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Development of Freedom

Category: 2011 High School (Grades 9-12)
Student: Madeline Wolf
School: Greenwich High School Greenwich, CT (Fairfield County)
Teacher: Aaron Hull

The freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights have become essential pillars of modern society. Without free speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion, social change would have been nearly nonexistent. Civil rights, women's suffrage, and even the American Revolution were products of action made by a passionate minority. The difference between these changes, however, was violence. It took a bloody, eight-year war to gain independence from the British. Women's suffrage and civil rights were decades long, semi-violent movements. Today, however, the Occupy Wall Street protests are almost completely non-violent, with only minor incidents such as the pepper-spray incident damaging that reputation. Occupy Wall Street is an acephalous movement aimed at calling attention to 99% of American citizens who are struggling to make ends meet while the top 1% are richer than ever. This movement has even inspired similar protests across America. Some may say that Occupy Wall Street is loosely organized and poorly defined, but nevertheless there is a valid point behind the protest and they deserve the right to make their cries heard. If this were the early 18th century, the Occupy Wall Street protest would have been met with complete brutality from the 1%. Freedom of Assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of press have protected this movement and allowed it to remain virtually peaceful.

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