Defining Liberty by Abraham Lincoln

Summary: Defining Liberty was written by Abraham Lincoln, he states two different definitions of liberty.

Section One:

  • Liberty is not defined well by the world
  • Everyone does not mean the same thing when they use the word liberty
  • Two definitions of Liberty
    • A person may do as he wants with himself, and anything his labor has produced
    • A person can do what they want with other men, and anything the men have produced with their labor
  • Each of the people that have the previous definitions calls the other tyranny

Other Notes:

  • The first definition of liberty makes slavery a tyranny because the man that creates the labor is having it taken away and used by another
  • The second definition of liberty makes slavery OK because the man that owns the farm where the labor is made can do what he wants with the product of the farm
  • In these definition of liberty Lincoln is making it apparent that slavery is not a question of liberty but rather one of human rights; Is it alright for someone to own another human being;
  • The first definition of liberty would fail if anyone could go on another persons land , farm that land, and take the products of that farming as their own; there must be a way to define the rights for each the owner of the land and the labourers

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