Liberty is a contentious political and moral ideology that intends to define the manner in which a population governs itself. There are several conceptions to the extent in which a people relate in the society and the relation with the government. However, liberty is generally regarded as the kind of freedoms citizens of a country enjoy. It may also refer to the active exercise of rights as provided by the state or a constitution. The United States is regarded as one of the countries that enjoy a liberties as enshrined in the constitution. From 1600-1800, in the North American Colonies and new U.S. nation, perceived threats to freedom impelled groups to alter definitions of liberty and identity to protect their own interests.
The founders of the United States of America had a clear understanding of the relation between a government and its subjects (Morgan, 2003). In their understanding, whatever the form of government that was to be formed, such a government needed to be fundamentally different from what existed at the time. In that, the government that the founding fathers were against was that exhibited by the British. These founding fathers included George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Thomas Payne, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson . They argued that the British form of leadership was influenced by Country Party. In this form of Republican leadership, patriot ideals heavily relied on property ownership and the craving for grace in the struggle to please the ruling elite.
This meant that perfected citizenship was threatened by corruption paradoxically perpetrated by the government. Morgan (2003) illustrates that the British form of republicanism was founded on Roman and the Greek form of governments. Governments were led by elites who accumulated so much wealth to the point that they dictated who would by a greater citizen than the other. In a case where other citizens were treated greater than others, then such a scenario was considered regrettable .
Therefore, the founding fathers considered it vital that leadership of the government avoid luxury as much as possible. In their arguments, the founding fathers considered plausible citizens to be ones who did not rely of monetary compensation to serve the nation. A virtuous citizen should not regard money more than the state as it was the root of all corruption. This new form of citizenship required that one provides service to the state for the interest of the rest of the citizens.
These new ideals led to the American Revolution and the founding of the new nation. The British were increasingly viewed as a hostile and an extremely corrupt colonial master and thus presented the greatest threat to the new form of democracy. The new form of leadership fronted equality, liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness for every citizen. The founding fathers also insisted on constitutionalism to ensure that the reason behind such a revolution was enshrined in the history of the new nation . All this ideals and acts of revolution led to the Declaration of Independence and a formation of new nation.
The revolution eliminated the old form of leadership and introduced an expanded form of self government. At the turn of the 19th century, the ideas of liberty and freedom had penetrated into the entire country. This brought the plight of slaves into the limelight. Seven northern states took the first step of eliminated slavery as it considered this the greatest threat to personal freedom. However, the expansive southern farming states were against the idea. According to these states, liberty referred to the right to own property including salves .
In the end, slavery was eliminated, a new reunited nation founded with the widest range of freedom to it citizenry. Americans today live the American dream, a life of liberty and free of corrupt leadership.
Foner, E. (1990). The story of American freedom. New York: W.W. Norton
McGuire, E. (1957). The story of American freedom. Boston: Macmillan.
Morgan, E. S. (2003). American slavery, American freedom: the ordeal of colonial Virginia. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.