Differences between the Patterson's, Foner's, and King's interpretations of Freedom

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Patterson gives three different interpretations of freedom. His first interpretation is about personal freedom. He interprets this freedom as the ability of an individual to do as they please within their limits. His second interpretation is sovereign. Like a sovereign nation, a free person can do as they please without considering the wishes of other individuals.

His third explanation is about civics. It relates to civic freedom. Civic freedom allows adult members of a community to participate in social governance. Participation could be through vying for political office or involved in an election. Patterson believes that the concept of personal freedom emanated from slavery, sovereign freedom from enslavers and civic freedom from ancient Greek.

Foner argues the interpretations of freedom vary with time. He categorizes freedom as civic, personal and economic. In his interpretation, he uses three themes to interpret freedom, various meanings of freedom, conditions for freedom and boundaries and exclusions of freedom. Conditions for freedom include misuse of power by those in authority and slavery. Boundaries and exclusions from freedom relate to the type of people that can enjoy freedom. Classification of these different types of people is often along racial lines, economic position, gender and religious orientation.

King dedicated his life to the cause of attaining freedom for African Americans. His interpretation of freedom was that an individual can identify themselves, their talents and abilities. They can dictate who they will be in the future. They can employ their skills and abilities to achieve the wildest of their dreams. His perception of freedom was from his experience as a black American and Christian, his commitment to Christian values, his belief that freedom is moral and his desire for the country to provide and protect her citizens’ freedoms. The pillar of his interpretation was based on human abilities and human development.

The three authors give different interpretations of freedom. Patterson’s and Foner’s interpretations are almost similar. They both give three definitions. Two of the definitions are similar. They differ in their third conceptions where Patterson discusses sovereign freedom while Foner argues economic freedom. King’s interpretation is entirely different from Patterson’s and Foner’s. King’s interpretation is influenced by his experiences while their observations influence the other authors’ experiences. King does not subdivide freedom as the other authors do. He only believes that freedom is letting an individual achieve their utmost potential.

The concept behind the three-fifth Clause to the American constitution

In 1787, delegates had a hard time in determining the number of seats that each state would have in the House of Representatives. There was a proposal that each state is apportioned a relative number of seats in the House of Representatives according to the population in a state. The population was calculated using a census. The delegates could not agree on the persons that were eligible to be counted in a census. During this period, there were slaves. Some delegates wanted slaves to be counted while others were against the idea.

Those that were championing for the inclusion of slaves in the census wanted to gain discretionary power in numbers. Those against the inclusion of slaves in the census were after tax avoidance by reducing the population of their states. They argued that counting of slaves in a census would encourage slave trade among states that want to gain discretionary powers.

The concept of the three-fifths compromise is that for every five slaves, three would be counted in addition to the total number of white persons in a state. An expansion of this concept reveals that a slave represented three-fifths of a white person hence the name three-fifths compromise. The total number of three-fifths of slaves and white persons was used to apportion taxes, representatives and presidential electors among all states in the United States. This compromise was proposed by James Wilson and seconded by Roger Sherman. Wilson borrowed this concept from the continental congress.

The continental congress constituted a committee whose mandate was to resolve the tax apportionment issue. The committee decided to apportion taxes according to state population. Their determination was met with resistance from quarters inquiring how slaves would be treated in the determination of a state’s population. Delegates suggested many ratios including one-quarter, one-half, and three-quarters. None of these suggestions was accepted but James Wilson’s and Roger Sherman’s proposal of three-fifths of a white person. Their proposal was not implemented until 1787 because all states did not agree to it. Initially, southern states benefited from the three-fifths compromise. They dominated national politics during this time. Eventually, Northern states grew in population and assumed the benefits.

How the fourth amendment expand the power of federalism

The fourth amendment to the United States covers searches and seizures. It requires government law enforcement agencies to acquire a legal warrant, for probable cause, with an affirmation that describes persons or property to be seized. The fourth amendment empowered the power of federalism in the following ways; both the amendment and federalism aim at constraining the state and empowering the national government. They keep persons in political office from using their state powers against their opponents. The fourth amendment just avoids concentration of authority that might tempt those in such positions to abuse them.

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The fourth amendment does not give absolute privacy to citizens of a country. It also does not completely prevent government law enforcement agencies from conducting searches and seizures. It creates a bridge between reasonable searches and seizures and the right to privacy of a citizen. Reasonableness of a search entirely relies on the manner in which officers conduct the same. These situations expand powers of federalism because they create clear boundaries between the government and an individual. Both parties have responsibilities to each other. None of the parties has absolute power over the other.

The fourteenth amendment was among the reconstruction amendments after the civil war. Its inception was in 1868. It relates to citizens and their rights. The main reason for this amendment was to create equal protection of the laws amongst all citizens. The primary purpose of this amendment was to address issues raised by former slaves after the American Civil War. The amendment has five sections.

The first section guarantees all United States citizens, either by birth or naturalization that no state will enforce any laws that breach their bill of rights. The second section governs representation where the three-fifths compromise is abandoned. The third section creates law on patriotism. It prevents traitors of the United States from holding powerful political offices. The fourth section acknowledges the validity of debts of the United States. The fifth section gives the Congress all the necessary powers to enforce the provision of the amendment. The part demands that this enforcement is only by appropriate legislation.

The fourteenth amendment had a significant impact on civil rights cases of 1883. These cases constituted a single issue that was heard by five supreme courts of the United States. Apart from Justice John Marshall Harlan, the other judges found that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was not in line with the amended constitution. This Act banned racial discrimination among individuals and within organizations but not in states and the national government. The judges had a common argument that the Congress did not have the authority to legislate on laws that regulate private affairs as per provisions of the fourteenth amendment.

Major views of African Americans on Black political culture

An analysis of the NBES polls conducted in 1984 and 1988. Shows that most black persons turned out to vote in the 1984 presidential election due to their opposition to Reagan, a candidate in the presidential race. In that election, the blacks voted massively for Jesse Jackson who was Reagan’s main competitor. In the 1998 election, blacks who supported Jesse Jackson did not turn up in large numbers to vote as they did in the previous election year. Reagan was unpopular among the African Americans because of his actions. He opposed the commemoration of King’s birthday as a national holiday and was against racial programs aimed at supporting the blacks. Reagan stimulated intense competition in the 1984 elections. He encouraged voting along party lines. In that year, a massive number of blacks turned up to vote against Regan to thwart his re-election bid.

From his campaign techniques, Jesse Jackson was a darling among the blacks. He stimulated positive feelings among them the voter turnout among the blacks in the years 1984 and 1988 were significantly high. From these statistics, we can establish that the Black Americans turned up to vote when the candidate policies directly affected them. They would vote for a candidate whose policies support their wellbeing and vote against a candidate whose policies do not support their welfare. When neither of the candidates has policies directly affecting the blacks, they would rather stay home than vote.

In general, black participation in politics is lower than white participation. Often, an average black person has the same political skills and knowledge as a white person. Blacks do not turn up for elections due to their lack of motivation for political participation. They prefer to alienate themselves because of their mistrust in political leaders and political institution. This mistrust grew during the time blacks were not allowed to participate in politics.

What the authors Walters Jr. and Smith mean by the concept African American Alienation

Regarding the idea of African-American alienation authors Walters Jr. and Smith mean that the political opinion of the African Americans is not of concern to the United States government. The blacks do not turn up to vote due to their trust issues. They do not organize themselves into a formidable group that calls out the attention of a political leader seeking office. Because they don’t vote, they deny themselves an opportunity to elect a leader that will represent their needs and voice their opinion.

In typical cases where the authors highlight African American’s alienation regarding public opinion, black leaders in President Reagan’s administration distance themselves from championing African-American agendas. In another case, the adoption of elitism, where certain groups compete among each other, the competition is often unfair. The African American would not complain about this state. The authors indicate that vast colonialist’s regions in Africa. They expanded their economies wealth by exploitation of Africa’s minerals using forced African labor. The Africans did not resist until the 1960’s.

Liberalism refers to a political notion in which freedoms of an individual are the determinants of politics in society. In a political setting, liberalism deserves alienation. If politics is going to be centered on personal freedoms, it is likely that there will be no development in that society. Good governance should establish a balance between liberalism and development.

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