John Locke - February 4th 2008 John Locke The Second...

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February 4 th , 2008 John Locke: The Second Treatise on Government John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government , was published anonymously in 1689, and written in the 1680’s during a turbulent period in British political history. It was the second volume of a two-part Treatise that was focused on refuting the argument that civil society was founded on to the divinely sanctioned leaders, that is, the divine right of kings. Ultimately concluding that no government can be justified by such an appeal, Locke’s Second Treatise on Government challenged the concepts of government by divine right and absolutism and presented what was then a fairly radical theory of formation of civil societies from a state of nature, in which all people are equal and the law of reason governs, to the formation of civil government through the consent of the governed. In what amounts to an appeal to resist tyranny and unjust government, Locke’s work can be seen as almost revolutionary, which perhaps explains his decision to publish it anonymously. The idea behind the Second Treatise was to undermine the idea of divine sovereignty and challenge the political status quo in the 17 th century by introducing ideas and concepts that rejected absolutism. The first concepts that Locke introduces are the state and laws of nature. He defines the state of nature primarily as a state in which men have “perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature” (2). Locke thinks that, by virtue of natural law, a person is under no obligation to obey another person, but has the right to protect one’s property, which is to say, his life, liberty, health, etc. Liberty is a state of freedom, but still subject to the law of nature, which Locke believed is governed by powers of reason, under which a man should not be allowed to harm another man in his
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wellbeing, freedom, property, or most gravely, his life. The laws of nature also allow one man to judge another within those laws and to execute proportional judgment upon a
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John Locke - February 4th 2008 John Locke The Second...

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