No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals and

No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals and as a nation than freedom.” (Foner, et al, Preface to Give Me Liberty!, xxxi)
If there is a single idea that has unified the narrative of this course on American history it is the idea of freedom. Yet, as we have seen, freedom is a far more complicated idea that it might first seem. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he stressed the universal and innate character of human freedom, prior to the establishment of any political state:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Jefferson, Declaration of Independence)
Certainly, Jefferson’s aim was to conceive of a more fundamental—and unalienable—concept of freedom than that which colonists exercised under the “English Liberties” established by the British constitutional monarchy. Yet, in practice, freedom in American history is far more inconsistent, contested, restricted, denied, and that many have had to struggle to attain freedom’s basic exercise.
For the third and final paper of the course you will develop a unique historical argument about the meanings of freedom since the end of the Civil War: how it was exercised by some and not others; how some Americans conceived of their own freedom as dependent upon its denial to others; how it has been achieved by some and then lost; how Americans have used the idea of freedom to define their sense of identity in different historical contexts.
Requirements for Paper 3:
Choose three events from three separate historical periods in which the idea of freedom is present in some sense. Each event you choose must come from the following historical periods (one event from each period):
Reconstruction to the Progressive Era (1865-1920)
World War I through Watergate (1914-1973)
Neoliberalism to the present (1970-2024)
For each event you choose, explain how freedom was exercised, attained, restricted, denied, or otherwise struggled for.
For each event explain either the continuity of freedom over time (how it endured, or was reinforced), or its discontinuity (how it was modified or changed from earlier periods).
To support your argument, in your paper, for each event that you analyze, discuss (at least) one primary source from the course reading assignments (either from Voices of Freedom or other assigned readings, but not from sources other than those assigned). Also, select sources that were not analyzed in previous papers (do not choose Douglass, Luce, or Wallace).
Based on your historical analysis, develop a thesis about the meaning and significance of the idea of freedom in American history. For example: Why is freedom significant? Why is it contested? Why is it elusive?
For the paper it is absolutely imperative that you cite your sources using one of the acceptable academic citation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), and that the citations appear correctly in the body of your paper. If you fail to submit a paper with citations you will fail the assignment. You must cite your sources.
Your paper must be submitted to Turnitin. There is a link to upload your paper on this page.
The paper must include the following:
A descriiptive title.
A thesis statement and an argument.
Provide evidence from primary sources among the course readings to support your thesis statement. The evidence must come from the texts themselves.
Use in-text citations when quoting or paraphrasing a source (either parenthetical citations or footnote/endnotes).
Include a bibliography at the end of your paper.
1000-1500 words (a minimum of 4 full pages, roughly, 4-6 pages).
10 or 12-point readable font, double-spaced, with 1” margins
Submit your paper on Canvas using the Turnitin link. You will only be able to submit your paper once. You must submit the file in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file format, but not in a .pages format or with a Google Docs link.

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