Essay on the Meaning of Liberty

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As we read in our lectures this week, philosopher John Locke asked: “If a man in the state of nature is free, if he is absolute lord of his own person and possessions, why will he give up his freedom? Why will he put himself under the control of any person or institution?”

John Locke’s answer was: “that the rights in the state of nature are constantly exposed to the attacks of others. Since every man is equal and since most men do not concern themselves with equity and justice, the enjoyment of rights in the state of nature is unsafe and insecure. Hence each man joins in society with others to preserve life, liberty, and property.”

In at least 500 words answer the following questions:

  • In your own words, what is freedom? (*Note: dictionary definitions of the word freedom will not be accepted)
  • In your own words, what is liberty? (*Note: dictionary definitions of the words liberty will not be accepted)
  • Does your definition of freedom agree with Locke’s definition of freedom? Why or why not?
  • Does your definition of liberty agree with Locke’s understanding of liberty? Why or why not?
  • John Locke argues that freedom and liberty are very different things. Do you agree or not? Why or why not?
  • Finally, how did these ideas of liberty and freedom connect to the creation of the Constitution?

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