Aristotle, Plato, Karl Marx and Confucius said they loved it. Countless US presidents, from Roosevelt to Obama have spoken about it. There is a statue dedicated to it in New York. For many countries around the world, liberty is a core value.

But what is it all about?

Liberty means freedom, particularly the freedom to express yourself, make your own choices and do what you want. As Aristotle put it, “A man should live as he likes”.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that every human being is entitled to freedom of opinion, religion and movement. Sadly, many countries do not respect liberty.

Freedom House rates people’s access to political rights and liberties in 210 countries and territories around the world. In 2019, freedom around the world dropped for the 14th consecutive year. Only 83 countries scored highly enough to be considered free, while nearly 60 were in the “not free” category.

Liberty also applies to countries as well as to individuals. The USA has it at its heart, known as the “land of the free”. Yesterday, tens of millions of Americans celebrated 4 July – the day is set aside to celebrate independence from British rule.

What does liberty mean to you?

Read Our Stories


A short animated film about the life of Nelson Mandela, who has been hailed by many as the world’s greatest modern hero.


  1. Create an artistic representation – for instance, a painting, drawing or collage – that reflects your interpretation of liberty.
  2. Choose one inspirational figure who has fought for freedom. Research their life and achievements. Then create a fact file about them.
  3. Explore this interactive world map to see how countries around the world are rated on the freedom index. Choose one country and read its individual report. Summarise the main points in a presentation.