On Monday, the Independent Institute announced the winners of the 2009 Sir John M. Templeton Fellowships Essay Contest. Essayists were asked to respond to Benjamin Franklin’s remark and corresponding question: 

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”  Which virtues contribute the most toward achieving freedom, and how can the institutions of civil society encourage the exercise of those virtues?

Ben O’Neill, the winning junior faculty person, wrote an essay titled “The Threat of Virtue: Why Independence and Integrity Threaten the State.” Brad Taylor penned the winning student essay: “Virtue and the Voluntary.”

To read more about the winners and learn about the 2010 contest, read the Independent Institute’s press release.