Have you ever thought about having to live in a country where you were not able to speak your mind, have your own thoughts, have your own beliefs, or even have the right to own something valuable to you? In doing so, you could find yourself enslaved, tortured, or even killed.
Role of the Mayflower Compact
One of the most important documents that led to the freedom and rights we have today is the Mayflower Compact of 1620. It was written by the New English settlers in the ship called the Mayflower; this document was the first form of self-governance. It established rules and regulations on how to live civilly. The English settlers comprised of 102 passengers. There were fifty men, nineteen women, and thirty-three young adults. Just forty-one of the passengers were true pilgrims and religious separatists seeking freedom from the Church of England. This would later set the roots for religious freedom in the United States (Mayflower Compact). Important figures, such as John Carver, would be one of the English settlers who helped establish the Mayflower compact. He was born in the year 1576 and was the first signer of the Mayflower Compact. He also acted as the first governor for the passengers of the Mayflower. He was married to Catherine Leggatt.
John Carver and William Bradford
Carver later died of heat stroke while working in a field on April 5, 1621 (John Carver). Another important figure that helped established the Mayflower Compact is the separatist William Bradford. Bradford governed the people of the Mayflower for close to thirty-four years in the Plymouth colony from 1622-1656. He joined the journey to the new world to escape religious persecution from King James the First. He led the pathway for religious tolerance. After many years, Bradford finally passed away in the year 1567 (William Bradford). The last important figure of the Mayflower Compact is none other than Edward Winslow who was born in the year 1595. He was a pilgrim who was prominent in the Plymouth colony. He was the person to go on expeditions in the new land to trade with Indians. He was also in charge of defending the colony from adversaries that would threaten the well-being of the colony. He made trips back and forth from the colony and England in the years 1623,1624, and the year 1630 (Edward Winslow).
The Constitutional Convention and The Bill of Rights
A significant event that shaped our known freedom today is the Constitutional Convention. This convention was no ordinary convention. It would eventually lead to the establishment of the constitution passed on September 17, 1787, and the Bill of Rights passed on September 25, 1798. These documents laid the foundation of our nation’s freedom and basic human rights. Amendments such as freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, the housing of soldiers etc. were established. However, these documents were just a few stepping stones for the freedom that will soon expand to even greater heights. (Constitutional Convention Convenes in Philadelphia). People who were involved in the constitutional convention event are James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington. James Madison was born in 1751 and helped set up the Constitutional Convention after the colonies declared independence from British rule in 1776, in which he is the author of. He also became the fourth president of the United States of America.
History of the Constitution
James helped by creating the Virginia plan that required a majority of the colonies to agree to accept the constitution as a document for our central government, replacing the Articles of Confederation that governed the colonies before the constitution. James Madison later died on June 28, 1836 (James Madison). Alexander Hamilton was another important figure in the establishment of the constitutional convention. Born September 11, 1789, Alexander was part of the delegates of the constitutional convention in the year 1787 who was also regarded as one of the nation’s founding fathers. He additionally founded the nation’s financial system. He also helped found the Federalist party as well as The United States Coast Guard. He was a huge promoter of the United States Constitution and later died in the year July 12, 1804 (Alexander Hamilton). And last but not least the man himself, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732.
Washington became the first president of the United States of America. He was a prominent general in the Revolutionary War against the British in the years 1775 to 1783, in which he was victorious. He was regarded as the father of the country and was a major figure in the creation of our nation’s federal government by participating in the constitutional convention and establishing our nation’s constitution. He also warned the people of the nation of participating wars and corrupt leaders controlling the government. He also warned in his farewell address that we have to fight for our freedom no matter what. George later died on December 14, 1799.
Role of the Emancipation Proclamation
The final Document that eventually led to our rights and freedom is the emancipation proclamation. This document was addressed by our nation’s sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. This proclamation declared on January 1, 1863, “that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are, and henceforth shall be free.” Although not eradicating slavery in the Americas entirely. It inspired and captured the hearts of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed our nations view on other races and other people of color. Eventually leading to the free nation we know today (Emancipation Proclamation). People who related to the Emancipation Proclamation included Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Harriet Tubman.
Role of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis
Now we all know Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809, was the as the sixteenth President of the United States of America. He was also the president who help pass the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves in the north. He led the nation through the bloody Civil War in the years 1861 to 1865 in which he came out victorious. He helped preserve the Union, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the nation’s economy as well. Lincoln also defeated Jefferson Davis in the Civil War. Sadly, Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865 (Abraham Lincoln). Next is Jefferson Davis, although not contributing in the establishment of the Emancipation Proclamation, he was Abraham Lincoln’s opponent in the civil war. Jefferson served as the president of the Confederate states from 1861 to 1865. He was in the senate and house of representatives for Mississippi. He was regarded to have bad leadership skills, favoritism towards his friends, and he lacked the popular appeal of the people. He was defeated by the Union led by Abraham Lincoln in the year 1865 (Jefferson Davis). Last but not least is Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman’s Political Career
Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Maryland. She, like many African Americans, was born as a slave. However, she escaped slavery and became a huge political activist. She was also an American abolitionist. Often, Harriet would go on rescue missions to help her other fellow African American in slavery escape. She made rescue trips for her people around thirteen times. She helped establish the underground railroad, a network of an anti-slavery activist who helped fellow slaves escape slavery into Canada. She was also an activist in the struggle for women’s suffrage. She was an armed spy and scout in the Civil War and served in the U.S army gathering intel to win the war. She later died in 1913 and became the icon of the courage and freedom of African-Americans.
Importance of Freedom
She inspired many people to fight for freedom and eventually led to the emancipation proclamation being passed (Harriet Tubman). We have come a long way to achieve the freedom we love and know today. Whether that be just simply posting your opinion on a controversial topic, walking into a restaurant you want to go to, or even just going outside doing whatever you want to do. Documents like the Mayflower Compact and events like the Constitutional Convention and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation are extremely important and relevant to this country’s long struggle for freedom. Without these important events and documents, we would never have reached where we are today. It is important not to overlook and take for granted what we have for we could one day lose it all. It is important to keep fighting for the freedom we have achieved no matter what the cost.