America was founded on the concept of liberty, no matter how skewed their viewpoint was
This post is motivated by a spirited discussion on Facebook with a former colleague of mine.
Liberty at its core, is the power or freedom of choice.
Define liberty: the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely - liberty in a sentencewww.merriam-webster.com
It was argued by my colleague, that it is absurd to say that America was founded on the concept of liberty because only white, rich, landowners had any say or power when the country is founded. I do not dispute the fact that the founding fathers were in fact white, rich, landowners and that they had all of the power when claiming their independence from the oppression of the British Empire.
We all know this to be true.
That being said, it was not out of the realm of normalcy during that period to be a person of power and control and have it coincide with being a white, rich, landowner. And in the 1600’s it was not out of the realm of normalcy to be a slave owner. Slaves were not seen as people, they were things. Things did not have the ability to make choices.
Do not interpret this as a defense of slavery and the atrocities associated with the skewed mentalities of the time. I do not support slavery nor oppression in any form, at any time in history.
I simply want to point out that the founding fathers wanted the freedom of choice from the British Empire, no matter how shortsighted they were in their thought process. The slaves did not have the power of choice. Women did not have the power of choice. Non-landowners, did not have the power of choice.
Fortunately, they had enough intelligence to write a vague enough document, that is able to be interpreted, in a different manner than how it might have been intended, when originally written.
The phrase “all men are created equally” has a significantly different meaning than what was originally intended and that’s a good thing. It means that as a society we have moved past those ideologies. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have more work ahead of us, but it does mean we have made progress.
We can’t correct the past, but we can definitely learn from it.