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Locke 2nd Treatise on Gov

“Those who do not accept scriptures as the word of God should be persecuted because they do not share the basic normative background that underlies the arguments for the limited government and individual rights – the law of nature.”

The views of John Locke as expressed in Second Treatise of Government would argue in favor of the above statement. This is because John Locke held the devout belief that we are all placed on this world by a God. It is a God who grants us an afterlife in the next world. Locke argues in the Second Treatise of Government that we have a duty to obey God and our ruler; however, the ruler’s power is not God-granted or absolute. While the ruler may rule with divine right, this “divine” power only goes along with the ruler’s primary responsibility - duty to his subjects.

If the ruler does not deserve obedience because he is not ruling according to the duties of his subjects, then the people have a right to resist the ruler. This is because there is a higher law of God that forbids government to overstep individual divine rights. In the natural state, Locke felt we all have a duty to God not to harm another person in this life, their liberty or their property (goods). However, since might makes right in the state of nature, many may not have the power to secure this right of life, liberty and property. Therefore, men enter into a social contract to exist as one people and one body politic under the authority of one supreme government.

Collectively, an authority or sovereign is set-up by the people to handle law and order and the dispensing of justice. This authority is not absolute and he is answerable to the will and determination of the majority. As he writes in the Second Treatise “Man being born, hath by nature a power not only to preserve his property—that is, his life, liberty, and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men, bu


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Locke 2nd Treatise on Gov. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:08, December 01, 2023, from