Liberty and Patriotism

Q 4. Is there a difference between liberty and patriotism?

Liberty, as a philosophical term, indicates the development of free will, although the term is contrasted with the element of free will. Politically, liberty indicates the political and social freedoms as a constitutional provision to the citizens of a sovereign nation (Foner 7). Right from the historical accounts of the need for freedom for the Greek slaves, the ideology of liberty was developed. Accordingly, the principle of liberty supports that all people should be accorded the chance to live as one will. In the United States, the principle of liberty was advocated for in the declaration of independence. It focused more on granting the slaves equal rights to the other free men. Nevertheless, critics of the declaration of freedom argue that although the independence had high regard for equal rights for all people and the liberty of the slaves, some whites continued with the aspect of “ownership”’ of slaves even after the declaration.

Patriotism describes some element of emotional attachment by a person to the state and the regard the person has for the country as one’s homeland (Engdahl 13). Other elements of patriotism are national pride and affiliation with the country (Engdahl 13). In fact, the original meaning of the principle of patriotism was “countryman”, as coined from the English culture. However, the philosophical element of patriotism disregarded the religious teachings, and there was a perceived conflict between the two. The contention between the two is indicated by the element of allegiance, where religious people could be committed toward different authorities against the political allegiance insinuated in state patriotism.

In comparing the elements of liberty and patriotism, there are fundamental differences that could be established in the American system. First, all Americans share the spirit of patriotism and embrace the national heritage as a patriotic element (Foner 7). Similarly, as the Declaration of Independence noted, all people are equal and should be treated so (Foner 7). Therefore, if the creation of the constitution as early as during the declaration of independence was to be followed to the letter, and then such issues as prejudice and discrimination against gender, race, or even sexual orientation could have been eliminated. However, the reality is different in that such evils are equally prevalent in the country. In fact, even with the Americans embracing the spirit of patriotism, an evident conflict arises with liberty where some Americans have not wholly embraced their fellow Americans, especially in instances of racial differences. Therefore, there is a perceived tension between the elements postulated by the two ideologies.

Q 2. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

In the 1790s, American politics were shaped by the ideologies of two historical figures; Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. The two differed in opinions on power, with Hamilton leading the side of the Federalists while Jefferson led the Anti-Federalists (Hamilton and Richard 1-7). Accordingly, Jefferson’s side focused on the interests of the southern people and the rural areas, while Hamilton’s supported the interests of the urban and the seaport people. Furthermore, Jefferson’s ideologies favored the States government structures, while Hamilton favored the centralized government system.

Those differences were fundamental in shaping the future of the American Economy. In fact, the Federalists led by Hamilton believed in the central government that was to run in the interests of industry and commerce (Hamilton and Richard 1-7). Hamilton argued for encouraging a business environment, an initiative that could generate enough revenues to support government operations (Hamilton and Richard 1-7). He also advocated for the formation of the US Bank to facilitate trade and industry in the country. However, the decentralized government system as advocated for by Jefferson, supported the agrarian industry in the country (Jefferson and Frank 11).  Accordingly, he cited that many people in the rural areas were agriculturalists, and such an economy would support the decentralized system of government (Jefferson and Frank 11).  From a subjective point of view, this paper supports Jefferson’s side because, as seen today, the federal government has helped to run the economy of this large country. Besides, the ideological differences could be said to have significantly impacted the American economy and political structure, as is currently observed. Although the differences in political ideologies persist in the country, the decentralized economy has developed, and the country could be perceived as one of the largest economies in the world.

Similarly, both the commercial sector and agrarian interests are the pillars of the large economy of today. One would, therefore, rightfully argue that the differences in ideologies seen between Jefferson and Hamilton have been the most predominant ideologies in the country’s history, as seen through the political and economic landscape of the US. However, this paper finds no place for agreement in the politics of the two besides the belief that the American future is anchored on establishing the right structures at that time. Essentially, it could be established that the ideological differences have shaped the political landscape of the US and the dominant, opposing political sides between the two founding fathers, Jefferson and Hamilton.


Works Cited

Engdahl, Sylvia. Patriotism. Detroit, Mich.: Greenhaven, 2011. Print.

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. Seagull 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2014. Print.

Hamilton, Alexander, and Richard B. Morris. The Basic Ideas of Alexander Hamilton. New York: [Pocket ], 1957. Print.

Jefferson, Thomas, and Frank Robert Donovan. The Thomas Jefferson Papers,. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1963. Print.

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