freedom and construct a new identity unrestricted by any discriminatory rules and laws.
To summarize, America has come a long way to becoming a free nation. Although the United States was established as a free country, its people have fought much to protect their rights and liberties. Throughout its history, the concept of freedom has been the guiding light to all disadvantaged and oppressed people who sought a better life. Due to their persistence and sacrifice, modern Americans can enjoy freedom in all its manifestations and be sure that their liberties are protected by the state.
Krauthammer, D. (2017). What makes America great? The Weekly Standard. Retrieved from http://www.weeklystandard.com/what-makes-america-great/article/2007818
Maier, P. (1998). Sparring for liberty. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/01/reviews/981101.01maiert.html
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