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History Of American Liberty - Essay Example

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The writer of the paper "History Of American Liberty" discusses several of the most important conflicts between various groups for the right to claim to expand freedom in order to comment on the nature of American freedom in the colonial and antebellum periods…
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History Of American Liberty
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Download file to see previous pages The story of freedom’s expansion during this period was messy and conflict-ridden. The earliest settlers in the new colonies came to practice a way of life that was denied to them in their homeland. They wanted to experience religious freedom and the variety of political freedoms that were necessary in order to achieve their dream of living in community with each other without worry of persecution (Foner 47-50). This guiding principle, however, had inner conflicts such as the need to suppress certain kinds of dissent within their own communities, a system of life that was paternalistic in its treatment of women and even more importantly a need to survive the harsh life in the new environments they found themselves in (Foner 51-56). In attending to all of these needs, the colonialists met the native populations who were already here when they arrived with curiosity at first and later with a kind of malevolent manipulation. Their own need for land and safety drove them to treat the Native Americans as enemies and they began a process of slowly pushing the Native Americans out as they expanded their own territories westward (Foner 78-80). This process went on throughout the period, culminating in the Jacksonian era with an official government policy of “Indian removal” (Foner 151-155, 370-371). The drive to increase religious freedom and promote the establishment of economic independence, therefore, led to horrible discrimination against another already established group in the new territory that would eventually make up the nation. The rights of Native Americans to their own independence autonomy were continually infringed upon even as the new colonists sought to increase their own freedoms. The tragic story of the treatment of native populations is equaled, perhaps, only by the story of the treatment of the black slave populations (Foner 130-132, 220-223, 400-408). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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