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Little Speech on Liberty - Essay Example

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The speech is highly pertinent because it has raised important aspects of the meaning of civil liberty. He exhorts people to…
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Little Speech on Liberty
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The speech was made in 1645 by John Winthrop, deputy governor of Massachusetts, three months after he was impeached and later acquitted by court. Thespeech is highly pertinent because it has raised important aspects of the meaning of civil liberty. He exhorts people to understand the wider implications of electing their representatives as they are one of them with same failings and goodness that reside in all. Hence, while their judgment may err due to lack of skill but their basic honest intentions must always be towards the welfare of people at large. According to him, liberty is ‘twofold’: first one is natural and grants the man freedom to do whatever he wishes, good or evil; the second one is freedom granted by federal authority that limits his freedom within defined parameters.
Winthrop emphatically asserts that first type of personal freedom often makes beast of a man and makes him act in manner that could harm him or others. The civil or federal freedom is important as it safeguards his as well as others’ interests and welfare. It ensures that individuals’ liberty does not adversely impact others or oneself. It is like the freedom of choice given by Church who makes it God’s order that man must act for the good of others and evil acts are against God’s covenant. Winthrop speech is to exonerate his actions in the court which had resulted in his impeachment. Though he was later acquitted, his speech has amply implied that harsh actions taken were broadly in the wider welfare of the persons and public at large.
(words: 264)
Winthrop, John. (1645). Little Speech on Liberty. Read More
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