Imposing Freedom On Others

Sometime between the middle of the middle ages the beginning of the renaissance the idea of freedom for the individual began to emerge. Up to that point living under one variety of slavery or another was the system mankind existed under. On one of the stalwarts of mainstream economics is that all humans are freedom seeking entities. Simple observations show that that is not true. The truth is that each individual is born into the game of dominance and subservience. In the dominance and subservience game,  freedom  is like like an asset a person is born with.

The the concept of freedom for the individual actually began in Europe, mainly in England at least 100 years before the American. Any initiatives that began, started with the elite seeking advantages for themselves. When the Duke of Wellington returned to England following the Battle of Waterloo the commented that commoners were wandering around England needlessly. Of course they were drawn off of their feudal arrangement to work in factories. The commoners in England were not looking for freedom. They were looking for ways to survive more efficiently. Freedom was being sought by some who had the money and power to make productive use of freedom. Adam Smith wrote in the 1700s about the new discovery that people in a country where individuals make their own  economic decisions, total production increased very rapidly. This was the first major explanation of the free market system.

The colonies in North America were so sparsely populated and under populated that trade among individuals had already developed at the time of the revolution. There were no serves and no feudal system like there was in European countries.  Still, there was no movement by ordinary people to become free independent agents. Due to circumstance most were already free just because of circumstance. The American Revolution was not entered into as a means of making the lives of common people better. Hardly a soul knew about the conspiracy to separate from England. Soldiers joined the new United States fighting armies as a way to survive. Fighting for money was common in those days.

From the American Revolution provided everyone in the colonies with more freedom. That was not because of some kind of drive for freedom deep within their hearts. I can’t say they were were oblivious to the idea but it wasn’t a priority. When survival is difficult, freedom is not the priority. Survival is the focus. Life was so basic during the American Revolution that becoming free was never on the minds of the majority of the people who lived on the land.

What the American Revolution accomplished was to impose freedom on a population that was mostly oblivious to the effort.


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