Your Freedom Is Not Free Essay
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Freedom is more than a concept, it is an ideal with varied and complex subjective interpretations. Ideas concerning the liberty of body and soul are heavily connected to the formation of individual and cultural identity in American literary history. Certain nineteenth century American writers stand out for their real-life dedication to freedom and non-conformity for seeking to free themselves from whatever shackles limited them from reaching their potentials, both literally and figuratively. Henry David Thoreau, Fredrick Douglass, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are exemplary writers of the nineteenth century who strove to articulate not only the ideas of freedom and justice, but also the means by which these ideals, which they themselves acted…show more content…
However, it can be argued that the work of Thoreau and Douglass might be more in synch and offer a better pairing for comparative reading or analysis than does the more well-worn tandem of Emerson and Thoreau. In contrast to Emerson, the writings of Thoreau and Douglass are both significantly more didactic. Their writing is pithy, entertaining, and educational, where Emerson is more prescriptive. In an article which compares Thoreau and Douglass's respective arguments in support of the use of violence for justified protest, Jason Matzke points out that, though the writing of each makes the barest of reference to the other, their lives shared many commonalities, including:
They were roughly the same age, with Thoreau born in 1817 and Douglass born probably in 1818. They had a number of mutual friends and acquaintances, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Philips, Horace Greeley, Theodore Parker, Emerson, and John Brown;
They each spoke publicly for the anti-slavery cause (and in fact Thoreau delivered his well-known "Slavery in Massachusetts" while filling in for Douglass at a rally in Framingham, MA);
And they were each active with the underground railroad. (Matzke, 62)
A more relevant commonality, however, is that they both
What Freedom Means to Me: Fresh Ideas for Your Essay
We all have different cultural histories that make for the meaning of the term “freedom” different. For some it could mean a sense of commitment, pride and hope. For others it could represent a sense of honor, sacrifice, and memory. Today, many people take what our nation’s ancestors worked so hard to achieve for granted. The “What Freedom Means To Me” essay is a popular essay assigned as early as middle-school to challenge students’ minds when answering the question. Here are some fresh ideas you may want to consider for your essay:
- Freedom of the Press and Censorship. Censorship still exists in many forms in the U.S., and in many ways the only freedom of the press that exists is one that ensures that criticism of the government will not be met with punishment. Is this true freedom then?
- Why One Must Choose Freedom Over Equality. This isn’t as simple a question as one would think. Many believe the two are not mutually exclusive. To have one the other can’t be absolute. Is this true and in what ways is or isn’t it?
- What Freedom Means In America Vs. The Rest of the World. Is the history of America and all of its supposed freedom true to what the founding fathers expected? Is America still a symbol of absolute freedom in the world? Was it ever?
- The Faces of Freedom and Their Meaning. Different people will provide different definitions for what freedom means. What do the different meanings tell us about why so many people in the world still live without basic freedoms?
- Keeping the Peace While Upholding Freedom. In order to protect freedoms for others, sometimes the military or the police must maintain public peace by using force. Is the cost to great for the alleged freedom we have?
- The Values That Are Sacrificed For Freedom. Personal values may be sacrificed to uphold freedom for others in the country – lives, money, freedom, health, and emotions are given up. But is the cost greater than the reward?
- Can One Have Freedom When Love Can Be Prohibited. If the freedom to love whoever one chooses can be denied by local, state or federal governments, can anyone really say that love is a freedom we all enjoy?
- Freedom in the American Constitution. There are many basic freedoms as outlined in the Constitution. But what about freedoms that are implied but not guaranteed, can they be taken away?