Evolution of the Meaning and Actuality of Freedom over Time.


Using specific historical examples, explain how your understanding of 1) freedom or 2) a free society has changed and deepened since the first days’ classes when you took notes on the topics and looked at the first power point on Freedom.

Show what you have learned from a minimum of two periods (As long as you cover these two thoroughly, you can use ANY of the rest of the time periods we have studied as well.)


1) You will be required to cover either the 1850s or Reconstruction (you will be given which one shortly before the end of the course.) as one of the 2 you cover.

2) Colonial and Native American early periods)

3) Founding of the Republic

4) 1820-1850, including the Market Revolution.

Be sure to use evidence, including specific actors, events, court cases, movements etc. that marked the evolution of the meaning and actuality of freedom over time.

Be sure to also include Big History methodology showing how the fundamental technologies involved inflected the meaning of freedom and the social & economic conditions that make freedom possible. (We have looked at various American societies from the Hunter-Gathering, Early Agricultural, Late Agricultural, and Industrial Techno Economic Periods.)

Remember, this is HISTORY, not an op ed piece. Have a thesis or theses, and then discuss the topic in terms of change over time and specifics.

You should not cover history after the Reconstruction, except for brief references to current issues, if you choose, in terms of your own changing concepts of freedom or very quick contextual comparisons. These type references should be very brief, concise, and NOT look like you are using it as filler instead of covering carefully material before 1877. Please take careful note of this.

Some hints of things you could include: meaning of the freedom(s), how it evolved, how it was articulated (by advocates, in laws, court cases constitution, etc.), proposed, argued for, fought for or against, gained, lost or became part of some people’s core definition of being an American, a free person, etc. Did this freedom impinge on any other group or individuals’ freedoms? If so, what was the relation between unfreedom for some and freedom for others, and how did this change over time.

Some types of freedom you might cover for your time periods:

· 1) Religious Freedom (different parts, e.g:)

· “True Christian Freedom”

· “Natural Freedom”

· Spiritual Freedom

· 2) Economic Freedom, including the effects of corporate power on government.

· 3)Political Freedom e.g.:

· Democracy

· Virtuous Republican Citizen

· Speech, etc.

· Freedom to criticize the Govt

· Freedom from centralization

. 4) Personal Freedom:

· From Deference

· Social Freedom

· Freedom to be left alone

· Freedom from control by others

. 5) Freedom for specific groups

Use ONLY class or syllabus materials . Citing sources may be done informally using endnotes : from Foner and Nace (page #’s) and PPTS (specific PPT & Slide #) IN CLASS films. Do not share your outlines or essay drafts with any classmate before handing the paper in. Nor may you read theirs.

Use of ANY Google Docs by class members will be considered cheating,

Use an Outline!!!

Let yourself write a bit more than you will submit, and then edit it down a page or two.


4 ½ to 5 full pp. of text (not including endnotes or title sections, or your name, class, date etc) double spaced, 12 pt font , standard margins. Extra Point for using recycled other side or double sided.

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