Nothing can be more powerful and desired than freedom. A bird in a cage is able to sing, but it does not do that because it has no desire to enjoy life while the will is suppressed and peace is away from its heart. People are like those birds in the cage searching for peace of mind, spirit, speech and action. People have everything but at the same time nothing if they are not the creators of their own life. That is why, freedom is an important aspect that makes the life bright and happy. It is worth fighting for, as only equality can bring peace to humanity and prosperity to a country. This essay seeks to discuss the following questions as: a definition of freedom, philosophical point of view as to the notion of freedom, types of freedoms (economic, religious and political), the Civil War and its consequences, conclusion.
At first it is necessary to identify a definition of freedom. According to “The American Heritage Dictionary” (Delta 2001), freedom is: “the condition of being free from restraints; liberty of the person from slavery, oppression, or, incarceration; political independence; exemption from unpleasant or onerous conditions; the capacity to exercise choice; free will”. As a result, one may notice that a concept of freedom is versatile but, in any case, it is a positive notion because it relieves from oppression, dependence and unpleasant feelings.
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Though, from the point of view of philosophy, there two approaches to the meaning of freedom. Negative theorists support the idea that “freedom means being allowed to do what you like” (Groarke 2002). On the contrary to them, positive theorists state that “freedom involves submission to a higher-order self that, in the course of history comes to be identified with state authority” (Groarke 2002). It is really so, one becomes an individual with the help of freedom. People are unique as they are able to choose what they want to do. Positive sides of freedom are more important to people. Generally speaking, it makes people enjoy life and follow their own desires and needs.
By the way, there are different types of freedoms and each one is important. There are political freedom, economic freedom, national freedom, religious freedom, etc. Nowadays, people are allowed mostly everything and have got all the freedoms they can dream of, including the economic freedom. “Economic freedom is crucially important because it is necessary as a safeguard to all our other freedoms. Before we can enjoy any of our civil liberties, we must be free to acquire the means necessary to exercise them” (Ferrara 1998). For example, a driver needs a car to be able to work, a tailor needs a needle and a thread, a doctor needs a stethoscope - this list can be endless. One can have them and work with great pleasure, earning money and living a happy life. However, unfortunately, while having good profits, people desire to have more and more and they are not still satisfied with their income.
People are not devoid of religious freedom. The belief is one of the factors to determine a “healthy nation”. Though, there are different beliefs throughout the world (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), people are free to choose the one that suits them: “…today most people consider religion to be a matter of individual choice, whose cultures have been divided over the issue of religion” (Connolly 2006).
In addition, it must be pointed out that people also possess political independence. They have a right to vote for the candidates they like, create political parties and express their thoughts and ideas freely. They can change the political situation in a country because only people are engines of progress, changes and development. The only thing that restricts people to act is their laziness and unawareness of the fact that they can make up their own destiny. Sometimes people do not realize their potential and freedom to change what they want.
It should be mentioned that the ancestors fought for the freedom against foreign enemies in order to make the life of future generations happy and carefree. Previous generation proved youth the necessity of freedom. They were not afraid of death for the sake of freedom, they were afraid of becoming slaves and being subordinated to somebody else. Doctor Bill Choby states (2010):
“The birth of liberty was assured when our ancestors realized that they possessed a “free will” and therefore could “choose” alternatives. The healthy development of liberty continued as people recognized the differences between the raw physical laws of survival and the subtle strengths found only the discipline of respect for one another. ”
Let us remember the war raised by African-Americans who could not stand the inequality in views, will and life conditions. Poor people were turned into slaves only because their skin color was different from others. “Slavery is a shameful part of the United State’ s past” (Buell 2004). This was not a life but just existing in an unfair world. As a result, one can notice that justice can lead to an action. The breaking of the rule “All men are created equal” is an inevitable start of the battle, the battle for highly evaluated thing – freedom!
Strong human creatures are all over the world. Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of the leading women in a fight for freedom. Her wonderful and rebellious book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” caused not only huge discussions and criticism but, mainly, actions. “Her text insists that African American slaves should be perceived as fellow humans possessed of a moral dignity that often surpasses that of the white population” (Rodriguez 2007). A story about a kind-hearted Negro slave named Tom did not leave anybody indifferent. It was sold with about 3 million copies. “When President Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe during the Civil War, he said to her, “So this is the little lady who wrote the book that made this great war” (Hakim 2003). This year people are celebrating the anniversary for the Civil War in America, 150 years passed from the time when the South and the North began fighting against each other. The tragedy lead to an enormous amount of deaths – about 3 million citizens lost their lives during the Civil War in order to respond to a cruel attitude towards Afro-Americans.
People were fighting against enemies and did all their best to gain liberty. The war for independence was really cruel but it helped American people to get ready for World War I. By the way, after all the events till the end of the twentieth century, America became one of the leaders in economy, business, military affair and etc. The war helped them to make an industrial revolution. The main thing is that Americans preserved their sense of unity after the war and they became even stronger. America has become one of the leading countries in the world. American people became equal in their rights and freedoms. They became independent and now they are appreciating this freedom as their best treasure. That is why, Americans are considered to be real patriots of their country.
Talking about equality, it is difficult to talk about financial equality in this relation because there will always be rich and poor people. This is a destination of a single person. “Our finances are the way they are not because we have consciously chosen them to be that way, but because we do not know any better” (Essen 2010).
Nowadays liberty is also important for people. Some countries in the modern world are struggling for the freedom. There are long-term wars in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries. The citizens of these countries can answer firmly why the freedom is necessary for them. Sometimes a young generation does not value such an important thing as freedom. The question of freedom is rarely raised because people are fed up with freedom. They do not understand its value. If this is spreading, the consequences may be frightful because it may lead to a war. It should be mentioned, that the most terrible thing that can happen is a war. It can bring only terror, famine, deaths, devastation. Only strong nations can survive such a cruel struggle and preserve individuality, identity, customs and traditions that have been forming for many centuries.
People must respect their liberty and share this respect for the ancestors and the freedom they brought us with children. Only liberty unites people and helps them to gain success. The value of it is enormous. All the creatures on the Earth would not be able to live the full life without freedom. This will be called only existence: to have no choice, to do what other people want…
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