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Introduction EDWARD B MCLEAN Western mans pursuit of liberty has been constant Indeed the concept of liberty is central to Western political thought and history The following essays which were the first of the Goodrich Lecture Series at Wabash College examine the concept of liberty as it has been understood from antiquity through the twentieth century Since they were delivered some of the essays have been modified but the original thrust of the lecture series has been preserved It is fitting that these lectures focused on this concept which was so important to Mr Pierre Goodrich in whose honor this lecture series was created Mr Goodrich founded Liberty Fund Inc a foundation given over to the programmatic and philosophic study of society made up of free and responsible individuals The value of such studies reflects Mr Goodrichs understanding of the difficult problems raised in advancing and defending human liberty These essays examine the meaning given to the concept of liberty in selected periods of Western history They demonstrate that Western man in the pursuit of liberty has concerned himself in every historical epoch with this concept as he attempted to define implement and most importantly understand it Free will that quality which characterizes the uniqueness of human beings is evidenced in their acts behaviors and choices However this fact does not mean that human behavior thought and choice have unchanging purpose or content since such free choices are within the power of the individual and are conditioned by the circumstances in which individuals operate Consequently historical examination of this concept provides an outline for the inquiry made regarding the nature of libertyits definition its implementation and its value Professor Rufus Fearss essay opens this unique collection by examining the concept of liberty in Republican Rome and its transformation from the period of the Republic to the Empire In the Republic liberty was a religious tenet reserved exclusively for Romans Juridically protected it was considered
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