Not bound to servitude; at liberty to act as one pleases, within reason. This word is put in opposition to slave or prisoner.
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. U.S. Const. Art.I, s.2.
It was also put in contradistinction to being bound as an apprentice as, an apprentice became free on attaining the age of twenty-one years.
The Declaration of Independence asserts that all men are born free, and in that sense, the term includes all mankind.