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Old English freodom "freedom, state of free will; charter, emancipation, deliverance;" see free (adj.) + -dom. Freedom-rider recorded 1961, in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.
It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists. [John C. Calhoun, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 1816]Freedom fighter attested by 1903 (originally with reference to Cuba).
Freedom Rider Situation Cuts Into Montgomery Juke, Game Revenues [headline, "Billboard," July 24, 1961]
The law of Moses pointed out the cases in which the servants of the Hebrews were to receive their freedom (Ex. 21:2-4, 7, 8; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-55; Deut. 15:12-18). Under the Roman law the "freeman" (ingenuus) was one born free; the "freedman" (libertinus) was a manumitted slave, and had not equal rights with the freeman (Acts 22:28; comp. Acts 16:37-39; 21:39; 22:25; 25:11, 12).
in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints. Free will is denied by those who espouse any of various forms of determinism. Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. In theology, the existence of free will must be reconciled with God's omniscience and goodness (in allowing man to choose badly), and with divine grace, which allegedly is necessary for any meritorious act. A prominent feature of modern Existentialism is the concept of a radical, perpetual, and frequently agonizing freedom of choice. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, speaks of the individual "condemned to be free" even though his situation may be wholly determined.