Race, Gender, And Class Defined Liberty And Freedom

879 Words Sep 11th, 2015 4 Pages
How Race, Gender, and Class Defined Liberty and Freedom in early America In eighteenth century America, freedom and liberty were constantly being defined and redefined. After the American Revolution, when America declared its independence from Britain, America started writing its own doctrines and establishing what made the United States an independent country. What made someone free, what constituted as liberty, and who got to obtain both was always changing. Different groups defined liberty and freedom in different ways dependent upon their race, gender, and class.
Race was a variable that changed people’s definition of freedom and liberty. In early America, slavery was still a common practice, especially among the Southern states. In the slaves’ view, they had not yet achieved freedom like the white men in the country had from the revolution. In the document Slaves’ Petitions for Freedom During the American Revolution the first group of authors wrote to members of the Massachusetts assembly stating that they, “…expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand against the designs of their fellow men to enslave them.” And implored that in their next session the slaves may be considered for “…civil and religious liberty…” The authors of the letters were claiming that just as the colonists were being mistreated by the British, the slaves were being mistreated by the Americans. These authors defined liberty as, “…all that of right to [them] for past services,”…

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