Freedom Essay

327 WordsJan 22, 20122 Pages
What did freedom mean to the newly freed slaves? How did they express their new found freedom? Freedom is simply defined having liberty or independence. “With the end of Civil War, Illinois congressman declared in 1865,the United States was a new nation, for the first time wholly free.” (Foner 2007) Freedom mean to the newly freed slaves was “shaped by their experiences as slaves and their observation of the free society around them. To begin with, freedom meant escape the punishment by the lash, the separation from the families, denial of access to education, and the sexual exploitation of black women by their owners. And sharing the rights and opportunities of American citizens.”(Foner 2007) Black also “relished the opportunity to demonstrate their liberation from the regulations. They openly held mass meetings and religious services free of white supervision, and they acquired dogs , guns and liquor, all barred to them under slavery.”(Foner 2007) They expressed their freedom by “ former slaves made remarkble efforts to locate loved ones from whom they had been separated under slavery; at the same time blacks abandoned white controlled religious institutions to create churches of their own; another striking example of the freedpeople's quest for individual and community improvement was their desire for education; the right to vote inevitably became central to the former slaves' desire for empowerment and equality; like rural people throughout the world, former slaves's idea of freedom were directly related to land ownership.”(Foner 2007) In conclusion, to our American ancestors, freedom meant not only more than intellectual, religious, and civil liberty. It also meant the right to engage in economic enterprise freely, to freely enter into mutually beneficial economic exchanges with others, to accumulate the harvest of those exchanges, and to

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