Eric Foner

Foner reveals how the definition relates to who is entitled to enjoy it or, rather, who is an American. In times of threat to national security, Americans are often willing to sacrifice some degree of personal liberty. This concept is painfully revealed at the present time in the face of Arizona's new illegal immigration policy. Freedom is also an inalienable right of all Americans. In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were denied their freedom and civil and legal rights in the U.S. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, for instance, progressive focused on democratic citizenship and women's advance through the suffrage movement, but at the same time massive disenfranchisement of African Americans in the South and repression of racial unionists and socialists occurred. Body From the American Revolution to the rebirth of Conservatism in contemporary times, Foner traces the changing story of American freedom through a framework of three distinct themes. As Foner defines them, these themes are "the meanings of freedom, the social conditions that make freedom possible, and the boundaries of freedom-the definition, that is, of who is entitled to enjoy it. Through different periods in American history these three themes are revealed in discussions, debates and struggles to affect definitions of American freedom by the protagonists involved. Living amid freedom but denied its substance, slaves appropriated the patriotic ideology for their own purposes. The views of conservatives and radicals have also affected definitions of American freedom during its history. For example, during the Civil War era views of American freedom put forth by the Confederacy were blatant in their denial of it to some Americans. In many ways the debates regarding the meanings and boundaries of Americans freedoms and the heated contestations surrounding them have been founded on economic disputes, from the Whigs and Jacksonian Democrats to the Populists and...
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