Liberty in the History of America Essay

2150 Words9 Pages
America is commonly called the “Land of the Free”, but the abundance of liberties, and liberties for all, has not always been the case. The Puritans were some of the first to settle in the New World, but they were self-interested and did not come with the purpose of creating a free state for all. As time progressed, so did their believes, and by the time Tocqueville arrived from France, liberty was an important aspect of American life. So important that people would fight and die for it. Tocqueville, while impressed at the amount liberty and freedoms that citizens had, believed that America had a long way to go before it could call itself a truly free country. Fast forward over a hundred years later, and John Rawls lived in a time were the…show more content…
Their legitimacy did not come from the people that they ruled over, but from God, and Rulers were “appointed by God” to serve “his will”. This divine sovereignty gave them to create and enforce the laws and standards that they liked in the name of God, when often they were truly acting with self-interest. Popular sovereignty on the other hand is considered rule by the people. Through participation, people create and sustain the government. The Puritans did not believe in rule by the people because people are inherently flawed and erroneous. In reality, it was the Puritans using the claim of divine sovereignty to push their own religious and authoritarian agenda. Most Puritan thinkers did not believe in the idea of liberty. Nathanial Ward was a strict authoritarian, and in his essay, Simple Cobbler of Aggawam, he states that he does not believe in natural rights and liberties. The only liberties one had were the ones given by God, so it can be assumed that he did not believe in freedom of expression, freedom of religion or popular sovereignty (Baker and Thomas 56). The role of the state was not to protect natural liberties, but rather, only those God given liberties. Ward strongly condoned toleration for many reasons. First, toleration of religions other than Puritanism would
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