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Considering the diversity of people in 1600s-1750s, what did freedom mean to the...

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yamaguchityler | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:22 PM via web

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Considering the diversity of people in 1600s-1750s, what did freedom mean to the inhabitants of 'Anglo-America'?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Anglo- America," freedom means different realities.  For White Americans, freedom meant the ability to pursue unlimited ends of freedom.  Choice, opportunity, and autonomy were parts of the experience of freedom for Anglo- Americans.  This vision extended to wealthy, white men.  Such a vision of material and spiritual identity is contrasted with those of a different narrative.  For Native Americans, freedom was something limited by the pursuit of a Euro-centric construction of liberty.  Native Americans found themselves besieged with land being taken from them, subject to disease and enslavement, and relegated to fixed and defined areas of existence.

Native Americans understood that freedom for them was controlled by "Anglo- Americans."  Certainly, African slaves of the time period did not understand freedom to be synonymous with autonomy and choice.  Subjugation, intimidation, physical brutality and emotional cruelty were how slaves viewed freedom.  Their narrative reflected an experience of freedom far different than the experience of  Anglo- Americans. 

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