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The concept of freedom in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a brief comparison to the developments in Germany Lindemann, Gerhard Veröffentlichungsversion / Published Version Zeitschriftenartikel / journal article Zur Verfügung gestellt in Kooperation mit / provided in cooperation with: Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e.v. an der TU Dresden Empfohlene Zitierung / Suggested Citation: Lindemann, Gerhard: The concept of freedom in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a brief comparison to the developments in Germany. In: Totalitarismus und Demokratie 3 (2006), 2, pp URN: nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar Nutzungsbedingungen: Dieser Text wird unter einer Deposit-Lizenz (Keine Weiterverbreitung - keine Bearbeitung) zur Verfügung gestellt. Gewährt wird ein nicht exklusives, nicht übertragbares, persönliches und beschränktes Recht auf Nutzung dieses Dokuments. Dieses Dokument ist ausschließlich für den persönlichen, nicht-kommerziellen Gebrauch bestimmt. Auf sämtlichen Kopien dieses Dokuments müssen alle Urheberrechtshinweise und sonstigen Hinweise auf gesetzlichen Schutz beibehalten werden. Sie dürfen dieses Dokument nicht in irgendeiner Weise abändern, noch dürfen Sie dieses Dokument für öffentliche oder kommerzielle Zwecke vervielfältigen, öffentlich ausstellen, aufführen, vertreiben oder anderweitig nutzen. Mit der Verwendung dieses Dokuments erkennen Sie die Nutzungsbedingungen an. Terms of use: This document is made available under Deposit Licence (No Redistribution - no modifications). We grant a non-exclusive, nontransferable, individual and limited right to using this document. This document is solely intended for your personal, noncommercial use. All of the copies of this documents must retain all copyright information and other information regarding legal protection. You are not allowed to alter this document in any way, to copy it for public or commercial purposes, to exhibit the document in public, to perform, distribute or otherwise use the document in public. By using this particular document, you accept the above-stated conditions of use. The Concept of Freedom in North America in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries with a Brief Comparison to the Developments in Germany Gerhard Lindemann PD Dr. Gerhard Lindemann, geb in Uelzen. Privatdozent für Historische Theologie an der Universität Heidelberg und Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung an der TU Dresden (Anschrift: D Dresden). Studium der Evangelischen Theologie in Göttingen, Heidelberg und Berlin, 1989 Erstes Theol. Examen, 1997 Promotion zum Dr. theol. und 2004 Habilitation an der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Abstract Religiöse, politische, geistige sowie wirtschaftliche Freiheit waren die Motive der nordamerikanischen Kolonisten für ihre Auswanderung aus Europa. Dort entwickelte sich rasch eine politisch-gesellschaftliche Freiheitskultur, die in der Amerikanischen Revolution ihren deutlichsten Ausdruck fand. Bis 1900 kam es zu einer Ausgestaltung des freiheitlichen demokratischen Verfassungsstaates mit einer kontinuierlichen Erweiterung der Bürgerrechte. I. Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries In relation to the current differences between Germany and the United States* it is interesting to compare the development of the concept of freedom in both societies. The German reformation in the first half of the sixteenth century was a step towards a higher degree of religious freedom. Freedom was a keyword in Martin Luther s theological conception. His theory of justification, entitled the reforming discovery, spoke of the unconditional acceptance of the sinful man by God. 1 Justification from God was understood as a process of personal libera- * Cf. Gerhard Besier/Gerhard Lindemann, Im Namen der Freiheit. Die amerikanische Mission, Göttingen Cf. Martin Brecht, Der rechtfertigende Glaube an das Evangelium von Jesus Christus als Mitte von Luthers Theologie. In: idem, Ausgewählte Aufsätze, vol. 1, Stuttgart 1995, p ; Matthias Kroeger, Rechtfertigung und Gesetz: Studien zur Entwicklung der Rechtfertigungslehre beim jungen Luther (Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte, 20), Göttingen 1968; Thorsten Jacobi, Christen heißen Freie : Luthers Freiheitsaussagen in den Jahren (Beiträge zur historischen Theologie, 101), Tübingen Totalitarismus und Demokratie, 3 (2006), , ISSN Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2006 204 Aufsätze / Articles tion with consequences for the life of the Church and the individual Christian. 2 Luther reduced the authority of the church by asserting that the gospel of justification could only be experienced by reading the Bible or hearing God s Word from the pulpit. 3 The young Luther postulated that Christian parishes should have the right to elect their ministers and to dismiss them if they did not preach the gospel in accordance with the Biblical word. 4 Eventually religious freedom was reduced to the right of the ruler of a regional territory to choose the Lutheran or the Catholic Church (Peace of Augsburg 1555). His subjects had to accept this decision, but were allowed to emigrate on religious grounds. 5 In a recent study Peter Blickle has shown that Germans enjoyed the so-called old freedoms or privileges, such as the freedom of movement, marriage and free disposal of the proceeds of one s work. However, these rights did only concern the economic part of the classic human rights: the right to freedom of disposal and property. On the other hand, Blickle highlighted that in the early modern period the protest movement played an important role in the biblically founded concept of freedom in the sixteenth century. 6 II. The development of the tradition of freedom in the North American colonies In early modern Europe there was a lack of freedom. In the seventeenth century people immigrated to North America because they hoped to lead a life in freedom 7 and to establish a new society without great restrictions. 8 In all North 2 Cf. Eberhard Jüngel, Zur Freiheit eines Christenmenschen: Eine Erinnerung an Luthers Schrift [1978]. In: idem, Indikative der Gnade Imperative der Freiheit: Theologische Erörterungen IV, Tübingen 2000, p Cf. Oswald Bayer, Was macht die Bibel zur Heiligen Schrift? Luthers Verständnis der Schriftautorität. In: Michael Krug/Ruth Lödel/Johannes Rehm (ed.), Beim Wort nehmen die Schrift als Zentrum für kirchliches Reden und Gestalten: Friedrich Mildenberger zum 75. Geburtstag, Stuttgart 2004, p Cf. Luther, Daß eine christliche Versammlung oder Gemeine Recht und Macht habe, alle Lehre zu urteilen und Lehrer zu berufen, ein- und abzusetzen, Grund und Ursach aus der Schrift. In: WA, 11 (401), p Cf. Karl Brandi (ed.), Der Augsburger Reichsfriede vom 15. September 1555: Kritische Ausgabe des Textes mit den Entwürfen und der königlichen Deklaration, 2. edition Göttingen 1927; Axel Gotthard, Der Augsburger Religionsfrieden (Reformationsgeschichtliche Studien und Texte, 148), Münster Cf. Peter Blickle, Von der Leibeigenschaft zu den Menschenrechten: Eine Geschichte der Freiheit in Deutschland, Munich Cf. on the whole question: Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, New York 1999; David Hackett Fischer, Liberty and Freedom, Oxford/New York Cf. Roger Daniels, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life, 2. edition New York 2002; Maldwyn Allen Jones, American Immigration, second edition Chicago 1992; Bernard Bailyn, The Peopling of British North Lindemann, The Concept of Freedom in North America 205 American colonies 9 representative assemblies of the people were established. They had less political rights than the English Parliament, but embodied the firm intention of self-government in the colonies. 10 Whereas the Southern colonies took up the British political system, 11 the North endeavoured to create a new society. Puritans immigrated to America because they suffered religious persecution in England. They were Congregationalists, who emphasised the autonomy of a single Christian parish and rejected any authority of a higher church. 12 Hence, the Mayflower Compact mentioned the authority of the English King, but did not speak of the Anglican Church. The competences of the state were reduced. The state should prove law and order, and protect and foster the common interests of the colonists. 13 The Puritans wanted to build a New England meaning a better England, which was intended to be an example to the old England. John Winthrop planned to erect a City upon a hill, a Holy Commonwealth, which was intended to be an example for the whole world. The Puritan dominated colonies saw themselves as a clear counter system to England America: An Introduction, New York 1986; Marilyn C. Baseler, Asylum for Mankind : America, , Ithaca, N. Y Cf. Hermann Wellenreuther, Niedergang und Aufstieg: Geschichte Nordamerikas vom Beginn der Besiedlung bis zum Ausgang des 17. Jahrhunderts, Munster 2000; idem, Ausbildung und Neubildung: Die Geschichte Nordamerikas vom Ausgang des 17. Jahrhunderts bis zum Ausbruch der Amerikanischen Revolution 1775, Hamburg 2001; Jack P. Greene/J. R. Pole (ed.), Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era, Baltimore/London 1984; R. C. Simmons, The American Colonies: From Settlement to Independence, Harlow 1976; Charles M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, 4 vol., New Haven, Conn Cf. Jack P. Greene, The Quest for Power: The Lower Houses of Assembly in the Southern Royal Colonies, , Chapel Hill, N.C. 1963; Warren M. Billings, A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century, Richmond, Virg. 2004; Elmer I. Miller, The Legislature of the Province of Virginia: Its Internal Development, New York 1907, p ; David W. Jordan, Foundations of Representative Government in Maryland, , New York/Cambridge Cf. Lois Green Carr/Philip D. Morgan (ed.), Colonial Chesapeake Society, Chapel Hill, N.C. 1988; James Horn, Adapting to a New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake, Chapel Hill, N.C. 1994; Numan V. Bartley (ed.), The Evolution of Southern Culture, Athens, Ga. 1988; Elizabeth Davidson, The Establishment of the English Church in Continental American Colonies, Durham, N.C. 1936; John F. Woolverton, Colonial Anglicanism in North America, Detroit 1984; Dell Upton, Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia, Cambridge, Mass Cf. Perry Miller/Thomas H. Johnson (ed.), The Puritans, 2 vol., 2. edition New York Text: Henry S. Commager/Milton Cantor (ed.), Documents of American History, vol. I: To 1898, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1988, 15 f.; cf. Francis Dillon, The Pilgrims, Garden City, N.Y. 1975; George F. Willison, Saints and Strangers: Being the Lives of the Pilgrim Fathers and Their Families, with Their Friends and Foes, and an Account of Their Posthumous Wanderings in Limbo, Their Final Resurrection and Rise to Glory, and the Strange Pilgrimages of Plymouth Rock, New York 1945, esp. p. 112 f., 114, 145 f.; Azel Ames, The Mayflower and Her Log, July 15 th 1620 May 6 th 1621, Chiefly From the Original Sources, 2. edition Boston, Mass 206 Aufsätze / Articles and her ruling political and religious perception; it was an extreme attempt and to a certain extent the last means of the emigrants, to bring about a change in mother land in order to save her from God s anger by establishing the new society in the wilderness. Winthrop s thesis on the election of the American people, which should become one of the founding myths of the American collective identity, was expanded on thanks to the vision of the covenant. A part of the covenant vision was the divine gift of the land with the task to settle it. However, the covenant should only suffer settlers, who behave socially and in accordance with the community. 14 The Puritans derived the principle of local self-government from the Congregationalist ideal. 15 Their view of freedom was founded on the interests of the community. 16 Whereas in Massachusetts there was a great extent of religious intolerance, 17 the colonial charter of Rhode Island guaranteed the freedom of conscience. In the opinion of the founder of the colony, Roger Williams, one church, which was established and supported by the state authority, did not correspond with God s will. According to Williams the state had no 14 Cf. John Winthrop, A Modell of Christian Charity: Written On Board the Arrabella (1630). In: Winthrop Papers, vol. 2: , Boston 1931, p , here 295; David Zaret, The Heavenly Contract: Ideology and Organization in Pre-Revolutionary Puritanism, Chicago, Ill. 1985; Stephen Brachlow, The Communion of Saints: Radical Puritan and Separatist Ecclesiology, , Oxford 1988; Francis J. Bremer, The Puritan Experiment: New England Society From Bradford to Edwards, rev. edition Hanover, N.H. 1995; Andrew Delbanco, The Puritan Ordeal, Cambridge, Mass. 1989; Alan Simpson, Puritanism in Old and New England, Chicago Cf. Edmund S. Morgan (ed.), Puritan Political Ideas, , New York 1965; T. H. Breen, The Character of the Good Ruler: A Study of Puritan Political Ideas in New England, , New Haven, Conn Cf. Stephen Foster, The Long Argument: English Puritanism and the Shaping of New England Culture, , Chapel Hill, N.C. 1991; Perry Miller, The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century, Cambridge, Mass. 1954; Francis Tiffany Butts, Perry Miller and the Ordeal of American Freedom, Kingston, Ont. 1980; idem, The Myth of Perry Miller. In: American Historical Review, 87 (1982), p Cf. Perry Miller, Orthodoxy in Massachusetts, , Boston 1959; Janice Knight, Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism, Cambridge, Mass. 1994; Stephen Foster, New England and the Challenge of Heresy 1630 to 1660: The Puritan Crisis in Transatlantic Perspective. In: William and Mary Quarterly, 38 (1981), p ; R. Robert G. Pope, The Half-Way Covenant: Church Membership in Puritan New England, Princeton, N.J. 1969; Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England, Chapel Hill, N.C. 1982; Harry S. Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England, Oxford 1986; Selma R. Williams, Divine Rebel: The Life of Anne Marbury Hutchinson, New York 1981; Amy Scrager Lang, Prophetic Woman: Anne Hutchinson and the Problem of Dissent in the Literature of New England, Berkeley, Cal. 1987; David D. Hall (ed.), The Antinomian Controversy, : A Documentary History, 2. edition Durham, N.C. 1990, p ; Joan Kane Nichols, A Matter of Conscience: The Trial of Anne Hutchinson, Austin, Tex. 1993; Richard Weisman, Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass. 1984; David D. Hall (ed.), Witch-hunting in Seventeenth- Century New England: A Documentary History, , Boston 1991; Richard Godbeer, The Devil s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England, Cambridge, U.K Lindemann, The Concept of Freedom in North America 207 authority to prescribe its citizens membership of a church. The conscious lies outside the state s sphere of jurisdiction. Rhode Island became a germ cell of American religious freedom. 18 In Pennsylvania the political order was devised according John Locke s concept of a social contract. Here the citizens committed themselves to only obey such laws, which they themselves approved. It was the task of the government to prevent infringements of the law and to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens i.e. property, active political participation and the involvement of citizens in the court by jurors. 19 During the eighteenth century the number of European immigrants increased. They had various reasons for emigration such as religious persecution, lack of political freedom, compulsory military service or economic need. The American society distinguished itself with a high degree of mobility and dynamic. Efficiency and industriousness were considered as cardinal virtues. It seemed possible for everybody to achieve personal success and advancement. Meanwhile the eligible electorate had become much bigger than that in England. 20 However, the desire for freedom of the European immigrants was linked to the restriction or denial of civil rights of the Native 21 and African Americans Cf. William G. McLoughlin, Rhode Island: A Bicentennial History, New York 1978; Dennis B. Fradin, The Rhode Island Colony, Chicago 1989; Sydney V. James, Colonial Rhode Island: A History, New York 1975; Carl Bridenbaugh, Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience: Society in Rhode Island, , Providence, R.I. 1974; Hans Rudolf Guggisberg, Roger Williams. In: idem, Alte und Neue Welt in historischer Perspektive, Bern 1973, p. 9 37; Perry Miller, Roger Williams: His Contribution to the American Tradition, Indianapolis, In. 1953; Cyclone Covey, The Gentle Radical: A Biography of Roger Williams, New York 1966; Edmund S. Morgan, Roger Williams, the Church and the State, New York 1967; Timothy L. Hall, Separating Church and State: Roger Williams and Religious Liberty, Urbana, Ill Cf. Mary Maples Dunn, William Penn: Politics and Conscience, Princeton, N.J. 1967, p ; Isaac Sharpless, A History of Quaker Government in Pennsylvania, 2 vol., Philadelphia ; Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: A History, New York 1976; S. K. Stevens, Pennsylvania: Birthplace of a Nation, New York 1964; Dennis B. Fradin, The Pennsylvania Colony, Chicago 1988; J. William Frost, Pennsylvania Institutes Religious Liberty, In: Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 110 (1988), p ; Sally Schwartz, A Mixed Multitude : The Struggle for Toleration in Colonial Pennsylvania, New York Cf. Robert J. Dinkin, Voting in Provincial America: A Study of Elections in the Thirteen Colonies, , Westport, Conn Cf. Werner Arens/Hans-Martin Braun, Die Indianer Nordamerikas: Geschichte, Kultur, Religion, Munich 2004; Howard Meredith, A Short History of the Native Americans in the United States, Malabar, Fla. 2001; William Brandon, The Rise and Fall of North American Indians: From Prehistory Through Geronimo, Lanham, Md. 2003; Roger L. Nichols, American Indians in U.S. History, Norman, Okla. 2003; Michael H. Crawford, The Origins of Native Americans: Evidence from Anthropological Genetics, New York 2001; Philip Weeks (ed.), They Made Us Many Promises : The American Indian Experience, 1524 to the Present, 2. edition Wheeling, Ill. 2002; Francis Jennings, The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest, New York 1976, p. 30, 146; James Axtell, The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America, New York/Oxford 1981; Peter Mancall, 208 Aufsätze / Articles Already in the seventeenth century there were harsh critics regarding black slavery. The Mennonites from Germantown 23 insisted on the establishment of the right of freedom of the body. They highlighted that the slaveholders themselves had come to America in search of freedom. 24 Already during the colonial period a specific Afro-American culture came into existence. It combined both African and European elements. 25 The Anglo-American intellectual life was based on the European developments, but it also had its own accent. The centre of the American Enlightenment was in Philadelphia. In contrast to Europe the Enlightenment in North America was much more sober and more geared towards practice. Altogether it played a much lesser role. Predominantly English ideas were absorbed, while the French Enlightenment with its physiocratic and atheist ideas hardly met with approval. Influenced by the literature of the European Enlightenment the Americans developed a self-image of a simple, rural and unspoilt people. 26 Benjamin Franklin was celebrated as a leading figure of the American Enlightenment. He concerned himself with the solutions to practical problems such as the invention of the li
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