In Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary: Unabridged Second Edition – Deluxe Color, the word freedom resides between freedman and freedwoman.
freedman – a man legally freed from slavery or bondage.
freedom – 1. the state or quality of being free; especially, (a) exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence; (b) exemption from arbitrary restrictions on a specified civil right; political liberty; as, freedom of speech; (c) exemption or immunity from a specified obligation, discomfort, etc; as, freedom from want; (d) exemption or release from imprisonment; (e) a being able to act, move, use, etc. without hindrance or restraint; (f) a being able of itself to choose or determine action freely; as, freedom of the will; (g) ease of movement or performance; facility; (h) a being free from the visual rules, patterns, etc.; boldness of conception or execution; (i) frankness; straightforwardness; (j) an excessive frankness or familiarity.
freedwoman – a woman legally freed from slavery or bondage.
I think freedom, as an ideal, starts with self-love. All other beliefs stem from that place of consciousness. A person of virtuous character, one who has self-respect, dignity, and courage, promotes and protects the ideal through his or her thoughts and actions.
Great thinkers have had much to say about freedom:
"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. . . ." "The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies." Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857
On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. —Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation: September 22, 1862.
When I think of freedom, I think of people and movements. Of Courage and Character. I think of oppressed people courageously fighting for their dignity and "inalienable" Constitutional rights. Of Nobel Peace Prize winners who sacrifice their personal desires for the common good of humankind. I think of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X – freedom leaders. Acknowledged freedom lovers Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Graca Machel, Fanny Lou Hamer, Barbara Lee. And the legions of unnamed men, women and children who stood behind them, beside them and proceeded them in the sustained struggle for freedom.