The nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual (chapter 1, paragraph 1) Throughout this history, the meanings of liberty and tyranny have changed. Four stages of social development, liberty means something different at each stage. Liberty means protection of society against tyranny of political rulers (rejection of tyranny) Rulers are the ruled, so (it was thought) there is no need to limit government power, because. Liberty means popular self-rule (us as a group ruling ourselves) government is us and we all rule equally. No fear of nation tyrannising over itself. Recognition that political majority can be tyrannical over the minority. If you"re in the minority, majority ruling is cold comfort. Liberty is democratic government with protection for minorities. Threat of social tyranny: the tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling. Tyranny of society rather than the state. Mill rejects appeals to custom, tradition, or popular morality.