“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” Ben Franklin, 1759.
In 1759, Benjamin Franklin made a statement claiming that if an individual is willing to give up freedom for safety, that person does not deserve to have either.
Benjamin Franklin correctly stated that an individual who gives up freedom for safety does not deserve either, because in the time he lived, people did not think of worrying about such a thing. Previous to 9/11, Americans did not have a major concern for their safety. This made giving up liberty for safety seem pointless, and if someone would have been willing to give up their freedom, they may as well have given up their safety as well. In 1765, John Adams wrote an essay on Canon and Feudal Law, at one point saying, “Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported,” (Straub). Society believed that liberty was the most important part of American culture, it was a symbol for America. John Adams strongly illustrated that liberty must be put above all else, no matter what happened. They weren’t worried about having to give up freedom because of terrorism or other safety hazards, so it had to be enforced as a very crucial part of life. However, Benjamin Franklin would not be correct in today’s society. Now, our nation is much more distressed about safety threats. We have given up our privacy to gain safety, even if it is not guaranteed. America is still viewed as having freedom, but citizens have limits to control dangers. All people have given up some freedom in order to obtain safety, yet the community still believes we deserve to have it. Last September, former governor of Connecticut Jodi Rell explained, “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security,” (“Jodi Rell”). Our country today has a much different focus than it did in 1759. It is more common for someone to give up liberty for safety now, and it is actually supported. Many people may think that Ben Franklin is wrong for this reason, because we can see that his quote does not necessarily apply to our lives today. But it’s more complicated than that, because the ideals of 1759 are not the same as modern day. He was correct when he suggested that the individual would not deserve either. Altogether, Ben Franklin correctly argued that if someone gives up freedom for safety they do not deserve either, because in that time period, liberty was the most important thing to the nation.
Straub, Steve. "John Adams, Liberty Must At All Hazards Be Supported." The Federalist Papers. N.p., 05 July 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2015. <http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/adams/john-adams-liberty-must-at-all-hazards-be-supported>.
"Jodi Rell." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2015. 4 February 2015. <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jodirell175713.html>