History Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What were Sun-Yat Sen's views of freedom?

Expert Answers info

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Sun Yat-Sen believed that individual freedoms should not go too far.  He criticized Chinese people for not understanding the idea of freedom properly.  He said that they seemed to believe that freedom was absolute and that it meant that people could do whatever they wanted without any limits.  Sun, by contrast, believed that freedom was a more limited concept in which people were allowed as much freedom as the state thought they should have.

Sun argued that the Chinese revolution was not about liberty and freedom the way the French and American revolutions were.  He said that the French and Americans had not had enough freedom but that the Chinese, in contrast, had had too much freedom.  Sun said thatthe revolution needed to

... break down individual liberty and become pressed together into an unyielding body like the firm rock which is formed by the addition of cement to sand.

From this, we can see Sun's view of freedom.  He views it as a very limited thing that must be consistent with the needs of the state and society.  He believes that freedom is the right to do what you want within the limits imposed by what society and the state need.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial