Freedom, in general, is the power to be able to modify or change without limitation. Something is “free,” meaning that it is not bounded in its current condition and can freely change. There are times when the individual needs more freedom than others, especially if he has been attacked physically or have certain conditions (such as a disability) that prevent him from doing many things normally. Even when freedom is desirable, people who need it often do not understand how to get it, or how to protect it.
In most cases, there are two major types of freedom: political freedom and economic freedom. Both share some common elements, but they are often confused because some people use the terms interchangeably. Both are important, though. Political freedom generally includes freedom of speech and the press, as well as freedom of association. Economic freedom, by contrast, includes the freedom to engage in commercial activity.
Political freedom means that a person has the right to lead his life as he wants to. It also includes his ability to peacefully pursue his livelihood and to determine the shape of his country. Political freedoms are important because they allow people to participate in politics and influence how their government works. This also allows citizens to protect their communities from outside interference. For example, freedom of speech and press play an important role in democracy, which promotes economic growth and development.
Economically, freedom of action and choice is defined as an ability to choose how to spend one’s time and money. The concept of freedom of action refers to the capacity to make choices without external influence. Economic freedoms are necessary for the proper functioning of markets, which in turn are crucial for economic growth. Many social scientists argue that political and economic freedom is intertwined, since freedom of action ensures rational citizens have the information necessary to participate effectively in public decision-making. For this reason, many individuals and small businesses prefer to focus on economic freedom.
Historically, the concept of freedom means different things to different people. Most modern definitions begin with the United States, and they include both political and economic freedom. Freedom of speech and press, for example, are essential rights needed for self-expression. Political freedom is important in a constitutional government. And for those who wish to see their property protected from intrusion by others, home ownership and renting is crucial.
What do these ideas mean to you? Freedom means different things to different people. In its most basic form, freedom means the ability to choose to be free – to be neither bound by nor shackled by any form of slavery. In its most comprehensive form, freedom means the ability to live with no one controlling your destiny. For more information on what this means, consider taking the 5th grade class, Citizenship, today.