Second Treatise of Government | Study Guide

John Locke

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Second Treatise of Government | Book Summaries


Book Summaries Chart

Book Summary
Preface Addressing the reader directly, Locke declares that he hopes his work will justify King William III's right and title to... Read More
Chapter 1 Locke reviews the points he had made in the previous treatise about the biblical figure of Adam. God had not given Adam ... Read More
Chapter 2 In the state of nature, before the advent of civil societies or civilization, human beings were all free and equal, acco... Read More
Chapter 3 In this chapter, Locke argues that everyone has a right to destroy anyone who is bent on destruction. It is the same as ... Read More
Chapter 4 Locke begins this brief chapter by distinguishing between natural liberty and liberty in society. He defines natural lib... Read More
Chapter 5 Locke begins this lengthy chapter by quoting scripture to the effect that God has given the Earth to mankind in common (... Read More
Chapter 6 In this chapter, Locke expands upon the misconceptions encouraged by the concept of paternal power. Paternal power, he a... Read More
Chapter 7 Locke begins this chapter by tracing the origins of civil society back to conjugal society. He returns to the voluntary ... Read More
Chapter 8 Locke starts this chapter by recapitulating his argument that political societies are formed by the consent of their mem... Read More
Chapter 9 This brief chapter consists of a concise discussion of a single question: what motivates men to give up their natural ri... Read More
Chapter 10 This chapter consists of only two brief sections. In the first, Locke identifies democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy as d... Read More
Chapter 11 In a civil society, the legislature is the supreme power. This is because laws are the instruments for achieving the soc... Read More
Chapter 12 In this chapter, Locke distinguishes among three distinct (but sometimes overlapping) types of political power in the co... Read More
Chapter 13 The legislature is the supreme power in a commonwealth. However, it possesses only fiduciary power, delegated or assigne... Read More
Chapter 14 By "prerogative," Locke means a power to act for the public good according to discretion. Such power, which normally bel... Read More
Chapter 15 In this chapter, Locke recapitulates the distinctions he drew earlier between three types of power: paternal (or parenta... Read More
Chapter 16 At the outset, Locke repeats his contention that political systems must be based on the consent of the people. Human amb... Read More
Chapter 17 In this brief chapter, Locke defines "usurpation" as the illegitimate seizure of power. He comments that usurpation may ... Read More
Chapter 18 This chapter opens with a pithy comparison linking it to the previous one. Locke says that "usurpation is the exercise o... Read More
Chapter 19 Locke opens the final chapter in his treatise by drawing a distinction between the dissolution of government and the dis... Read More
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