Liberalism in American Literature
By Daniel Birch Merillas
Liberalism is the foundation of America. This ideology is found in the country’s early literature and in the very document that made America free. Phyllis Wheatley and Thomas Jefferson are actively working for the ideology of liberalism, which is a political ideology that is against any system that threatens the freedom of the individual, specifically the importance of human individuality and the freedom of humanity from attachment to another group. The big picture is that the ideology of liberalism was one of the principle ideologies in America and it was felt in the socially through literature.
The importance of human individuality and the freedom of humanity from attachment to another group was a crucial point in the ideology of liberalism. Therefore, when liberalism is found in literature, it carries the same determining factors. In a section of Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson writes that Quakers were being prosecuted in England, decided to migrate to America in order to find civil and religious asylum there. However, when they arrived they realized that America was only a land of freedom for the people belonging to the Anglican Church. Many acts of the Virginia assembly of 1659, 1662 and 1693 were specifically aimed against the religious minorities.
This situation lasted until the convention of May 1776 where the exercise of religion was declared a natural right and that it should be free.
Once this was achieved, they only remained under the religious oppression imposed by the common law or their own acts of assembly. At the common law, heresy was considered a capital offense; punishable by burning, heresy was determined by the scriptures, or by the councils.
By the act of assembly of 1705, if a person was found guilty of heresy on the first offense he would be declared incapable of being employed. On the second offense, he would be forbidden to receive...