`` Liberty `` By Benjamin Franklin Essay

1299 Words Apr 7th, 2016 6 Pages
American Exceptionalism runs so deep that sometimes it’s hard to admit when our democracy fails to uphold the values laid out in the Constitution. And at first glance it may appear as though Benjamin Franklin’s quotation regarding the relationships between Democracy and Liberty with minorities buys into this traditional pro-democracy, pro-American narrative that gets perpetuated by mainstream academia. By asserting that “liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote,” Franklin provides an optimistic view that the lamb, the political minority, has the opportunity to stand out against the majority and have its rights protected. But in truth, his quotation speaks louder about his pessimistic view of the role of democracy as a silencing agent of the permanent minority. When applied to race, Franklin’s quotation comes to mean that despite democracy theoretically being the champion of the people as a mechanism to ensure the protection of civil rights and liberties, in truth democracy institutionalizes the perpetual oppression of the permanent racial minority and as such cannot stand on its own to protect people of color. Therefore, from this analysis of Franklin’s quotation, I conclude that democracy isn’t the precursor to liberty, but rather liberty is the means to its own end and the ability to act in pursuit of liberty is a liberty in and of itself. In order to understand the relationship between democracy and liberty, we must first evaluate the circumstances that brought…

Related Documents