“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” When Francis Scott Key wrote these closing lyrics to our national anthem in 1814, he clearly understood what it meant to be free. But do we know what freedom really means? Webster’s dictionary defines freedom as a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions. When the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they used this definition to establish three basic rights to all Americans which were the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Each of these principles defines what it means for me to be free.
To me, the right to life allows me to be free and not be under the control of another. It allows me to act or do things as I wish. Being free means that I have the right to speak up about how I feel about a situation. It allows me to say what is on my mind in a conversation. Our country fought for freedom of speech as well as our freedom and I believe we should stand up and say what we believe. As Americans we have the right to disagree with our government and engage in political debate and discussion. To me, freedom means having freedom of choice. I believe everyone has the right to make a choice on their own, whether it’s easy, hard, good or bad. Everyone, no matter who they are has the right to make their own choices because it’s their life.
The right of liberty protects one’s ability to think and act on their own. To me, this means being treated equally and that everyone is just as good as everybody else. For centuries, African- Americans suffered extreme racism and oppression in this country and did not have the same privileges as others. Today, although racism still exists, freedom helps to create a better society where all can be treated more fairly and equally. All Americans understand that no matter your race or ethnicity, everyone is just as unique as everybody else. The pursuit of happiness protects one’s ability to live for their own sake, rather than for the sake of society.