In “The Story of American Freedom,” Eric Foner wrote: “No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals and as a nation than freedom.” But, freedom was not a right given to all people. Freedom had to be fought for by every generation. Claims to freedom have also been contradictory. The rhetoric of freedom was central to the abolitionist movement and to slave owners who claimed the freedom to own their “property.”

“The Let Freedom Ring” curriculum is made up of seven lessons that teach students about struggles for freedom and the conflicts that ensued, bringing freedom to life through the analysis of primary sources. The lessons show how the meaning of freedom is contextual and changes over time. Each lesson looks at a particular moment of history to see how freedom can be redefined, taken away or expanded, and driven by the political, social and economic forces of the time.