Freedom forms the solitary foundation for the existence of the American society as it is known today. With no freedom, perhaps the great nation of America could not be present. In the 1850s, the word “freedom” was increasingly gaining new meaning to different people as the American society felt the need to avoid oppressing some of its members.
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During the period, more factories were being established in the Northern part of the United States. Consequently, in order to provide cheap labor, most of the workers in the factories were enslaved. Therefore, for a once enslaved Northern worker, he or she would take the word freedom to mean the ability to have all the comforts and necessities of life without constraint from anyone.
A freed worker had the ability to enjoy the benefits of freedom because he or she was no longer oppressed neither by care nor by hard labor, as the despotism of his or her master was no longer significant. Once being free, a Northern worker was able to balance his or her time so that he or she could have adequate time for repose.
On the other hand, for industrialists (factory owners), the word freedom would connote a different meaning. As their workers became free from forced labor, they were obliged to improve the working conditions of their workers, or to allow the ones who no longer wanted to work to go and search for other means of earning income.
Consequently, the freedom of their slaves could make them to want to “die of ennui.” Freedom to the industrialists would mean that they would avoid their oppressive practices. However, they would aspire for freedom that could still give them the ability to control the Negroes. Therefore, they could not come to an agreement about the meaning of the word “freedom” with their workers since it meant different things for the two groups.
During the 1850s, life as a slave was taxing as one was forced to endure hard labor and other forms of harsh treatments. Therefore, it was a great jubilation when one walked to freedom. A slave could have the freedom to be exempted from displeasing or onerous tasks. As a result, the slave could be able to exercise freely his or her will without outside interference.
As much as the slaves considered themselves free, they still aspired another form of freedom in which they could not to be perceived to be inferior to the white race. The slaves wanted to be recognized like any other normal human being with full capabilities of taking part in the affairs of the nation.
For a slaveholder, freedom had a different meaning. The slaveholder no longer had the “freedom” to manipulate his or her slave the way he or she wanted without the slave’s consent. Therefore, for slave-owners, freedom meant that they were to free their slaves from the yolk of servitude that they had been subjected to.
However, the slaveholders aspired for a form of freedom in which they still had the control of the actions of their slaves. In this regard, the slaves and the slaveholders could not come to a common agreement on the meaning of “freedom” as both of them held different positions on its rightful meaning. Nonetheless, the meaning of the word “freedom” was more significant to the slaves than to any other person.