Race And Freedom Essay, Research Paper
Freedom is a word that can be spoken and recognized by any man. Throughout history many have fought and died to gain the assurance of freedom and equality. Though the definition of freedom may vary, the general acknowledgement of it is well known. Thomas Jefferson believed that freedom was having unalienable rights that could not be destroyed by any form of government. Although he declared freedom, equality and justice for ALL MEN, this was not the intent of his declaration. Frederick Douglass, on the other hand, knew of freedom, but until a certain point in his life was not able to completely understand and experience it. Freedom, justice and equality are spoken of much together in history. Even though all men desire these three fundamentals, they do not walk hand in hand. Freedom does not mean equality, and equality does not mean justice.
Webster’s dictionary defines freedom as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: INDEPENDENCE. I concur completely with this definition of freedom. I have always viewed freedom as a form of independence. When you are independent, no other human has the authority to completely govern over your own life and decisions. This concept of freedom, unfortunately does not mean equality. This definition; though many years after the 19th century, was very much similar to the way Douglass viewed freedom. Jefferson, on the other hand, viewed freedom in a slightly different way. The fact that freedom was not meant for every man plays a great part in the differences of their perceptions.
Equality and freedom are not directly related. The Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal.” Unfortunately, this is a lie. If all men were meant to be equal, black men and women would not have been slaves. There would not have been an abduction of thousands of men, woman and children from their homeland to the country they call America. How can a man be equal if he is treated lower than the dung of a cow? If he has unalienable rights he should have had the right to be free. The white man took it upon himself to make the slave. He disobeyed the laws of his own Christianity. One of the Ten Commandments says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Jefferson felt that it was a God given right for men to have equality. He had slaves so what does that say about his belief.
The Constitution of the United States of America also declares rights for all me. Unfortunately, freedom, justice and equality were only meant for men like the Europeans. Just looking at the life of Fredrick Douglass demonstrates how freedom does not mean equality. Douglass became a free slave, but could never be accepted into the whit society as an equal. He became more educated and knowledgeable than many white men, but could never have the same opportunities as one looked upon society as a “pure citizen”. What does this say about the morals of our American society? A man cannot have equality and justice because he has an ethnic difference. Frederick Douglass had a distorted vision of freedom in his early years because he was black. Knowledge was concealed from him. The white man wanted him to be naive and illiterate, because if he were knowledgeable he would become a threat to the industry of slavery that was built. Even after one hundred years every man still is not and will not be equal.
The men that paved the way for equality as Jefferson and Hamilton did must have missed some of the cement. The ignorance and prejudice that existed still is embedded today. Although there may never come a time when we all will be fully equal, it is important to know that all men are created equal.