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The Two Sides of Liberty in America Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 18th, 2022

America’s founding fathers advocated for the concept of freedom and liberty to be a major theme when the constitution was drafted. In most cases, the two words can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Freedom is the power to act, think, and speak as one wants. Liberty on the other hand is the state of being free from any oppressive restrictions that have been imposed by an authority (Patterson & Fosse, 2019).

The interpretation of freedom and liberty in America is divided along party lines. Conservatives are of the view that freedom and liberty are about individuals being able to enjoy their private property and goods without interference from the government. Liberalists, on the other hand, seek the establishment of a constitutional order that respects individual freedoms and abolished the privileges of the elite. Although freedoms and liberty have grown steadily in America over the past decade, increased legislation and government control could threaten progress.

The interpretation of freedom and liberty in America depends on the class of the individuals affected. Immigrants trying to cross the border from Mexico have been treated inhumanely by the authorities. The rights of emigrants have been trampled upon which undermines the message on America’s anthem that it is the land of the free. Liberalists, when discussing the idea of freedom aim to abolish cruelty to make people equal in respect to their liability to suffering (Patterson & Fosse, 2019).

The treatment of immigrants shows another aspect of the authorities. The government’s control of security has enabled the continued suppression of the freedom of people who are deemed minorities in the country (Patterson & Fosse, 2019). The black community and the Latino community have encountered prejudice from law enforcement officers in many cases. The recent case led to the sentencing of the officer who was involved in the shooting. Therefore, the government is the biggest inhibitor of freedom and liberty for the American people.

Scholars point to increased legislative measures as part of the reason why there are limited freedoms. Positive freedom, which is the right to take part in self-government and do what one wants to at any time, has been affected by laws. This is because, in as much as people are given their freedoms, the laws minimize the power of these liberties. For example, most citizens are allowed to vote for their candidates in America following the introduction of voting laws that brought equality.

However, the power of the vote and the general connection to the government has been dramatically diminished. Many people have the freedom and liberty to vote, but they do not have less effective political power (Patterson & Fosse, 2019). This means that the citizens are not in control of the political direction of the country. The founding fathers envisioned a country where the citizens were active in determining the direction of the country.

Negative freedom that is associated with personal choices has been limited due to government control. Even though laws have been passed that have enhanced people’s choices, the government still exercises control over the choices that they have. In the past ten years, the government has introduced that seeks to regulate citizens’ personal choices. Same-sex marriages and abortion are the two issues that have brought disagreements between activists and state governments (Patterson & Fosse, 2019).

Some states feel that they should add more restrictions on abortion rights. Some of the restrictions include restricting late trimester abortions and requiring permission of a parent in case it is a minor. The regulations impose more challenges on people seeking to access such services. Therefore, more government control in some areas has led to the erosion of freedoms when it comes to personal choices.

Currently, Americans have more choices concerning social, religious, economic, and personal issues. Legislations have been passed that allow more Americans to practice their choice of religion and vote without any discrimination (Patterson & Fosse, 2019). Additionally, laws have been put in place to allow minority groups to access social services and vote in the elections. Individuals can open new businesses because there is a variety of opportunities that can be exploited.

These opportunities are available because of the existence of freedoms to exploit the resources as long as the regulations are adhered to (Patterson & Fosse, 2019). In terms of personal choices, the laws have become flexible regarding issues such as same-sex marriages and abortion. Flexibility in the statutes has allowed people to make choices without worrying about challenges with the law. People on the right of the political spectrum criticize the provisions of the rights and liberties of same-sex married couples. They view the idea as immoral and against societal values. Therefore, the overall social freedoms in the united states have increased as people become modernized.

In conclusion, America has advanced in terms of freedoms, but it has also regressed in some areas by implementing control strategies. Increased legislation has enhanced freedoms but has also limited some of the freedoms and liberties. An example is a freedom to vote, yet the power of the vote has depreciated immensely. In the current times, people in America have more options for social, religious, economic, and personal choices.


Patterson, O., & Fosse, E. (2019). . Contexts, 18(3), 26–31. Web.

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