Civil and Religious Freedom

I am getting ready to teach Phillis Wheatley in an honors colloquium, and I’m fascinated by the way she makes connections between civil, religious, and Enlightenment values in the below passage from her letter to Samson Occom.

[C]ivil and religious Liberty, which are so inseparably united, that there is little or no Enjoyment of one without the other: Otherwise, perhaps, the Israelites had been less solicitous for their Freedom from Egyptian Slavery […] for in every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance; and by Leave of our Modern Egyptians I will assert, that the same Principle lives in us.

wheatley

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