Essay on Liberty Vs Equality

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From the initial creation to the groundbreaking ideas that led to the creation of our great nation more specifically during the late 18th century and throughout the early 20th century, the ideas of liberty, equality, and power have echoed throughout as key to the fundamental and structural ideals on which our country was built upon. The Revolutionary Period, the Civil War, and the Jim Crow era brought with each a new and different way of interpreting what was meant by liberty, equality, and power. The choices and understandings of what each would be defined as during each period would bring with it significant changes and effects that would change history. The revolutionary period had a much more significant focus on the aspects of equality and liberty. An example of this is during the Revolutionary period, with the interpretation and creation of the Declaration of Independence. This period gravitated towards the overall ideas of liberty, equality, and power of the whole nation rather than just that of a single group of people or particular groups of people like the Jim Crow era did. The Civil War era had a large issue that no one wanted to address but as a result of power as well as equality this was slavery. The meanings of liberty equality and power had evolved from the revolutionary period. The new issue or better yet new emphasis on how to deal with the issue of slavery highly combated the ideas of the once focus on the overall nations, liberty, equality, and power, the new shift was towards a smaller group. It was no longer a focus on the free nation but on the small group that held all the power and limited the power as well as liberties and equalities of those seen as lesser people. As these issues continued into the reconstruction era following the Civil War era, the Jim Crow era began to arise and bring about once again the continued issue of inequality and lack of equality and liberties of a particular group of people. As African Americans were no longer owned by others as slaves there was still subject to issues of equality as well as liberty and power as segregation inhibited freedom and created more issues for African Americans during the Reconstruction era. As times and periods changed so did the meaning of Liberty, equality, and power. The understanding of each changed much like that of the people, politics, as well as the issues of the times.

Depicted as a list of grievances the Declaration of Independence set the precedence of the framework and reasons as to why the United States felt the need to be apart from Great Britain and be a nation of her own. It was the need to have Liberty, Equality, and Power that was greatly the topic of discussion throughout the Revolutionary period. As it is often repeated, “all men are created equal…” Jefferson wrote this to emphasize the point that we all were created with the same opportunities. More specifically no one was born better than another person. This statement had gone against the inherited powers much like that known as the English monarchy. For men like Jefferson at the time, however, even though he had said that AMACE, that was not necessarily the case for Slaves as at this time they were not viewed as citizens or even people but rather as property. The first sense of liberty for the United States was seen in 1781 when the Articles of Confederation were ratified leading the way to the beginnings of the United States' first central government. In this document, however, the power was not given directly to this new centralized government but rather it was the states that possessed all the power. Since all the power was left to the states this made for an interesting dilemma when passing laws and when the discussion was reared towards the topic of slavery and outlawing it in the North but it remained a functioning institution in the South. As it was not the best form of law the Articles of Confederation failed leaving the decision on what to do about the issues of no longer having a written form of government. It was then that several white males decided to create a new document that outlined and was called the Constitution. As the men had created this as it had been stated Jefferson and others had owned slaves which would lead to the creation of the three-fifths compromise. With the creation of the compromise, there would later be the creation of no liberties, equality, or power for slaves of the time. Over time new inventions such as the cotton gin lead to greater output by slaves during the late 18th century. By the time Jefferson had become president slave importing was outlawed, this was not a disadvantage to slave owners as the population of slaves had grown domestically so much that importing was no longer a necessity. As was earlier stated we see that the nation was able to gain liberty, equality, and power from Great Britain but in turn, as we gained these qualities there was then a dispositional denial of these ideals to certain members of society and our very nation.

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DIvison between the North and the South arose as the ideas of whether slavery was to be an institution that should be enforced by all, some or none came into question. The South which was focused on the use of slaves for agriculture dreaded and refused to allow the idea that slaves could be citizens and be free. As for the North as the industry began to boom and grow the need for slaves had dissipated and the institution had begun to disappear almost entirely. The call to action as to whether slavery should remain was with the Louisiana Purchase which would lead to the expansion out west. Leading into the beginning of the civil war in the late 1800s there was a rise in the abolitionists. Several people began to show how slavery was a creation of evil, which led to the forefront of the political issues of the times. The issue of liberty and equality was focused more on slavery but the power and issues were upon that of the state and the issues it faced with the power struggle with the federal government. A prime example of this power struggle was the Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sanford which denied citizenship to black citizens whether free or not. It affected the rights of liberty and equality obviously but hindered the black citizen's ability to rise from any type of oppression as well as created power issues between states and the federal government. The idea of popular sovereignty stated that the people should be able to have a voice to not be imposed by federal laws when state laws say the opposite. The Kansas-Nebraska Plan showed this concept which was significant to the beginning of the Civil War.

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Essay on Liberty Vs Equality. (2024, February 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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