Evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues concerning foundational ideas or values in tension or conflict.

Examples: Analyze issues involving liberty in conflict with equality, liberty in conflict with authority, individual rights in conflict with the common good, or majority rule in conflict with minority rights.

Liberty in Conflict with Equality, Authority

external image US_Declaration_of_Independence.svg

In the United States, equality and liberty are concepts that are rooted into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence includes phrases that claim: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
  • Click here to read the Declaration of Independence, and click here to read Charters of Freedom which discusses the role of equality and liberty in the Declaration of Independence.

Click here to view the relationship between liberty and equality.

Equality versus Liberty: The Eternal Conflict, from Foundation for Economic Freedom

From the Washington Post, Liberty, equality are not mutually exclusion.

Is Equality Compatible with Liberty? An Essay by James Goddard

Liberty and Equality- A Question of Balance?: This link is a long PDF chapter.

Through the Lens of Dignity: An Essay on Equality and Liberty, Amal De Chickera

Multimedia.pngClick here to view a short video from Rawls and Nozick on liberty and equality.

external image Old_French_Flag_%28348141849%29.jpgLiberty and Equality were desired freedoms during the French Revolution. Their slogan was Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Click here read more about those concepts in relation to the French Revolution.


An example of the struggle between liberty and authority in the US are acts passed during war times that limit citizen's free speech and other other personal freedoms.
  • The Alien-Sedition Acts were passed by President John Adams in 1789 as the US was preparing for a war with France. The acts limited speech that was critical of the government and raised the amount of residency years that a foreign needed in order to become an American citizen.
    • Click here to read the acts as well as view writings from those who opposed and supported it.
  • The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed by President Woodrow Wilson during World War One. It targeted anyone who tried to obstruct the draft, gave the postal office the authority to ban newspapers that were deemed be too anti-war, and punished those who gave aid the enemy.
    • Click here to read the act.
    • Click here to read about how the US government used the act to charge government official who gave information to the media.
  • Recently after September 11, 2001, President George Bush passed the Patriot Act. The Patriots Act aimed to strengthen national security and gave law enforcement agencies more power when identifying and capturing terrorists. The Patriot Act is controversial because some say that it limits American's civil liberties and freedom, whilst others say it has aided in the arrests of terrorists and prevent future terrorist acts.

Individual Liberty v. Government Authority, Richard Spencer

From the New York Times in 1986, Washington- Liberty and Authority

The Struggle Between Liberty and Authority in the Information Age

Individual Rights in Conflict with the Common Good

Click here to read about the history of balancing the common good with individual rights.

The Balancing Act of Individual Rights and Public Safety

The Common Good from Santa Clara University

Click here to view a Prezi about individual rights v. common goods.

Multimedia.pnglessonplan.jpgWatch a video about how the American value of individual rights interfere with the common good, and answer a few questions about it.

lessonplan.jpgPDF with discussion questions about the role of individual rights interfering with the common good. Includes history and how the Constitution dealt with common good and individual rights.

A current American example of individual rights in conflict with the common good is the on-going gun debate.
  • Click here and here to read an overview of the gun debate from News Max.

Majority Rule in Conflict with Minority Rights

Majority Rule and Minority Rights

States and Minority Rights

Multimedia.pngFrom MSNBC, When majority rule affects minority rights: arguing a Supreme Court case that confirmed a ban on affirmative action in college admissions.
  • Click here to read more about the case.

Minority Rule and Minority Rights: Ethnic Tolerance in Romania and Bulgaria