However, Wilson also related the contradictory nature of these beliefs.
Wilson noted, for example, that Equality of opportunity seems an attractive idea, but sometimes it can be pursued only by curtailing personal liberty, another attractive idea.
The major themes found in the story of the political history of the United States should constitute a primary guide in shaping social studies education.
Social studies educators must relate this story so students may see what ideas have shaped and continue to shape what responsible citizens do.
The states went to war in 1861 over one aspect of that conflict-the rights of slaves versus the liberties of slave owners.
(1983, 74) Tocqueville (1980) may have been the first to see and articulate this paradox in detail, for he noted how democracies contradictorily value both liberty and equality, both personal freedom and social justice.From more than two dozen studies of American political culture, Wilson discovered that all concur on four basic political ideas Americans share and value.They are (1) liberty, (2) individualism or personal freedom, (3) equality, and (4) social justice (Wilson 1983).Political scientists also point out that, as Aristotle noted, humans are by nature political animals. Mills is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, Indiana.Political scientists believe that this nature springs from necessity. Specifically, in a democratic culture, over time, those who have sought liberty and personal freedom will often become successful economically and politically.Once they have achieved a higher status, they may then conversely seek to maintain a more closed economic, social, and political system to protect their status and power.Consequently, these people may come to a point where they support a political policy that maintains order at the expense of those who have not achieved high status.Conversely, those who are not of high status and want more political and economic power tend to support policies that bring about equality and social justice, i.e., policies producing change.Social studies teachers can help students to address the tensions between these values. Our history also tells of the creation of functional structures and institutions that can resolve these pressing problems, at least at some level.