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Locke's Second Treatise of Government

A. This study will summarize and critique John Locke's Second Treatise of Government or Of Civil Government.

B. Book was written to justify 17th Century English revolution, but is used today as defender of Western liberal constitutional state and private property.

A. The basis of good government is the protection of private property and the preservation of the public good, including protection from foreign forces.

B. Man in the state of nature was capable of reason and of knowing the moral law.

1. The natural moral law means that each man can see other men as free and worth respect.

C. Men needed civil society in order to ensure that this freedom and respect would occur, along with the protection of private property.

D. God made man to be in a society, and to give up some freedom, with consent, to the leaders, as long as the majority rule, and the people have the right to change the government if it goes against the common good.

A. Locke's conclusions are reasonable but his premises with respect to the state of nature and private property are merely bold guesses designed to support his conclusions about private property.

This study will provide a summary and critique of John Locke's Second Treatise of Government or Of Civil Government.

This book was "professedly written only to justify a particular constitutional revolution in late seventeenth-century England; it was found useful again in justifying a particular colonial revolution in the late eighteenth century [that is, in the United States]. . . ." Part of the reason for its being rated a classic today "is that the Western liberal constitutional state, whose title-deeds Locke was one of the first to establish, is now under attack from new quarters - from the communist world and the third world, so that the liberal state is thrown back on the defensive and is glad to enlist in its support any plain hard-hitting case in its favour. Nothing could...

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Locke's Second Treatise of Government. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:07, March 26, 2019, from