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8/08/2019

The liberal attitude of, Langston Hughes towards America.




The term "liberal" is an adjective form of the word "liberalism". '"Liberalism" is a term which belongs to political
science and economics. There it has wide implications. It means political and economic doctrine that emphasizes the rights and freedoms of the individual and the need to limit the powers of the government. Liberalism originated as a defensive reaction to the horrors of the European wars of religion of the 16th century (Thirty years' War). Its basic ideas were given formal expression in works by T. Hobbes and J. Locke. They argued that •the power of the
sovereign is ultimately justified by the consensus of the governed. In the economic realm liberal in the 19th century urged the end of state
interference in the economic life of society. 

Langston Hughes fought for the establishment of liberalism in America. His liberal attitude to America also implies his patriotic
feelings and devotion to America. In the context of the miserable conditions of the black Americans during his time, he could have had
an attitude of adverse criticism of America as a land which discriminated between the black and the white. But he did not have that attitude. Instead, he showed a loving devotion to America as his own land. Both these kinds of attitude, which can be regarded as liberal both in the political and economic sense, are evident in the literary Works of L. Hughes.

In the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", written in 1920 when the poet was about 18 years of age, Hughes celebrates the voice and soul of the black community. It was a time when racial intolerance, injustice and inequality in America were the prominent aspects of social and political life. Through this poem Hughes helped to inspire and unite the black community when their voice was not appreciated by a predominantly white society.

"I, Too, Sing America" was published in 1945, about a decade before the Civil Rights Movement started. It depicts the condition of
a black American who works as a servant in a white man's house. He
was not allowed to sit with the white people at the dining table; 'he
was sent to the kitchen to have his meal there. He was thus treated as an inferior citizen and denied equal rights with the white.

Hughes wrote the poem "Harlem" in 1951 when America -was still racially segregated. The African Americans were still burdened with the legacy of slavery which essentially rendered them second- class citizens in the eyes of the law. Three years after this poem was
published, the Supreme Court of the country declared state laws forbidding the establishment of separate public schools for black and
white students. The poem enhanced the changes that were bubbling up during that time.

In many other. poems of Hughes his liberal attitude to America has been expressed in highly poetic terms. They express his demand for equality of rights and privileges between the black and the white
people, as well as a deep love for America.

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