Freedom- (Noun) The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Freedom has many different meanings to different people. Some teenagers may think that freedom is moving out of their parents house or not having to depend on their parents for money. When salary was prominent, there were still many views on what freedom is. For an example, Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs had different views on what freedom meant to them. Fredrick Douglas made it a point to let his master know he was a “human” and not just a piece of property, which is demonstrated in their fight in the barn. Douglass did not have family ties and was able to selfishly escape to the north to better himself and feel like an average person, not a slave. Meanwhile, Harriet Jacobs had a more difficult time in escaping due to the fact that she had emotional family ties. Being a woman, she had the constant threat of being raped by her master with the possibility of giving birth to his child and having her family being sold off. For Jacobs, freedom meant not being a sex object as Douglas thought of freedom as not being a piece of property.
In more recent times, we struggle with the term of freedom. Illegal citizens may think that freedom is gaining citizenship in the United States. They may come from over the broader, or across an ocean, and to be able to officially state that you are a citizen of the United States of America, is a freedom since they are not in hiding due to the possibility of being deported. In some cultures, freedom may mean to be able to marry who you want to marry instead of having an arranged marriage with someone you do not love; which is an issue that Harriet Jacobs dealt with. Choosing who you want to marry may be a sign of freedom as you are the one making the decision and not feeling like you are being sold in marriage. Also, the meaning of freedom is different for those who are incarcerated. Even though they live in a free country, they are under the rule of the county or government and unable to enjoy everyday luxuries of being able to go where you want when you want.
Although slavery, which is used to help define freedom, has been illegal for many years there are still many definitions with the term in which people may feel like they do not have freedom. Today, on the surface it may feel like Americans are free, but to what extent? Is the woman with the arranged marriage anymore free than the man sitting in a cell? Or is the illegal immigrant, in hiding, just as free as the girl who was taken from her family and is now apart of a sex ring? It is so easy to say “I live in America, where it is the land of the free”, but for many americans that, unfortunately, does not apply.