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Freedom was, first of all, the ability of an individual to think, to speak, and to act as they want and, second, to be in a state free from being imprisoned or enslaved.

In the opinion of Doctor Roger Korby, the Old Ones of Exo III replaced freedom with a mechanistic culture as they moved from an open environment to the underground as their world cooled. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

In 2267, in a speech to the Vaalians, Captain James T. Kirk said, "You'll learn to build for yourselves, think for yourselves, work for yourselves, and what you create is yours. That's what we call freedom." (TOS: "The Apple")

In the mirror universe, the Terran Empire classified the files of the Federation starship Defiant for the reason they contained the keywords "cooperation", "equality", and freedom. They were seen by the leaders of the empire, such as Empress Philippa Georgiou in 2257, as "destructive ideals that fuel rebellions" and as delusions that Terrans rejected a millennia ago. Believing that their empire had become infected with the Defiant files, and having defeated this infection, the leaders vowed to make sure it would never happen again by redacting most of the information about the ship. As Empress Georgiou expressed her disdain for these ideals, she was countered by Michael Burnham of the Federation who described them as the cornerstones for successful cultures. (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition")

In the year apart from her family on the USS Discovery, Michael Burnham experienced a freedom she never considered as a possibility. Free from the obligations of being what people needed her to be, she started to find herself and what she needed. During this time of self-exploration, she learned to live by her own rules and not by the rules of others. Upon her return to her starship in 3189, Burnham began to reconcile between the person she had been and the person she had become, and the ship no longer felt like her place. Looking into Burnham's eyes, Philippa Georgiou divined all this from her and playfully asked if she was getting warm. (DIS: "People of Earth")

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