I think you have it backwards. The original context for American concepts of "freedom" was based the concept of "positive freedom"; wheras the common notion we have now is "negative freedom"(freedom from....).
Originally Posted by wedekit
Originally America was governed by the concept of Civic Republicanism, which meant that freedom was based upon the shared parcipitation in the community to help ensure the freedom of that community. Of course in order to achieve that, certain virtues had to taught to the people in order to cultivate the ability to implement self-government.
Of course that concept has been discarded over the past 40 years or so(actually longer, but it really takes off in this time frame).
In the 1920's, Carl Schmitt for one noted many of the flaws of the Liberal concept(which has replaced the Republican one). For one, as he noted, the long-term survival of any legitimate political system depends on its ability to call its citizens to self-sacrifice in times of need. This notion, however, violates the individualism of Liberal thought. You cannot force a person to fight unless he actually wants to. This in effect leaves the system dangerously exposed to danger and may ultimately lead to it being defenseless.
And Schmitt warned about the ultimate consequences of such:
"It would be ludicrous to believe that a defenseless people has nothing but friends, and it would be a deranged calculation to suppose that the enemy could perhaps be touched by the absence of a resistance. No one thinks it possible that the world could, for example, be transformed into a condition of pure morality by the renunciation of every aesthetic or economic productivity. Even less can a people hope to bring about a purely moral or purely economic condition of humanity by evading every political decision. If a people no longer possesses the energy or the will to maintain itself in the sphere of politics, the latter will not thereby vanish from the world. Only a weak people will disappear."
--Concept of the Political