What it Means to Be Free Essay

What it Means to Be Free Essay

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In the Nineteenth century, most people had one goal that they wanted to obtain more than any other. It wasn’t immense wealth, health, or even material goods, even though that was probably what some had in mind. It was the freedom. There are numerous ways in which freedom could be defined such as: having the “rights” of a white adult male, having a voice in the community/ government, not being owned by another human, being able to speak, write, and practice whatever religion one may want without consequences. The list of what it was like to be free goes on and on. All of these qualities of being free still hold true today. Many of those who were not free spoke out against the oppression they were facing. Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs were two African American writers whose pursuit for freedom caught the eye of many Americans. These two writers attacked what Americans in the Nineteenth century painted freedom to look like and the reality of what it really was. They lived in a time where Americans talked about all men being equal, yet they owned slaves. Both being born into slavery, Douglas, Jacobs and other slaves were not meant to read and write like those of the white race. Something as simple as literacy was important root to the idea of freedom. Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs used their personal life experiences to show their readers why freedom was and still is so much deeper than the characteristics named earlier. These writers struck the hearts of Americans and redefined freedom as a treasure that allows one to be a self-governing, literate, and a self-reliant individual.
At the mere age of six, Harriet Jacobs discovered she was a slave after the passing of her mother. This seems a bit odd for one to not know th...


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... changed the way Americans viewed freedom in the Nineteenth century. Freedom to them was much more than just being just being able to be seen as equal, they wanted to be physically treated as equal humans. Freedom was about the ability to be a self-reliant, self-governing, and literate individual who was seen and treated as a human. Douglas and Jacobs both showed their readers that being free was a God given right, not something that someone let them earn. Americans were all talk and no action when it came to the statement “all men are created equal.” One should be born free, not born being owned by someone else. Douglas and Jacobs’s slave narratives are haunting, but they caught American’s attention to how badly people wanted to be free. Both of these writer’s knew early on that there was one thing in life that everyone deserved, and that was freedom.





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