What Is Liberty Essay, Research Paper
What is Liberty?
During the age of enlightenment many philosophes had different views on the definition of liberty. In the opinion of the philosophes , Voltaire, Smith, Montesquieu and Rousseau the four ideals were almost identical. Voltaire stated, Liberty is the life of the soul. Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated, Liberty is obedience to the law one has laid down for oneself. Adam Smith stated, Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way Also, Montesquieu stated, Liberty is the right to do whatever the laws permit. They thought that people could truly be happy in a society with liberty.
Voltaire s statement reflected his idea. His soul was full of life and because of being full of life he had sharp tongue. He was often thrown in jail because of his sharp tongue towards King Louis XV. I believe that Voltaire thought that he didn t have liberty because he was unable to express himself freely, therefore he was critical of nobility and monarchy.
Voltaire s statement is not a useful definition of liberty because it is too broad. His definition of liberty does not specify many arguable areas of liberty. He may be saying liberty is the ability to break laws but still has the life of their soul. His statement would not qualify for modern man because of this.
Rousseau s definition reflects greatly on his ideas. He believed that liberty was every person s natural birthright, yet many were oppressed. He said that it has to do with the law one has laid down for oneself. Liberty in his idea dealt with laws that were fair to everyone.
Rousseau s definition of liberty is very clear and useful. It is useful because it is not as broad and covers more of idea. His definition would be accepted my modern man because in this time everyone is always arguing about fairness and he thought true liberty dealt with laws that were fair to everyone.
Smith s definition of liberty greatly reflects to his ideas. He had many different ideas of law, like the law of self-interest, the law of competition, and the law of supply and demand. These all were supported on his idea of liberty, his laws were not always moral but they were not against the law and people were free to do these things without breaking the law. They pursued their own interest in their own way without breaking the law and this was what he thought liberty was.
Smith s idea was a very useful definition of liberty because it covered most areas so it had very little flaws. Modern man would accept his definition because it is very realistic and understandable.
Montesqieu s definition of liberty reflects his ideas because he dealt with obeying laws and setting laws. The basis of the United States Constution is what about his ideas.
Montesqieus s idea would be accepted before any other philosophes because his definition is the closest realted to our current laws and liberties.