I have often thought that people often throw around powerful words without thinking about what they are saying. So today I am going to briefly define a big one, or rather, I am going to let Noah Webster define it for me, straight from his 1828 dictionary.
Liberty: "Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions."
More though is this: Civil Liberty, which is "an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty."
Another distinction is Political Liberty, which is "sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty. But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation."
So I hope that when you next hear or use Liberty, you remember exactly what is being said.