The American novelist James Baldwin wrote, “Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.” Define the terms freedom, justice, and democracy. How did you derive the meaning for these words?
Valerie Arenas Prompt 1 Post
After having depicted what James Baldwin wrote about the concepts of freedom, justice, and democracy, I’ve come to the conclusion that the term freedom means the ability for an individual to make their own decisions and are not controlled by the federal government. As per the We The People book, the authors define this term as meaning the same thing as the word liberty. As authors, they interpret the word liberty as the idea of not being controlled by the federal government including being controlled economically (Ginsberg et al., 2019).
To continue, American novelist also included the word, justice. The term justice means fair treatment among all. This term is indirectly expressed in the declaration of independence where it is stated that “all men are created equal.” In other words, no matter the skin color an individual has or where they come from, every individual is entitled to the same rights. Like the authors of the We The People book, Molly Edmonds associates the term justice with the word “fairness” (Edmonds, 2010). She explains that justice consist of equality and impartial treatment. To explain justice, she provides examples of how people of color have been requesting the government to reconsider their unequal treatment, as for years they have been treated unequally (Edmonds, 2010).
Finally, Baldwin uses the term democracy as one of the uncommon concepts. However, the term democracy is a concept in which American society live in daily. The term Democracy is defined as a government in which citizens participate in the supreme power. Democracy is exercised in different ways, such as elections, where society votes on who they prefer to run their country. This limits government power, giving individuals freedom and justice. Former president, Abraham Lincoln, describes democracy using the phrase “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, meaning we the people have power in the federal government.
Ginsberg, B., Lowi, T. J., Weir, M., Tolbert, C. J., Campbell, A. L., & Spitzer, R. J. (2019). We the people: An introduction to American politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Edmonds, M. (2010, July 06). What is justice? Retrieved July 26, 2020, from https://people.howstuffworks.com/what-is-justice.htm