Difference Between Freedom and Liberty

Main Difference

The main difference between liberty and freedom is that freedom is not constrained by any external obligation or pressure, whereas liberty is described as a person’s right to do whatever pleases him.

Freedom vs. Liberty

Freedom is the state of being free from something. Liberty deals with the state of being free to do something. Freedom is someone’s will that is not constrained by any external obligation or pressure. Liberty is a person’s right to do whatever pleases him. The term freedom is the state of being free to enjoy social, civil, and political, liberties. It is the power to decide a person’s actions and the state of being free from confinement or restraints. The term liberty is defined as the right and the power to believe, ac, and express of being free from restriction. Freedom is referred to as “free will.” The ability of an individual to make the choice that is free from coercion or restriction. An individual with free will or freedom is still bound to conform to religious and ethical doctrines as he is accountable for all his actions. Liberty is the condition in which individuals behave according to their will. They then govern themselves, taking responsibility for their actions and behaviors. Freedom is enjoyed by all the individuals except those who are in prison. If someone coerced into doing something because he has conflicting ideas about it, although it is what he desired to do, is also said to have exercised his freedom. Having liberty does not necessarily mean going against ethical and moral values. It is classified into negative liberty in which individuals act without being influenced or coerced by other people and positive liberty in which individuals act on their own will without the influence of social restrictions and taboos.

Comparison Chart

FreedomLiberty
A state in which a person is not constrained by any external obligation or pressureA person’s right to do whatever he wants to do and what pleases him
Term
ModernArchaic
Concept
More concreteLess concrete
Status
Social internal conditionSocial external conditions
Owned by
societyindividual

What is Freedom?

The term freedom comes from the Old English word “freedom” that means “state of free will, deliverance, or charter.” Freedom pertains to a person’s choices in everything that he does. Freedom is is someone’s will that is not constrained by any external obligation or pressure. It is the state of being free to enjoy social, political, and civil liberties. Freedom is mainly referred to as “free will.” The ability of an individual to make the choice that is free from coercion or restriction. An individual with free will or freedom is still bound to conform to religious and ethical doctrines as he is accountable for all his actions. Freedom includes the ability to choose bondage according to the desire or conviction. Freedom may also include any dimension of personal existence (e.g., moral, legal, financial, philosophical, spiritual). Freedom is predominantly an internal construct. Freedom is absolute, i.e., there are no restrictions to it. It is like a bird in the free sky which can move in any direction. The term freedom is not archaic; rather, it is much more commonly used modern ideal. It is an assessment of one’s ability to conduct personal affairs independently without any external restriction, encumbrance, hindrance, or restraint. Freedom is internal. It is something an individual can possess, e.g., The freedom to feel a certain way, the freedom to make a decision, etc., the freedom to turn left or right. It is self-determination and a form of free will.

What is Liberty?

The term liberty comes from the Latin word “libertatem.” It means “freedom” or “condition of a freeman.” This term came into the English language through the Old French word “liberty,” that means “freedom.” Liberty is the freedom enjoyed by an individual within the moral constructs of society. It is the ability to do things freely adhering to certain preconceived notions of an organized society. Liberty is predominantly an external construct. It is synonymous to the words privilege, deliverance, and independence. It is a condition of having the power to act or speak without restraints. Liberty is a form of freedom. It originally carries with it the implication of responsibility and duty, and an attachment to a greater whole, whether it is a society or philosophical belief system. Liberty seems like an archaic term as it is the freedom within certain bounds. Liberty is of two types, negative liberty, and positive liberty. Negative liberty is a kind of liberty in which individuals act without being influenced or coerced by other people. Positive liberty is a kind of liberty in which individuals act on their own will without the influence of social restrictions and taboos. Liberty is an external social condition that arises from free people living together. Liberty is a larger term. It is a political construct which allows people to enjoy freedoms such as property rights, free speech, freedom of association, etc. In general, the term liberty means unrestricted freedom. It means that when a person enjoys liberty, he shall remain fearless.

Key Differences

  1. Freedom is someone’s will that is not constrained by any external obligation or pressure, whereas liberty is a person’s right to do whatever pleases him.
  2. Freedom is the power to decide someone’s actions on the flip side liberty is the power to express and act according to one’s will.
  3. Freedom is a more concrete concept. Conversely, liberty is a less concrete concept.
  4. Freedom is a state in which one is capable of doing according to his or her wishes without any external obligations while liberty is mostly used in context to the freedom which is granted to a person or people.
  5. Freedom refers to rights of belongings; on the other hand, liberty deals with privileges that come along independence.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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