Intellectual Freedom and Change

LinwoodsRecently, I reread Catharine Sedgwick’s historical novel about the Revolutionary War, The Linwoods (1835), a book I address in my dissertation. I’m including a passage below that interests me because the author links the ability to change one’s beliefs and opinions with intellectual freedom. The passage is a bit of dialogue, Eliot Lee speaking to Isabella Linwood.

I have seen your mind casting off the shackles of early prejudices, resisting the authority of opinion, self-rectified, and forming its independent judgments on those great interests in which the honour and prosperity of your country are involved. I have gloried in seeing you willing to sacrifice the pride, the exclusiveness, and all the little idol vanities of accidental distinctions, to the popular and generous side. (322)

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