There is a very delicate balance between the freedoms that individuals enjoy in society and the authority that governs them. Benjamin Franklin (1755) addressed this in a now-famous quote: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Key ethical theorists Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered the relationship between individuals and their governments and social institutions in terms of social contract theory. This suggests that a person’s ethical and political responsibilities are based on understood agreements (with government, with social institutions, with each other) that shape society. As you prepare for this assessment, you will consider examples of the balance (and sometimes tension) between individual freedom and social institutions and choose one to address in an essay.
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