Freedom and the Necessity of Political Courage (thesis)
Johnson, Daniel Coleman
Washington and Lee University -- Honors in Politics
Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679
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Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Daniel Coleman Johnson is a member of the Class of 2017 of Washington and Lee University.Drawing a distinction between ancient and modern freedom, I advocate for a reconstituted and updated ancient conception of freedom, highlighting the important role of political courage within that conception, in order to address some of the pitfalls of strongly individualistic, modern conceptions of freedom. Outlining different theories of freedom, I focus on Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes as central to characterizing the debate between ancient and modern freedom, respectively. Examining John Lewis, Lyndon B. Johnson, and John Adams as case studies, I analyze real-world examples of political courage and their implications for freedom. In sum, I argue that political courage has the potential to allow for the further exercise of freedom in modern times, with implications ranging from increased equality to the improvement of civic activity.