Eric Foner: The Story Of American Freedom

1137 Words5 Pages
Miguel Pazmino 9-4-14 US History 11th Grade Summer History Homework 1. In Eric Foner’s The Story Of American Freedom, Foner asserts that the American idea of freedom and liberty originates from the perspective of Christian cosmology which permeated throughout the minds of its original colonists. Freedom was focused on more from a spiritual standpoint, rather than a social or political one. The early ideas of such a code proclaimed that freedom could not be achieved when one had lack of self control over his own body, or was controlled and influenced by outside bodies. Liberation came from only belief and submission to this “code” and the willingness to embrace the religious teachings of Jesus Christ. The early Puritan…show more content…
Foner explains the contradictory coexistence of slavery and freedom in early America as one of great hypocrisy and duplicity in the persons that shouted for liberty. One of the first points Foner makes in chapter two is that slavery was used as a “political category, shorthand for the denial of one’s personal and political rights by arbitrary government” . The term held no relevance to the actual enslaved Africans, so the term was used in a manner which would not put any emphasis on that meaning, however contradictory it may have been. Simply put, Americans were preaching for their freedom and liberty, but refused to grant any to their own slaves. However, such ignorance and hypocrisy was justified through the “protection of property against interface by the state”. Foner says, “These principles suggested that it would be an infringement of liberty to relieve a man of his property (including slave property) without his consent”. Basically Americans viewed themselves as a sort of superior race and were so selfish in receiving what they so desperately wanted that they would deny an entire group exactly of what they were preaching for everyone, just to continue their own benefit. Such justification flawlessly worked out as it being unreasonable to apply and liberty to slaves since it would mean the state controlling the property of man, depriving them of their own liberty for the sake of…show more content…
Source #1: Pg. 33 paragraph 1, endnote 7 a) For this endnote, the sources that Foner uses are comprised of secondary sources, some of which contain primary sources which he uses. I figured this out because each of the books that he cited are volumes that discuss and analyze American history, making it a secondary source. However some of the secondary sources contain primary sources which Foner uses, and it is primary because they are quotes from politicians/diplomats from the time of the American revolution (in this case he quotes Arthur Lee). b) Source: Property Rights and Liberty: Allies or Enemies. This source is an essay discussing the connection between property and liberty in America during the revolution. I think Foner uses it because it is a good tool in aiding Foner’s depiction of how property was a prerequisite to freedom in America but eventually everyone had “property” (rights, liberties) and thus political freedom was granted to most people. Source #2: Pg 41 Paragraph 1, endnote 25 a) For this endnote, the sources that foner uses are primarily secondary sources with one primary source. I figured this out because most of the books are general discussions relevant to Foner’s topic. I know that the primary source he uses is primary because it was composed of writings directly written by Thomas

More about Eric Foner: The Story Of American Freedom

Open Document