The nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. mill, on liberty, chapter 1, paragraph 1. The need to restrict both state and society (public opinion) in their ability to shape conduct. Life would not be worth living if we did not have constraints on other people. History of relations between individuals and authority. Throughout the history, the meanings of liberty and tyranny have changed. Liberty means protection of society against tyranny of political rulers. Rulers are the ruled, so (it was thought) there is no need to limit government power: the government is just us, we all rule equally. Recognition that the political majority can be tyrannical over the minority. Liberty is democratic government with protection for minorities. Threat of social tyranny: the tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling. Mill rejects appeals to custom, tradition, or popular morality.