Acts of Defiance: Symbols of Liberty
Major national symbols that represent both freedom and United States identity include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Fourth of July. Yet acts of defiance against these obvious national symbols also provide the public with important symbols of American liberty. Failing to consider these more complex symbolic acts leaves out a large part of what makes liberty truly liberty and America truly America. Studying such defiant acts allows people to understand the powerful status of the destructive acts as symbols of freedom, and the special image that America has as a bastion of liberty. The acts of defiance by William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass against the Constitution and the Fourth of July, for example, are significant symbols of freedom that enhance that image of the United States. This paper will show how Garrison's and Douglass' disobedient acts against the Constitution, as well as Garrison's "Address to the Colonization Society" and Douglass' "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" which criticize Independence Day, paradoxically serve as symbols of American liberty by attacking those chief symbols of liberty and America.
Uryga, Alexander K., "Acts of Defiance: Symbols of Liberty" (2015). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 402.