Read & Download The Story of American Freedom 107

Summary The Story of American Freedom

Read & Download The Story of American Freedom 107 Û From the Revolution to our own time freedom has been America's strongest cultural bond and its most perilous fault line a birthright for some Americans and a cruel mockery for others Eric Foner takes freedom not as a timeless truth but as a value whose meaning and scope have been contested Bates and political treatises but also on plantations and picket lines in parlors and bedrooms by our acknowledged leaders and by former slaves union organizers freedom riders and women's rights activis. Published in 1998 this survey of the concept of “freedom” in the United States what it is has meant to Americans over the course of our history how that meaning has changed been embraced challenged and been used and abused in social political and economic debate is strongly relevant almost 20 years later Foner’s main point is that the word has never had a stagnant meaning; nor of course has it always applied to all citizens or residents but been continually but not consistently expanded in its application—from land owning white male citizens to most white male citizens to African American men but limitedly and then to women and Asians and others What we were free to do has also changed over time and the connection to the Bill of Rights both in word and practice has shifted with circumstances and context This shape shifting of a definition is Foner’s main point because the notion that there has always been one clear meaning that has consistently expanded in some positive if contested struggle is yet prevalent and the necessary debate about freedom and other American values—euality opportunity etc is not served by ignorance of the fact that establishing and applying the principles of our country and its government is the gritty work of democracy The Story of American Freedom begins with the American Revolution and continues to the rise of conservatism in the 70s 80s and 90s which followed and overlapped with a decades long period of liberalism from the 30s through the 60s Foner’s survey which is broad balanced and does not slight nuance despite its sweep nonetheless is sometimes hampered by the concision of its survey—almost three hundred years of history—and giving the reader a sense of too clean a pendulum arc with decades swinging alternating liberal then conservative as if self correcting when in fact there is a pretty constant tug of war over what freedom means for us as citizens our government our economy and our well being In both the 30s 60s liberal era and the 70s 90s conservative era the opposing force is vitally present Foner says as much often so despite the pendulum impression provided by the topical arrangement of chapters and the urge to argue with some of the narrative liberties that put some topics too neatly in one thematic chapter rather than another Cold War Freedom and Sixties Freedom where the Civil Rights Movement is shoe horned into the latter with the anti war movement though it pre dates it by better than a decade The Story of American Freedom is than useful as a starting point for considering uestions that have never been as resolved as we might like to think them It’s not that simple nor will it be; but it is ever urgent

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Eedom not as a timeless truth but as a value whose meaning and scope have been contested throughout American history His sweeping narrative shows freedom to have been shaped not only in congressional de. I felt while reading this book that it is especially pertinent given the current political stalemate in US politics with both sides promising that they truly represent freedom and liberty as the founding fathers designed A large portion but not overly so is on the slavery debate The argument against using the concept of freedom and liberty is pretty straight forward that slavery represents the theft of another human's rights and is wrong The argument for was convoluted in that the denial of the right to own slaves was a violation of economic liberty and the free market with no sense of irony of course So went at least a full hundred years of political debate Benjamin Rush from PA was one of the earliest major critics of slavery ahead of his time Today the parameters of the argument aren't much different concerning health care Some would say it is a natural right and allows people the freedoms of health and economic security and it is in the nation's interests to provide that freedom while others say that forcing people or denying that right to employees corporations to provide that freedom is tyranny and violates their rights as corporations people Or during Civil Rights southern business owners said it was a violation of their constitutional rights to have to serve blacks in their shops or restaurants Southerners believed that Blacks weren't men and were a lower form of life and therefore the constitution did not and should never apply to them They were strictly property this comes up later of course in legal definitions during the Union's war effort Second slavery was justified because of their natural inferiority But John Stuart Mill tried to explain that it was pretty natural for a dominant culture to manipulate that superiority to reason that rights should not exist for the group with less power You need a reason to violate another's rights and that is freuently the reason given Lincoln used this property argument against the south when he said fine if slaves are property than the war powers act gives me the power to confiscate property during time of war the south believed this insisted it didn't because the US was not at war with a separate nation all while announcing secession as a distinct state and following all nationhood proceduresAfter the war Freedom became the hot button issue with its definition at its core Freedom to the south meant that slavery was abolished while enacting the Black Codes which denied Blacks essentially every other right and forced them back into economic slavery leasing their former owner's land and signing contracts that would forever bound them to that land The North and abolitionists went crazy but Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson looked the other way even while Black congressmen were being elected and even controlling state legislatures The 14th amendment said all citizens had eual protections of the law The only reason these amendments made it into the constitution if I remember right was that many southern states were not given back their full membership until they met certain criteria and therefore never voted so it got the 34ths of states The 15th amendment in 1870 said states couldn't restrict voting Once the federal government withdrew the Army from the South they went back to their old ways and the 14th and 15th amendments were not enforced until almost 100 years later Violence against Blacks was probably the worst in the 1920's and 30's Northern abolitionists called for land reform meaning the partial confiscation of certain former slave owners' land would be given to freed slaves Next came the liberty of workers to negotiate a contract The negotiation process and unionism in general seems to me to be the purest definition of free market capitalism If you can find someone to the do the job cheaper than do it If I can find someone to pay me than I can do that A strike is just one tool in the chest and if the bosses can give my job to someone else during this time so be it Owners lobbied at the time that there should never be any restrictions on working hours because working people should have the right to work as many hours as they wanted Western states like Kansas Colorado and Idaho were groundbreakers in the area of workers' rights What happened note Ida B WellsThe Freedom of abundance and materialism was the next major use of the word It showed that kitchen tools and such gave freedom to americans Access to department stores and mail order shopping with advertising using Freedom became the norm This was the weakest part of the book in my opinion The New Deal was the next big use of liberty Was it the governments role in taking care of the needy allowing for economic security and freedom from want or was it the free markets FDR securely believed it was the role of big government and the alphabet soup that we know from middle school Obviously during the war many Freedoms that were thought to be inalienable for Americans were curtailed with Japanese having their homes taken from them and put in concentrations camps for re education and German americans were prohibited from playing german music and german teachers had to take loyalty oaths something that no matter the reason I will never do The next chapter was the most engrossing on the ideological switch of the political parties With FDR enacting federal legislation to protect the needy the Democratic party now believed in a large government and with that change Republicans lost many elections Southern Democrats and major wing of the party did not care for much of the party's beliefs but they became known as Dixiecrats because they historically clung to that party LincolnRepublicansevil There is an unexplored effect of the New Deal and FDR on black rights Blacks therefore in 1934 and 1936 fled the Republican party because of FDR's new philosphy where they could vote Southern white Democrats still filibustered a federal anti lynching law It shows things are always fluid as political parties change to reflect the electorate and some voting populations still cling to old allegiances to a certain extent FDR used Freedom From Want as a way to get support for public spending on the poor unemployed disabled old etc That trend continued with Goldwater's racism as a Republican carried 5 southern states the first time in a century In many ways the US followed 'nazi like' racial theories like how the Red Cross refused the mix the blood from blacks and whites And a huge number of lynchings went unpunished during the war This is probably why Blacks in the army were relegated to mainly non fighting roles The Freedom Train after the war is an amazing story of contradictions Several southern stops had to be canceled because local authorities insisted on segregating visitors It was also made to provide the contrast between the rights we have in America with the Germans and Soviets The FBI compiled lists of Americans who found the train objectionable and it was also made to aid the country in its internal war against subversive elements Obviously the entire Cold War is a contradiction in 'spreading american freedoms' Fascist Spain and Apartheid South Africa were applauded as free but democratically elected presidents were overthrown and their nations invaded if they didn't toe the line The FHA played a huge role in modern segregation and lower home ownership for Blacks and refused to invest money in integrated or to integrate towns If one black family moved onto a street the whole block was restricted for federal mortgage insurance Since I myself using mortgage insurance I wouldn't have been able to buy a house without it I wonder how huge of an effect this has had on the financial security of many black families Poor whites coming home from WW2 were placed in a advantageous situation because of their race Today the words Freedom and liberty have been kidnapped by conservative groups; maybe they just use them better to push their agenda All militias out west and anti immigrant groups etc use freedom and liberty as their mantra as they seek to deny others simple rights

Summary ☆ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ´ Eric Foner

The Story of American FreedomFrom the Revolution to our own time freedom has been America's strongest cultural bond and its most perilous fault line a birthright for some Americans and a cruel mockery for others Eric Foner takes fr. This is a concise review of American History particularly looking at the theme of Freedom Foner starts with what he considers to be the birth of freedom 1776 and covers specific eras of time in America's past noting what freedom has meant and its continued presence in politics and society He ends the book with the late 20th century when George H W Bush and Clinton were in office Many historians will find this to be a good reference on the freedom theme but I found it to be on the dry side and somewhat unengaging I will likely keep this copy as a reference for future research projects