Equality And Liberty And Equality Essay examples

Equality And Liberty And Equality Essay examples

Length: 2652 words (7.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Liberty and equality are commonly perceived as antagonistic concepts. Liberty is generally viewed as preserving the unrestrained manifestation of individuality in every possible sphere, whereas equality is viewed as imposing restrictions on human actions. In fact, in his seminal work, ‘Equality’ (1931), Tawney notes that "Equality implies the deliberate acceptance of social restraints on individual expansion. If liberty means, therefore, that every individual shall be free to indulge without limit his appetite (for wealth and power), it is clearly incompatible not only with economic and social, but with civil and political, equality.”
This tension between liberty and equality is often perceived to be a recurrent theme in the tradition of American political thought. It is commonly stated that while the Declaration of Independence assigns great weight to equality, the Constitution is in favour of individual liberty, with the preamble explicitly stating that one of the aims of the Constitution is to ‘secure the blessings of liberty’.
The author would like to re-examine this debate and investigate whether equality and liberty are indeed incompatible. Does achieving equality always imply impinging on individual liberties? The answer to that question depends on how we define ‘equality’. There are two broad conceptions of equality-formal equality or equality of opportunity, such as equality before law, and material equality, or equality of condition. The former equality is related to institutional forms and is compatible with liberty, whereas the latter holds that all material differences between citizens (be it in terms of wealth, resources, etc) should be eliminated in order to establish a ‘materially equal’ society.
There are two is...


... middle of paper ...


...s clear that while he believed in providing equal opportunities to men, he rejected the notion of an absolute, arithmetical equality between men.
Jackson and his followers did not consider that men were equal in their abilities or capacities. However, they were strong believers in the principles of the Declaration, especially of the part regarding equal right to pursue happiness.

It is amply clear that during this time, equality was connected to opportunity and thus closely associated with the basic principle of the American Revolu¬tion, that is, freedom. During this time, every American desired to be free to strive for a better life, and demanded an equal chance to climb on the ladder of prosperity.




John Rawls argued that equality is the moral benchmark for social and political institutions and any deviation from this equality had to be specially justified.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Equality And Liberty And Equality Essay

- Words like liberty and equality get thrown around very frequently and have been discussed over and over again by different philosophers and all of their research has led to multiple variations of the same two concepts. The main and most prevalent conflict between liberty and equality is that there is no concrete definition that is universally accepted which creates many issues in the political area. How I have always understood Liberty was as the moral freedom that we have to do what we want, and equality is important to the meaning of liberty in that sense, because if we did not have equality then the worth of liberty for me might be the complete opposite of for you....   [tags: Affirmative action, Discrimination]

Strong Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

Equality And Liberty And Equality Essay examples

- Liberty and equality are commonly perceived as antagonistic concepts. Liberty is generally viewed as preserving the unrestrained manifestation of individuality in every possible sphere, whereas equality is viewed as imposing restrictions on human actions. In fact, in his seminal work, ‘Equality’ (1931), Tawney notes that "Equality implies the deliberate acceptance of social restraints on individual expansion. If liberty means, therefore, that every individual shall be free to indulge without limit his appetite (for wealth and power), it is clearly incompatible not only with economic and social, but with civil and political, equality.” This tension between liberty and equality is often perce...   [tags: Political philosophy]

Strong Essays
2652 words (7.6 pages)

American History: Liberty and Equality Essay

- ... Chinese immigration in the West led to a nativist movement and the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which included laws that prevented naturalization. This history of exclusion of these disadvantaged ethnic minorities groups from the political system has left a merited sense of suspicious of the government whenever obstacles are put in place of voting and it is insensitive to not take this history into account when implementing new laws on voting such as voter identification laws. At the time of its drafting, the Constitution of the United States was seen as great progress....   [tags: liberalism, founding fathers]

Strong Essays
1086 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Freedom, Liberty, And Equality

- What is freedom. The question is what is Freedom. Back then freedom, Liberty, and Equality were major issues in America. In the past, America dealt with a lot of mistreatment and did not have freedom, liberty, and equality in the United States. Although each word has different meanings, they come together at one point. The two main words tie into freedom; which is liberty and equality; reason being many individuals wanted freedom, they wanted equal rights amongst their-self , and they wanted their own independence....   [tags: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Being American: Liberty, Equality and Republicanism

- Being an American cannot simply be defined by skin color, culture, or religion. This nation cannot be defined in a simplistic manner like many other nations. For instance, other countries define themselves by their accent or by the types of food they consume. According to Sarah Song, “To be or to become an American, a person did not have to be any particular national, linguistic, religious, or ethnic background. All he had to do was to commit himself to the political ideology centered on the abstract ideals of liberty, equality, and republicanism” (31)....   [tags: Culture ]

Strong Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Life, Liberty, Freedom, and Equality

- Life, liberty, freedom, and equality are just a few of the simple concepts everyday Americans are obligated and entitled to, in fact the first general concept of these ideas were not implicated into the American Society until 1776 after the signing of the Declaration of Independence with the new found rules and regulations for American citizens to live by. American leaders were biased and hypocritical due to the fact that they did not follow their own declaration of independence where gender, sex, or cultures were not mentioned in the document, and one would assume that minorities were included....   [tags: Declaration of Independence, American History]

Strong Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

The Revolution 's Ideas Of Freedom, Liberty, And Equality Essay

- After the Revolution, many believed that America embodied ideals of freedom, liberty, and equality. The colonists finally rid themselves of the “slavery” to British tyranny by becoming independent and no longer forced pay to unjust taxes. However, American society continued to perpetuate the subjugation and unfair treatment of minorities, most notably the enslavement of Africans. Chattel slavery existed in abundance with little regard to the Revolution’s ideas about the rights of any human being....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, British Empire]

Strong Essays
1624 words (4.6 pages)

How did the Framers of the U.S Constitution Seek to Balance Liberty, Equality, and Order?

- The United States is a country that ever since it was found represented freedom for so many people. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and promised everyone life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The framers of the constitution wanted to create a strong Union where people were free, there was equality and most importantly there was order in this new Union that was being created. In this paper I will cover how the framers achieved those goals by using Federalist number 10, 51, 78, 15 and 39....   [tags: independence, federalists, madison]

Strong Essays
1286 words (3.7 pages)

Slavery : A Society Where You Can Enjoy Liberty And Equality Essay

- America is a society where you can enjoy liberty and equality to an extent. In Lincoln 's view, democracy means “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Richard A. Epstein “ Direct Democracy: Government of the people” Chicagounbound.uchicago.edu http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2260&context=journal_article) This brings up another idea of who constitute the people, slavery being one example of this. Slavery has been important to colonial development....   [tags: Black people, Race, African American]

Strong Essays
966 words (2.8 pages)

Women in the Progressive Era: Relentless Pursuit of Liberty and Equality

- “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God." The exacerbation of issues that plagued America for centuries combined with the disturbing realities of urban and factory life gave birth to the Progressive Movement—a movement composed of a diverse coalition that sought to improve modern industrial society and American democracy. This period spawned many ardent American activists. Social critics such as Upton Sinclair, Jacob Riis, and Jane Adams advocated for wide-reaching social reform. Others targeted causes that would improve life for specific groups....   [tags: Women's Rights]

Strong Essays
1672 words (4.8 pages)