In his preface to the Voices of Freedom document reader, Eric Foner notes that “Freedom is not a fixed, timeless category with a single unchanging definition. Rather, the history of the United States is, in part, a story of debates, disagreements, and struggles over freedom.” Foner further contends that the documents “reflect how Americans at different points in history have defined freedom as an overarching idea, or have understood its many dimensions, including political, religious, economic, and personal freedom.” Select THREE of the following documents from Voices of Freedom:
- 96. Petition of Committee on Behalf of the Freedmen to Andrew Johnson, p. 4
- 104. William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism, p. 35
- 108. Walter Rauschenbusch and the Social Gospel, p. 49
- 109. The Populist Platform, p. 52
- 115. Emilio Aguinaldo on American Imperialism in the Philippines, p. 74
- 117. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women & Economics, p. 81
- 118. John A. Ryan, A Living Wage, p. 84
- 124. Woodrow Wilson, A World “Safe for Democracy,” p. 105
- 128. Eugene v. Debs, Speech to the Jury, 119
After reading each of the THREE documents that you selected in entirety, first establish the historical context in which the author wrote, then comment on how each author defined freedom given the historical circumstances. You should include at least one supporting quotation to support your contention.
(cite using in-text citations: Voices of Freedom, 268).
Next, compare and contrast the authors’ definitions of freedom and comment on how the definition of freedom has changed over time from the Reconstruction Era through World War I. Again, be sure to include relevant contextual information so that your reader understands what was going on in the United States at the time that each document was written (cite your Give Me Liberty textbook for this information. Use this format: (Give Me Liberty, 222)). Discuss how and why the definition of freedom changed throughout the late 19th and early 20th century.
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