Land of the Free
What is freedom? Is it the ability to do what one pleases? Is it the ability to have one’s own thoughts? Or is it the ability to express oneself without facing consequences? The reality is, no idea is more fundamental to Americans, both individually and as a nation, than freedom. No other word is so deeply carved into the hearts of the people and in the history of the country. In fact, it was this mere idea that gave Englishmen a reason to travel four thousand miles through the fierce Atlantic Ocean during the sixteenth century to a whole new, unpredicted, dangerous continent. Furthermore, American’s love for the term has been represented many times by nationwide polls, and by actions, such as burning draft cards and flags, by dumping massive amounts of tea over a ship, or by even building a gigantic copper statue. Throughout American history, freedom has never been a fixed concept or idea, changing as culture and time changes. Rather, it has been the very cause of constant conflicts and struggles different social groups and the country as a whole have faced. Thomas Jefferson, in “The Declaration of Independence”, exposed what freedom meant to Americans, John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, went on to add how to maintain it, and president Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ shows that this idea is close to being perfected. All documents explicitly support the change of the term throughout history. As Thomas Jefferson states in “The Declaration of Independence”, “…All men are created equal” (11). This simple yet powerful statement caused more problems than Jefferson ever thought it would. At the time, there was a clear division between social groups. There was a hierarchical pyramid where white males rested at the top, black slaves at the bottom, and women stood in between. Many thought that this document would end the differences between these groups; however, it just made them more evident. When Jefferson wrote down those five words, what he...
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