What is the relationship between freedom and equality?.
The relationship between freedom and equality is a complicated one, as it is something people have struggled for since the beginning of time and to continue to struggle for today. These two terms are closely connected, though not inseparable. Equality has a fairly simple meaning. It is likeness or sameness in quality, power, status, or degree. In simpler terms, it is being the exact same as others. Freedom, on the other hand, is the condition of being able to act and think however you want, without being controlled or limited. The relationship between these two first begins by obtaining freedom. Without freedom one does not have the ability to be equal to others, as he cannot do what he wants. As Tocqueville said, "Men cannot become absolutely equal unless they are entirely free" (p.352). One who is not free has a master who makes his choices for him. The only way to rid himself of the master and gain political freedom is to successfully revolt against the state. With this revolution, all people now have the ability to act however they want and because of this they are considered equal. Once they are free from their human masters they are able to lead a life directed by their own free will and compete on a level playing field with the rest of society.
The progress of freedom and equality began with The Declaration of Independence which set the precedent that "all men are created equal." Up until this point, equality was something that could not be attained; it was almost a foreign idea. Although only white men in America were considered free after this great document was signed, The Declaration of Independence paved the way for many new forms of equality, most importantly gender and racial equality.
In 1848, The Declaration of Sentiments was written and released to the public, demanding gender equality in America. Its main request, besides general equality, was women's suffrage.