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John Locke Second Treatise Of Government

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Second Treatise Of Government

17. Constitutional Government: Locke’s Second Treatise (13-19)

In the Second Treatise of Government, John Locke discusses mens move from a state of nature characterized by perfect freedom and governed by reason to a civil government in which the authority is vested in a legislative and executive power. The major ideas developed throughout the text include popular sovereignty and the consent of the governed, the protection and limitations of property, the problems inherent in an absolute monarchy, and the ability of a people to dissolve their government if it does not adhere to the bond of trust established between the governed and governor.

The Treatise begins with a discussion of the state of nature. In this state, men are born equal to one another and have perfect liberty to maintain and order their lives and property. They are governed by reason and seek the preservation of mankind. When a man transgresses the laws of nature and uses force against another, the entire society has the right to punish him in order to preserve order and make an example of him to deter future crimes. The state of nature is entirely free but men find that other men may interfere with their ability to protect their property.

Of The Forms Of A Common

Sect. 132. THE majority having, as has been shewed, upon mens firstuniting into society, the whole power of the community naturally in them, mayemploy all that power in making laws for the community from time to time, andexecuting those laws by officers of their own appointing and then the form ofthe government is a perfect democracy: or else may put the power of making lawsinto the hands of a few select men, and their heirs or successors and then itis an oligarchy: or else into the hands of one man, and then it is a monarchy:if to him and his heirs, it is an hereditary monarchy: if to him only for life,but upon his death the power only of nominating a successor to return to them an elective monarchy. And so accordingly of these the community may makecompounded and mixed forms of government, as they think good. And if thelegislative power be at first given by the majority to one or more persons onlyfor their lives, or any limited time, and then the supreme power to revert tothem again when it is so reverted, the community may dispose of it again anewinto what hands they please, and so constitute a new form of government: forthe form of government depending upon the placing the supreme power, which isthe legislative, it being impossible to conceive that an inferior power shouldprescribe to a superior, or any but the supreme make laws, according as thepower of making laws is placed, such is the form of the commonwealth.

Consent Political Obligation And The Ends Of Government

The most direct reading of Lockes political philosophy findsthe concept of consent playing a central role. His analysis beginswith individuals in a state of nature where they are not subject to acommon legitimate authority with the power to legislate or adjudicatedisputes. From this natural state of freedom and independence, Lockestresses individual consent as the mechanism by which politicalsocieties are created and individuals join those societies. Whilethere are of course some general obligations and rights that allpeople have from the law of nature, special obligations come aboutonly when we voluntarily undertake them. Locke clearly states that onecan only become a full member of society by an act of express consent. The literature on Lockes theoryof consent tends to focus on how Locke does or does not successfullyanswer the following objection: few people have actually consented totheir governments so no, or almost no, governments are actuallylegitimate. This conclusion is problematic since it is clearlycontrary to Lockes intention.

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Late Modern And Contemporary

Under the newly formed Kingdom of Great Britain, output from the Royal Society and other combined with the to create innovations in science and engineering, while the enormous growth in protected by the paved the way for the establishment of the . Domestically it drove the , a period of profound change in the and cultural conditions of England, resulting in industrialised agriculture, manufacture, engineering and mining, as well as new and pioneering road, rail and water networks to facilitate their expansion and development. The opening of Northwest England’s in 1761 ushered in the . In 1825 the world’s first permanent steam locomotive-hauled passenger railway the opened to the public.

London became the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the world during the , and trade within the British Empire as well as the standing of the British military and navy was prestigious. Technologically, this era saw many innovations that proved key to the United Kingdom’s power and prosperity. Political agitation at home from radicals such as the and the enabled legislative reform and . described the as a “leisurely time when women wore and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag.”

Of The State Of Nature

Second Treatise of Government by John Locke (English) Paperback Book ...

Sect. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original,we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state ofperfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions andpersons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, withoutasking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal,no one having more than another there being nothing more evident, than thatcreatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the sameadvantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equalone amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord andmaster of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set oneabove another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, anundoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.

Sect. 5. This equality of men by nature, the judicious Hooker looks upon as soevident in itself, and beyond all question, that he makes it the foundation ofthat obligation to mutual love amongst men, on which he builds the duties theyowe one another, and from whence he derives the great maxims of justice andcharity. His words are,

Sect. 15. To those that say, there were never any men in the state of nature, Iwill not only oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker, Eccl. Pol. lib. i.sect. 10, where he says,

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Separation Of Powers And The Dissolution Of Government

Locke claims that legitimate government is based on the idea ofseparation of powers. First and foremost of these is the legislativepower. Locke describes the legislative power as supreme in having ultimate authority over how theforce for the commonwealth shall be employed . Thelegislature is still bound by the law of nature and much of what itdoes is set down laws that further the goals of natural law andspecify appropriate punishments for them . The executive poweris then charged with enforcing the law as it is applied in specificcases. Interestingly, Lockes third power is called thefederative power and it consists of the right to actinternationally according to the law of nature. Since countries arestill in the state of nature with respect to each other, they mustfollow the dictates of natural law and can punish one another forviolations of that law in order to protect the rights of theircitizens.

Industrialization And The Modern Era

The critique of capitalismâdeveloped with âwas, alongside and , one of the defining ideological movements of the twentieth century. The produced a parallel revolution in political thought. and greatly reshaped society. During this same period, the began to form. In the mid-19th century, was developed, and in general gained increasing popular support, mostly from the urban working class. Without breaking entirely from the past, Marx established principles that would be used by future revolutionaries of the 20th century namely , , , and . Though ‘s philosophy of history is similar to ‘s, and ‘s theory of revolution towards the common good is partly based on Kant’s view of historyâMarx declared that he was turning Hegel’s dialectic, which was “standing on its head”, “the right side up again”. Unlike Marx who believed in , Hegel believed in the . By the late 19th century, and were established members of the political landscape. In addition, the various branches of , with thinkers such as , or , and also gained some prominence. In the Anglo-American world, and began gaining currency at the turn of the 20th century.

was a watershed event in human history, changing views of governments and politics. The brought âand in particular the political theory of , but also on a smaller level âon the world stage. At the same time, parties won elections and formed governments for the first time, often as a result of the introduction of .

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Chapter 1 Who Is John Locke

Professor Steven Smith: Its so nice to see you again on this gorgeous autumn day. And we had a wonderful, wonderful weekend, didnt we? Yes, we did. Okay, today, I want us to begin we move ahead. Were moving ahead. Today we begin with Mr. John Locke. For the next three classes, Mr. Locke. It is hard to believe that a little book like this, in this not terribly distinguished edition, mind you, but nevertheless, in this edition of just over a hundred pages, that a book of this length could have such world shaping effects. If anyone would ever doubt the importance of ideas, political ideas, in history, I would only say to you to consult the history and the influence of John Locke. Remarkable. I want to talk today a little bit about Mr. Locke. John Locke is, for our purposes today, I mean, there are many reasons why one would read him in different kinds of classes, but for our purposes, John Locke gives the modern state, the expression that is most familiar to us. His writings seem to have been so completely absorbed and adopted by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the that Locke seems to have become virtually a kind of honorary founding father, as it were, of America.

John Locke And The Second Treatise On Government

15. Constitutional Government: Locke’s Second Treatise (1-5)

Keywords:John LockeGovernmentNatural RightsSocial ContractDemocracy

In 1688, King James II was overthrown by a group of Parliamentarians. This was the result of what is now known as the Glorious Revolution, or the Revolution of 1688. Naturalist and political philosopher John Locke was present to witness these events and was so compelled by them, he wrote what is known as the Second Treatise on Government. In this, Locke would attempt to explain why King James II was justifiably overthrown, and why William III ascended him. He would define for us the legitimate role of civil government.

Political power,right

Locke believed, contrary to claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch, that people are by nature free.. This belief was the foundation of his philosophy on Government. To Locke, a Government existed, among other things, to promote public good, and to protect the life, liberty, and property of its people. For this reason, those who govern must be elected by the society, and the society must hold the power to instate a new Government when necessary.

In this section of the Treatise -Chapter XIX- John Locke discusses the dissolution of government, the way in which a People can re-form that government, and the natural and just rebellions that occur from a monarchial abuse of power.

Locke was not against Government in fact he was in favor of it, so long as it existed at the will of the people:

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An Essay Concerning The True Original Extent And End Of Civilgovernment

Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,

. That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or bypositive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominionover the world, as is pretended:

. That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:

. That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positivelaw of God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may arise,the right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could not have beencertainly determined:

. That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of whichis the eldest line of Adams posterity, being so long since utterly lost,that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not toone above another, the least pretence to be the eldest house, and to have theright of inheritance:

Sect. 2. To this purpose, I think it may not be amiss, to set down what I taketo be political power that the power of a MAGISTRATE over a subject may bedistinguished from that of a FATHER over his children, a MASTER over hisservant, a HUSBAND over his wife, and a LORD over his slave. All which distinctpowers happening sometimes together in the same man, if he be considered underthese different relations, it may help us to distinguish these powers one fromwealth, a father of a family, and a captain of a galley.

Of The Beginning Of Political Societies

Sect. 95. MEN being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, andindependent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to thepolitical power of another, without his own consent. The only way whereby anyone divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of civilsociety, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community fortheir comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secureenjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any, that are notof it. This any number of men may do, because it injures not the freedom of therest they are left as they were in the liberty of the state of nature. Whenany number of men have so consented to make one community or government, theyare thereby presently incorporated, and make one body politic, wherein themajority have a right to act and conclude the rest.

Sect. 100. To this I find two objections made. First, That there are noinstances to be found in story, of a company of men independent, and equal oneamongst another, that met together, and in this way began and set up agovernment.

Secondly, It is impossible of right, that men should do so, because all menbeing born under government, they are to submit to that, and are not at libertyto begin a new one.

The other objection I find urged against the beginning of polities, in the wayI have mentioned, is this, viz.

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Of The Extent Of The Legislative Power

(*The lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of men,belonging so properly unto the same intire societies, that for any prince orpotentate of what kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of himself, andnot by express commission immediately and personally received from God, or elseby authority derived at the first from their consent, upon whose persons theyimpose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they are not thereforewhich public approbation hath not made so. Hookers Eccl. Pol. l. i.sect. 10.

Of this point therefore we are to note, that such men naturally have no fulland perfect power to command whole politic multitudes of men, therefore utterlywithout our consent, we could in such sort be at no mans commandmentliving. And to be commanded we do consent, when that society, whereof we be apart, hath at any time before consented, without revoking the same after by thelike universal agreement. Laws therefore human, of what kind so ever, areavailable by consent. Ibid.)

Sect. 135. Though the legislative, whether placed in one or more, whether it bealways in being, or only by intervals, though it be the supreme power in everycommonwealth yet:

To constrain men to any thing inconvenient doth seem unreasonable. Ibid. l. i.sect. 10.)

Sect. 142. These are the bounds which the trust, that is put in them by thesociety, and the law of God and nature, have set to the legislative power ofevery commonwealth, in all forms of government.

Chapter 3 Property Labor And The Theory Of Natural Law

Two Treatises of Government by John Locke

The natural law, as Locke seems to be saying, dictates a right to private property and it is to secure that right that governments are ultimately established. In a striking formulation, Locke tells us that the world was created in order to be cultivated and improved. Those who work to improve and develop nature, who add to nature through the labor of their body and the work of their hands, those who develop and improve nature are the true benefactors of humanity, of humankind. God gave the world to men in common, he says, section 34, God gave the world to men in common, but since He gave it to them for their benefit and the greatest conveniences of life that they were capable to draw from it, he writes the world was given for our convenience, he says, to be drawn from, it cannot be supposed He meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. And then he adds, He gave it to the use of the industrious and the rational and not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. God gave the world for our improvement of it and therefore, He gave it to the industrious and the rational. Locke seems to suggest in that very phrase that the state will be a commercial state, that the Lockean republic or the Lockean state will be a commercial republic. Think of that.

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