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According to Give me liberty by Eric foner, explain why he thinks the Civil Rights Movement challenged the very idea of freedom - Essay Example

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Freedom being its theme, it covers different periods in American history and shows how the meaning and constitution of freedom has changed. The author is extremely…
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According to Give me liberty by Eric foner, explain why he thinks the Civil Rights Movement challenged the very idea of freedom
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Give Me Liberty: An American history by Eric Foner Give Me Liberty by Eric Foner is a foremost text in as far as understanding the concept of freedom is concerned. Freedom being its theme, it covers different periods in American history and shows how the meaning and constitution of freedom has changed. The author is extremely clear that freedom is an all-encompassing term that incorporates all the various desires and aspirations various groups wish to obtain.
As a result, these groups tailor the concept of freedom to those desires and aspirations. An excellent example is the Civil Rights Movement. Throughput the 60s and 70s, this group campaigned for the freedom of black slaves. Foner (95) asserts that freedom at the time meant; being equal to the white race or not being enslaved. This freedom is contrasted with the other kinds of freedoms such as the freedom of speech, movement, among others that are already guaranteed by the American Constitution.
Since the idea of freedom is narrowly focused, the author moves on to detail that even after the slaves are freed, they might still not have equal access to opportunities in life. In this case, the pursuit of freedom would change form so as to respond to the new realities. Then the focus would be on freedom with respect to economic power, or even freedom with respect to employee rights (Foner 100).
According to the Foner (45), these changing social conditions are primarily responsible for the change in the meaning of freedom. They keep shifting its boundaries so that in the end, the idea of freedom is extremely amorphous. The author believes that instead of asking for freedom, civil rights activists were better off demanding liberties. This could have made their pursuit more focused and could have resulted in greater gains (Foner 55).
Work Cited
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty: An American History. W. W. Norton & Company: New York.
2005. Print Read More
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